"People Do Science"*

*quote by Professor Willam A Lester, Jr, UC Berkeley

The B.E.E.S. group believes in the motto "people do science". This means we put people first and believe that research advances best in an environment of support and encouragement. Meet the team below:  

Dr. Vianey Leos Barajas (she/her/ella)

I am an Assistant Professor, cross-appointed between the Department of Statistical Sciences (51%) and School of the Environment (49%) at the University of Toronto. I am primarily interested in working in the areas of ecological statistics, time series modeling, Bayesian statistics and, more recently, spatial modeling of environmental data. 

I am currently a faculty affiliate at the Vector Institute and a faculty member of the Centre for Global Change Science at the University of Toronto. Additionally, I am serving a 2-year term on the Stan Governing Body and am the current secretary of the Statistical Ecology section of the Ecological Society of America.

Collaborative projects bring me loads of joy. So, while I am formally trained in mathematics and statistics, I’m likely to be working closely with ecologists (esp. those who work with sharks) often and on many projects.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Jessica Lievesley

Dr. Jessica Lievesley is a postdoctoral fellow in the Eric & Wendy Schmidt AI in Science program at the University of Toronto. She develops cutting edge ML & AI approaches for monitoring of ecological systems.

Research Interests: AI, machine learning, ecology

Co-PI: Dak de Kerckhove

PhD Students

Robert Zimmerman

Robert is a fifth-year PhD student in Statistical Sciences at the University of Toronto.

Research Interests: Bayesian computation, probability theory, extreme value theory, mathematical finance

Principal supervisor: Radu Craiu 

Yovna Junglee

Yovna is a first-year PhD student in Statistical Sciences at the University of Toronto.

Research Interests: Bayesian inference, non-parametric and semi-parametric methods, spatio-temporal models, environmental & ecological statistics

Co-supervisor: Meredith Franklin 

Arturo Esquivel Fuente

Arturo is a first-year PhD student in Statistical Sciences at the University of Toronto.

Research Interests: Bayesian inference, spatio-temporal modeling, statistical computation, machine learning, applications in health, ecology and astronomy 

Co-supervisor: Alán Aspuru-Guzik  

Marco Gallegos Herrada

Marco is a first-year PhD student in Statistical Sciences at the University of Toronto.

Research Interests: Bayesian statistics, time series, Markov chain Monte Carlo, applied statistics, environmental & ecological statistics

Co-supervisor: Jeffrey Rosenthal

Student Researchers

Undergraduate Students:

Lauren Gill

Project:  Data Science for White Shark Conservation

Major: Biology (UBC)

Summer Undergraduate Data Science Research Program Participant

Winner of Best Talk at Resesarch Day 

Zuva Gwata

Project:  Computational Tools for Exploring Multimodal Posterior Distributions

Major: Acturial Science 

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award Recipient

Former Students

PhD Students

Thesis: Advances in state-space models for the analysis of animal movement and behavior 

University of Rosario, Argentina (Aug. 2022)

co-supervisor: Juan Morales

Undergraduate Students

Jessica Long
summer 2021

Project:  Multi-scale modeling of time series data for classification of shark behavior 

Major: Mathematics, Statistical Sciences

Recipient of NSERC USRA + SURA award by Department of Statistical Sciences

Simone Collier
summer 2021

Project: Modeling the interaction between behavior and thermoregulation in lizards

Major: Mathematics, Environmental Sciences 

Internship through the Centre for Global Change Science 

Sophie Berkowitz
summer 2021

Project: Modeling the interaction between behavior and thermoregulation in lizards

Major: Environmental Sciences 

Partial scholarship through School of Environment

Vinky Wang
summer 2021

Project: Modeling Leopard Shark Aggregations Using Point Patterns and the Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation

Major: Statistical Sciences

Yun-Hsiang Chan
summer 2021

Project: Modeling basketball movement data with hidden Markov models.

Major: Statistical Sciences, Computer Science

Recipient of SURA award by Department of Statistical Sciences.