Introducing New Doctoral Students

We’re continuing to feature our 1st year doctoral students! We hope everyone is able to get to know this talented and diverse new group of students.

Hi, my name is Helian Feng. I was born and grew-up in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, also known as the hometown for hotpot and pandas (very proud of it). I got my Bachelor in Biological Science at Nanjing University in China and found my enthusiasm in Bioinformatics during my transfer year at UNSW at Sydney, Australia (which still ranked as my 2nd choice for retirement) and began to pick up programming. This made me taking a master in Computational Biology and Quantitative Genetics here at HSPH, which I just graduated from this May. During my masters, I worked with Dr. Peter Kraft on a project of TWAS on breast cancer within the spectrum of statistical genetics and epidemiology. I am very fond of deciphering the mysterious of human genetics which also drive me in a yearlong intern at the Pfizer Human Genetics and Computational Biomedicine group on a full-time/part-time basis from last June to this August. At Pfizer, I worked at an eQTL analysis on FHS and a genome wide PheWAS analysis in UK Biobank electronic heath records. I also built a Shiny Portal with Postgress database for fast and easy querying, summarizing and visualizing the data in UK Biobank as well as the PheWAS results. As I began to appreciate more and more about the beauty and importance of statistics behind the fancy algorithms, I decided to stay here for a PhD in biostatistics. And I’m excited to learn more and explore more during my PhD.

Outside of science, I love traveling, movies/TV shows (better to be happy ending ones), exploring good food (especially the spicy ones). Also, I love doing outdoor actives to consume the extra calories, running, hiking, skiing, kayaking… I’m also an experienced player of volleyball and badminton. Recently, I have been picking up Lindy hop and Zumba, which I’m bad at but love to try.

My name is Gabriel Loewinger and I grew up in Washington, DC and graduated from Pitzer College in 2012 with a major in neuroscience. I became excited about research as an undergraduate as a result of my interests in neuroscience and chemical dependence. Throughout college, I was always proposing research projects and was fortunate to have the opportunity to run studies of my own design in the areas of neuroscience and public health. As I conducted research, I grew to love data analysis. I worked with professors on independent studies to analyze existing data sets and to learn more about applied statistics.

After graduating college, I received a Watson fellowship to study treatments for chemical dependence in Peru, Brazil, Thailand and Vietnam. The following year, I conducted a study on HIV risk behaviors among injection drug users in Nepal on a Fulbright fellowship. I secured funding from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and led a team of researchers to collect over 700 surveys. I loved the process of using my skills in applied statistics to analyze data and develop policy recommendations for the UNODC. After returning to the US, I worked at the NIH as a research fellow in a neuroscience lab where I ran a project of my own design. Working with a range of scientists, I witnessed the critical role statistics play in the biomedical sciences. I decided that I wanted to contribute to research by developing statistical methods that could be used in biomedical and public health settings. I am excited to join the department and I hope to have opportunities to work in areas related to HIV, mental health and neuroscience.

In my free time I like to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, travel, cook, discuss politics and go trekking. I am interested in and am a daily practitioner of Vipassana meditation and I love studying foreign languages.