STIJN LUCA (Professor biostatistics)

Stijn Luca holds a MSc in Mathematics from KU Leuven (Belgium, 2003) and a PhD in mathematics from Hasselt University (Belgium, 2007). Currently, he is an assistant professor at the Department of Data Analysis and Mathematical Modelling of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University (Belgium). Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow at KU Leuven (Belgium) and a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford (2014-2015). Luca's research interests surround the theory and methods of statistical data analysis and its applications in life sciences. Recent work brought contributions to the areas of extreme value statistics, spatial statistics and statistical quality control.

Camille Van Eupen is an FWO-SB recipient jointly supervised by KU Leuven (Department of Forest, Nature and Landscape) and the Flemish Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO). She is working on species distribution modelling using citizen science data, for which she collaborates with Natuurpunt Studie (, Flanders' main source for opportunistic data for biodiversity monitoring. Previously, Van Eupen obtained a MSc in Bioscience Engineering Technology from KU Leuven. For her master thesis, she stayed in Ispra (IT) at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, where she was part of a EU research project that evaluated the impact of a new policy instrument (Ecological Focus Areas) on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Her research interests include biodiversity conservation, applied ecology and species distribution modelling.

Supervision team: Prof. dr. Stijn Luca (Ghent University), prof. dr. ir. Ben Somers (KU Leuven) & Dirk Maes (INBO).
Luca is working with us under a joint-PhD program with Stellenbosch University, department of statistics & actuarial sciences. Luca's research treats the problem of open set recognition where he's adapting methods from the field of extreme value statistics to deal with the uncertainty of classification methods caused by unseen classes during training. Luca obtained a MCom in Mathematical Statistics in 2017 at Stellenbosch University and joint us since 2018. His research interests are at the interface of mathematical statistics and machine learning.

Supervision team: Prof. dr. Stijn Luca (Ghent Univeristy), Prof. dr. Bernard de Baets (Ghent University), Prof. dr. Tertius de Wet (Stellenbosch University), dr. Justin Harvey (Stellenbosch University).
Jelle Hustinx (DPhil student), Physicist by education, obtained his bachelor’s degree at Hasselt University and his master’s degree at KU Leuven (2020). Hustinx is jointly supervised with the KERMIT lab. His research is centered around the topic of open set recognition which is actively studied within the field of machine learning and which deals with the problem of unseen classes during the training of a classification model. BIOSTAT is involved in the study of such models that are based on extreme value statistics. Among other things, we will work on a comparison between these methods and other machine learning based approaches that will be developed during his PhD track.

Supervision team: Prof. dr. ir. Willem Waegeman & Prof. dr. Stijn Luca (Ghent University).
Bastiaan Aelbrecht obtained a MSc in Physics and Astronomy from Ghent University (Belgium, 2020) and held a short research position exploring the links between information and quantum theory. He joined us since 2021 to study the theory of extreme value statistics and its applications in climate sciences. In particular, his work is focussed on the study of high dimensional extremes. At our department, he teaches the exercise sessions of probablity and statistics.

Supervision team: Prof. dr. Stijn Luca (Ghent University)
LIXUAN AN (DPhil Student)
Lixuan An graduated with a master in Statistics from the Xi'an Jiaotong University (China, 2021). During her studies she was yearly awarded national scholarships and competition prizes as top student of her year. In 2021, she has been awarded a CSC scholarschip from the China Scholarship Council for which she was additionaly preselected through the special research fund of Ghent University. Her PhD work will be around the development of a combined framework of machine learning and extreme value theory with applications to anomaly detection.

Supervision team: Prof. dr. Benard de Baets & Prof. dr. Stijn Luca (Ghent University)
Ajmal Muhammad (DPhil Student)
Ajmal Muhammad is with us through a HEC grant for which he has been awarded by the Higher Education commission of Pakistan (2021). In 2016, he recieved a Master of Philosophy in Statistics from the PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi after which he became lecturer at the University of Baltistan, Skardu where he thaught several courses in statistics. From 2022, he joined Ghent University as a PhD student working on the topic of acceptance sampling for statistical quality control. Ajmal works deals with Bayesian statistics and sampling design, treating various applications in food & pharma industry.

Supervision team: Prof. dr. Stijn Luca (Ghent University) and Prof. dr. ir. Jan Verwaeren (Ghent University)
Max Savery (DPhil Student)
Max Savery earned a Master of Statistics and Data Science degree from KU Leuven (Belgium) in 2022. During his bachelor’s degree he focused on genetics, and was subsequently awarded research fellowship positions in genomics and medical informatics at the National Institutes of Health (United States, 2017-2020). In 2022 he joined the BIOSTAT group at Ghent University as a PhD student, where he will research efficient spatial-temporal data collection. He will work on developing optimal designs that integrate multiple types of data sources, for the purpose of more efficiently surveying difficult-to-collect spatial-temporal data.

Supervision team: Prof. dr. Stijn Luca (Ghent University)

BIOSTAT is also involved in the supervision of the following PhD students not affiliated to Ghent University:


Hee Reen Shim
Supervised in collaboration with EMEDIA - KU Leuven.
Dissertation: Data-Efficient Methods for Natural Language Processing: Applications in Healthcare (2023).
Date of defence: 27 January 2023
Current position: Applied scientist at Amazon Alexa AI.
Chetanya Puri
Supervised in collaboration with EMEDIA - KU Leuven.
Dissertation: Building personalised machine learning models in health informatics with limited datasets (2023).
Date of defence: 13 January 2023
Current position: R&D position at Cluepoints.
Ahmed Youssef Ali Amer
Supervised in collaboration with EMEDIA - KU Leuven.
Date of defence: 12 May 2021
Dissertation: Machine learning for human health : from activity and vital-sign monitoring to mortality prediction (2021). [ PDF ]
Current position: R&D position at Johnson&Johnson.