We’ll be featuring mini-profiles of our new PhD students over the next few weeks. We look forward to welcoming them into our community!
Hi! My name is Sajia Darwish and I look forward to meeting in person! Thank you for taking the time to read about me.My academic path has been a winding one. I didn’t know that I loved biostatistics until I took a class at Stanford University, where I was doing my master’s in education policy analysis. There, I enjoyed my data science and biostatistics courses so much that I decided to pursue another master’s in epidemiology and biostatistics at UC Berkeley.
During my master’s programs, I got involved in multiple research projects and implemented statistical and machine learning models to analyze diverse data types including multi-omics, text, survey, and data from RCTs. First-hand experience with these large, real-world datasets provided me with the understanding that as the amount of data in the biomedical and public health realms grow, we need more robust methods and algorithms to analyze them. I am excited to contribute to this growing field during my time at Harvard.Beyond academics, I enjoy dancing, archery, spending time with my partner and our dog, and listening to non-fiction books. I also enjoy mentoring and advocating for young students in STEM.
Hello! I’m Ziqi, and I come from California. My childhood was spent in the vibrant city of Guangzhou, China, before my family and I moved to Irvine (a suburb city in SoCal) during 7th grade. Since then, I have stayed in sunny California until I moved to Maryland two years ago for my master’s degree. I’m starting a new adventure in Boston, and its rainy and snowy days will be an entirely new living experience for me!
During my undergrad at the University of California, Santa Barbara, my first research experience was working with Dr. Yitang Zhang on a number theory problem. In my senior year, I did my thesis project on differential topology/geometry questions with applications in DNA physical structure, mentored by Drs. Xianzhe Dai and Kenneth Millett. While I found number theory enjoyable, the combination of mathematics and biology in my thesis project sparked my interest in studying the human genome with mathematical tools. However, I recognized that mathematics alone cannot address all biological questions. Therefore, rather than doing a Ph.D. in mathematics right out of undergrad, I decided to join the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health as a Master’s student. I wanted to explore various experimental methods for studying the genome and the role of statistics in rigorously interpreting the gathered data.At Hopkins, I had the fantastic opportunity to join Dr. Jie Xiao’s lab, where we study the 3D bacterial genome organization using super-resolution microscopy and high-throughput genomics assays. Additionally, within my home department of Biostatistics, I worked with Drs. Hongkai Ji and Weiqiang Zhou on projects about gene regulation using single-cell genomics. Working in both dry and wet labs was a unique and enriching experience, and I am amazed by the powerful synergy between experimental and computational techniques in answering fundamental biological questions. My research experience at Hopkins convinced me that Biostatistics, particularly in genomics and genetics, is the ideal combination of mathematics, statistics, data science, and biology for me. With the support of the Statistical Genetics/Genomics Training Grant, I am excited and ready to delve deeper into this area from both the biological and statistical/computational perspectives at Harvard Biostats. In my free time, I enjoy building Lego sets, solving level-10 jigsaw puzzles, and playing piano. I am also very excited that the Boston Symphony is just two stations away from school. Throughout high school, I played violin in orchestras and percussion in the marching band, and attending live classical concerts always brings back those wonderful memories.