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Sommer Scholars

Lei Huang

PhD Student, Biostatistics

Lei Huang may be a statistician by training, but neither cold, hard numbers nor fancy, complicated models hold much appeal for him. That’s why the Shanghai native was drawn to the Bloomberg School’s biostatistics program; he cares all about what—and, most importantly, who—the numbers apply to. “You can actually help a lot of people,” says Huang, whose current research efforts focus on brain imaging and high-dimensional data analysis. The brain, Huang says, is not only the body’s most essential organ but also its most complicated and mysterious. “The same invasive methods we might use to study other organs don’t apply,” he says. “You can’t just cut into the brain to find out what it’s doing.” Where surgical instruments may fall short, numbers hold the key, Huang says. He is working on a project that uses a statistical model coupled with imaging technology for predicting mental health disorders. In the past, he’s also worked as a data analyst for the Child Study Center at New York University, on a study of children with ADHD. “Dealing with numbers is what I’m good at,” says Huang, who plans to pursue an academic career, most likely as a biostatistics professor. “There are tons of data out there and a lot of interesting problems that need to be solved.” 120: Freefall speed in miles per hour during Huang’s first skydive