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PhD student Mike Hellstern receives Donovan J. Thompson Award

Mike Hellstern, a second-year doctoral student, is the recipient of the 2021 Donovan J. Thompson Award.

Mike Hellstern
Mike Hellstern, recipient of 2021 Donovan J. Thompson Award.

The honor, which includes a $2,000 stipend, is presented each year by the Department of Biostatistics to the student with the best combined performance on the PhD applied and theory qualifying exams.

“I think the award is very much a reflection of the quality of teaching and collaboration in the department, so thank you to all of my teachers and fellow classmates who have helped me along the way,” said Hellstern.

Hellstern works with Professor Ali Shojaie to develop statistical machine learning methods for neuroscience applications, which includes a collaboration with UW’s Yazden Lab to develop statistical methods to model neural functional connectivity changes.

If successful, the discoveries could be used to help treat a wide range of medical conditions such as epilepsy or motor function loss due to stroke or other such conditions.

Looking ahead, Hellstern hopes to do more in-depth neuroscience research and, if possible, collaborate on research involving health outcomes and treatments for patients with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.