Get to Know Our New PhD Students!

Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to our first year doctoral students.

Luke Benz Hi everyone! My name is Luke Benz and I grew up in Middlebury, VT. I graduated from Yale University in 2019 with a BS in Applied Mathematics (Statistics concentration).
Prior to entering Harvard, I spent two years working in data science at Medidata Solutions in New York City.
The majority of my work centered around problems in clinical trials. In particular, I spent a lot of time working on models to facilitate the selection of trial sites, and to forecast enrollment and other key milestones over the course of a trial.
During my undergrad, I worked as a biostatistics research assistant, and focused on analyzing quality of life data for patients with brain tumors, and I am thrilled to be starting my PhD at Harvard supported by the Cancer training grant. In addition to studying cancer related problems, my research interests include clinical trials, social networks, EHR/real world data, Bayesian statistics and statistical computing.
Public health was not the only area in which I pursued statistics at Yale, as I was an engaged member and president of the Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group. Through this club, I analyzed data from several sports, worked with the Yale Men’s Basketball team, and designed a schedule for the Ivy League Fall sports season.

In my free time, chances are statistically significant that you will find me either analyzing sports data, playing, or watching sports. I particularly enjoy games of pickup basketball, baseball, and soccer, and have recently gotten into running and playing golf. Moving to Boston is exciting for a number of reasons, but as a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, the proximity to Fenway Park is near the top of the list.

Tingyi CaoHi! My name is Tingyi Cao and I am from Shanghai, China. I graduated in 2019 from Tufts University with a BS in biochemistry and mathematics. Then I decided to combine my interests in these two fields and further my study in the area of biostatistics. Thus, I enrolled in HSPH’s SM2 biostatistics program after graduation and earned a Master’s degree in May.
During my Master’s studies, I worked with Dr. Liming Liang from the Department of Biostatistics on an independent research
project that examined the associations of cord plasma metabolomics with children’s longitudinal growth outcomes using the Boston Birth Cohort data. Besides from this, I did another research internship with Dr. Andrea Foulkes’ group from Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Biostatistics Center. We used existing GWAS summary level data to analyze long intergenic non-coding RNAs’ (lincRNAs) associations with complex cardiometabolic traits. Contrary to common belief, we surprisingly found out that non-conserved lincRNAs had similar systematic associations with cardiometabolic traits as conserved lincRNAs. Recently, we have been looking at inverse probability weighting as a means to account for selection bias due to sampling differences in integrated transcriptome analysis. Through these research experiences, I became particularly interested in statistical genetics and how biostatisticians can harness the rich information in this vast amount of available data to enlighten researchers in the field. Therefore, I wish to pursue a PhD degree in Biostatistics, with a specific focus on integrated analysis methods for statistical genetics.

In my free time, I love travelling, hiking, skiing and I have just learned how to play tennis this summer!