Idaho State University Mathematics and Statistics Professor Shu-Chuan ‘Grace’ Chen Receives Fellowship from the Taiwanese Government for Sabbatical

POCATELLO – Idaho State University Associate Professor Shu-Chuan “Grace” Chen has received a distinguished fellowship from the government of Taiwan to serve a one-year sabbatical at the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan to help support the development of bioinformatics.

Chen teaches in the ISU Department of Mathematics and Statistics. She is receiving full funding for her sabbatical from the Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology, the Taiwanese equivalent of the U.S. National Science Foundation.

“I am honored and very excited about this opportunity,” Chen said. “Bioinformatics is one of the key research focuses in Taiwan and it’s still under development. I will be helping to build up joint research work and program on developing statistical methods and algorithms for genomic data analysis.”

She will also teach one course per semester, one in bioinformatics and one in statistical genetics. Chen will continue her joint work with researchers at Academia Sinica, the national academy of Taiwan.

“I have published some important work in top-tier journals such as Biometrika and Annals of Statistics, so I was invited because of my distinguished research contributions in the area of bioinformatics,” she said.

Chen has been at ISU six years. Her research mainly focuses on bioinformatics, especially in developing statistical methods and algorithms for functional genomic data analysis.

“The discipline of statistics is a key part of Idaho State University because everybody deals with data,” Chen said. “As long as you have data, no matter whether they are numbers, labels or behavior patterns, as long as you have data that you need to tell stories with, you need to know statistics to do that. Learning statistics is very important across many disciplines and fields, so you don’t get fooled by data.”

She also said that research proposals that have statistical support have a better chance to receive possible funding, which is very important to the University.

Chen’s past publications were involved with the development of mixture models for clustering high dimensional sequences, its related theoretical justifications and applications. She also published papers in neuron spike trend studies, data mining, analysis of election data and DNA sequences’ matching probability.

“The fellowship for sabbatical is truly great news and an honor to me mainly because it’s from the government and only awarded to a few scholars from foreign countries,” Chen said. “So far only few statisticians have been awarded funding like this from the government of Taiwan. I am deeply grateful to have the support from my research collaborators and departmental colleagues. Without their support, this would not have been possible.”

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