Harvard Data Science Initiative director to deliver Thompson Distinguished Lecture

Francesca Dominici's lecture 'Data Science to Address the Health Impacts of Climate Change' to take place at Rice on January 30.

Francesca Dominici

Francesca Dominici, director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative, will deliver the 2023 James R. Thompson Distinguished Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Statistics (STAT) at Rice.

Her lecture is titled “Data Science to Address the Health Impacts of Climate Change.” Dominici serves as the Clarence James Gamble Professor of Biostatistics, Population and Data Science in Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is co-editor in chief of the Harvard Data Science Review.

The lecture is set to take place at 4 p.m. on Jan. 30 in McMurtry Auditorium, Duncan Hall. 

Dominici is the consummate academic scholar,” said Rudy Guerra, professor and chair of STAT at Rice. “She was selected to deliver the lecture this year primarily for her distinguished research focusing on statistical applications in environmental health science, especially air pollution and climate change. Her professional activities include academic leadership, providing a voice for scientific policy at the national level and a commitment to advancing women faculty.”

“I will provide an overview of data science methods, including methods for Bayesian analysis, causal inference and machine learning, to inform environmental policy,” said Dominici, an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the International Society of Mathematical Statistics.

“The talk is based on my work analyzing a data platform of unprecedented size and representativeness. It includes more than 500 million observations on the health experience of more than 95 percent of the U.S. population older than 65, and is linked to air pollution exposure and other factors,” Dominici said.

The annual lecture series is named for the late James R. Thompson, who joined the Rice faculty in 1970 as a member of the Mathematical Sciences Department in the School of Natural Sciences. When STAT became a separate department in 1987, Thompson was its founding chair.