Using modern Machine Learning for the probabilistic modelling of dementia
Dr Victor Fedyashov
Dr Benjamin Goudey
Dr Daniel Beck
Dr Pierrick Bourgeat
School / Faculty:
Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Faculty of Medicine, Dental and Health Sciences
My PhD project focuses on the probabilistic modelling of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). As the most common form of Dementia, AD has inspired many works at the intersection of neuroscience, statistics, and computer science to develop methodologies and models able to help in the clinical diagnosis of the disease, or estimating the evolution of patients’ neurodegeneration and cognitive decline when viewing AD as a continuum. Multiple aspects characterize the disease and pose significant challenges in its modelling: these include heterogeneity in clinical presentations, incomplete observation of the disease through potentially noisy biomarkers, uncertainty about the biological or genetic mechanisms involved in the disease, and in most cases, an unknown time of onset. Whether for estimating disease progression or establishing predictions of diagnoses, viewing the problem through the lens of machine learning and probabilistic modelling allows for more accurate depictions of the underlying nature of the disease and how it translates into observable biomarkers with noise inherent to real-world biological data and imperfect measurement means.
Q & A
Why did you decide to do a PhD?
I thoroughly enjoyed the research component at my last job. Having the freedom of exploring a large set of methods (or coming up with new ones) for partly defined problems is the dream.
What do you enjoy reading?
Aside from keeping up with general science and technology news, I enjoy reading the odd in-depth piece about their intersection with law, public policy, or ethics. When it comes to books, I would usually stick to fiction, with thriller novels or unreliable narrators.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not working on your PhD?
I like going for walks, cooking, playing video games and petting my cat. Unfortunately, only some of these activities can be performed in parallel.
Name one fun fact about you.
I’ve picked up a few (too many) languages from high school, undergrad electives, and exchange programs.