Principal Investigator

Christian L. Müller, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator, Helmholtz Zentrum München, LMU München, Flatiron Institute, New York
Christian L. Müller has been a group leader at the Institute of Computational Biology (ICB), Helmholtz München since 2019 and Professor for Biomedical Statistics and Data Science at the Department of Statistics at LMU München. Since 2014, he has been affiliated with the Simons Foundation, New York, where he is currently a project leader in computational statistics at the Center for Computational Mathematics (CCM), Flatiron Institute.
Christian studied computer science, bioinformatics, and poetry at Uppsala University, Sweden, and the Univeristy of Tübingen, Germany and received his Ph.D. in computer science from ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Christian held postdoctoral positions at ETH Zürich and NYU, and deeply cares about method development in high-dimensional statistics, (non-)convex optimization, shallow and deep learning, and their applications to high-throughput biological data sets. The secret life of microbes (the microbiome) holds a special place in Christian's heart (and gut).
Outside the lab, you can find Christian running in the parks and playing soccer.

Scientific Staff

Diana David-Rus
Research Scientist, ICB-Helmholtz Zentrum München
Diana has a Diploma in Physics from the University of Bucharest, Romania, and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University, within the interdisciplinary BioMaPs program (Biology, Mathematics, and Physics). In her doctoral work she was supervised by Prof. Joel Lebowitz, a renowned expert in Mathematical Physics, and Prof. Monica Driscoll, distinguished for her contributions to Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Subsequently, she held postdoctoral positions at ENS-Paris, France, and UCL- Brussels, Belgium. Prior to joining Christian’s group at ICB- Helmholtz Zentrum, she held research positions at MPI for Biochemistry, LMU & LGL-Bayern. Her research pursuits are aimed at unraveling fundamental biological processes through the use of statistical and bioinformatic methods, complemented by physics-inspired mathematical modeling. Her work has included analyzing sequencing data for aging research, developing models for epigenetic features, and studying protein interactions. Her current focus is on the ocean's microbiome and its environmental interactions, aiming to uncover their impact on health and biological systems as well as identify the microbiome signature on human health by using various machine-learning approaches.
In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, jogging kickboxing, and cross-country skiing. She also likes to tackle philosophical problems within the foundational aspects of physics and metaphysics of science and regularly attends seminars and conferences on such subjects.

Ph.D. Students

Johannes Ostner
Graduate Student, Helmholtz Zentrum München
Personal Website
Johannes has a Master’s degree in Mathematics in Data Science from the Technical University of Munich (TUM). For his thesis, Johannes worked with Benjamin Schubert and Maren Büttner to develop scCODA, a statistical model for compositional analysis of single-cell RNA sequencing. Since then, he has extended his focus to compositional models for high-throughput sequencing data in general, exploring methods that can be applied to both single-cell and bulk RNA sequencing data. Johannes is experienced in compositional statistics and Machine Learning techniques, and has an ever-growing expertise in RNA sequencing analysis methods.
Outside of biostatistics, Johannes spends his time with swimming and biking, and volunteers as a swimming coach for kids.

Mara Stadler
Graduate Student, Helmholtz Zentrum München
Personal Website
Mara has a Master’s Degree in Statistics from the Technical University of Dortmund. In her master thesis she focused on statistical modeling of dynamic eye-tracking experiments. Her research interests include dimensionality reduction, feature selection, regularization, and multivariate statistics.
She is currently analyzing large-scale proteomics data in collaboration with Dr. Till Bartke, where she is particularly interested in modeling combinatorial effects on a multiple readout.
Mara enjoys spending her free time skiing or hiking in the mountains or in her second home on Crete, where she grew up for a while.

Oleg Vlasovets
Graduate Student, Helmholtz Zentrum München
Personal Website
Oleg received his MSc degree in Data Science from a joint program of Aalto University and Eindhoven University of Technology. His master thesis is focused on detecting anomalies of industrial vessel performance with Bayesian and unsupervised statistical methods. His research interests are oriented toward optimisation theory, statistical learning and network inference that can be applied in microbiology. In the BioDataScience Lab, Oleg works on causal inference of gut microbiome, food allergies and non-IgE intolerances. Also, his efforts involve making contributions to QIIME2 - an open-sorce bioinformatic platform, which adheres to the FAIR principles of open science.
Oleg has work experience in industry and his BSc degree in Business Informatics from HSE University with minor on Data Mining from Yandex.
He also enjoys solving machine learning problems from the business domain, e.g., participating in hackathons and Kaggle competitions. If you don’t find him doing one the activities above, you will probably find him on a tennis court.

Roberto Olayo Alarcón
Graduate Student, Institue of Statistics LMU
Personal Website
Roberto studied Genomic Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Before joining our group, he worked with Dr. Robert Schneider analyzing high-throughput experiments in order to dissect the effect of glucose starvation on cis-regulatory elements in human liver cells.
Broadly speaking, Roberto is very interested in the subject of antibiotic resistance and its intersection with microbial biology. He makes use of high-throughput datasets to make new insights into the bacterial response to stress, particularly at the transcriptional level. In our group, he is responsible for the StressRegNet project.
In his free time, Roberto enjoys cycling, bouldering, and playing soccer.

Stefanie Peschel
Graduate Student, Department of Statistics at LMU
Personal Website
Stefanie studied Statistics with an Economic and Social Science Background at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) of Munich. Her master's thesis was her first foray into the world of microbial network analysis, which formed the basis of her doctoral studies. She started her Ph.D. at the Institute of Asthma and Allergy Prevention at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and now continues her work in our group. As part of her doctoral thesis, she developed the R package "NetCoMi", which provides methods for constructing, analyzing, and comparing networks for microbiome data. Besides her scientific activities, Stefanie also leads the Early Career Working Group (AG Nachwuchs) of the IBS-DR.

Daniele Pugno
Graduate Student, Helmholtz Zentrum München
Personal Website
Daniele has a Master’s degree in Statistical and Actuarial Science from "Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC) - Milan". In his Master’s thesis, he focused on time series models and the implementation of post-processing models for the correction of forecasting errors. After his Master's Degree, he worked for one year as a data scientist in a biotechnological start-up. His research interests include statistical learning, multivariate statistics and network inference. Currently, he is working on network inference of gut microbiome with a focus on phage-bacteria interaction. In his free time, Daniele enjoys climbing, hiking in the mountains and reading.

Viet Tran
Graduate Student, Institue of Statistics LMU
Personal Website
Viet studied Biostatistics and Philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) of Munich. In his Master’s thesis, he focused on extending the trac framework to classification tasks and applying the extension in a causal inference framework. His current research interests include statistical learning and compositional data analysis with applications to human health and the ocean. Viet enjoys playing tennis and reading in his free time.

Jinlong Ru
Graduate Student, Helmholtz Zentrum München
Personal Website
Jinlong has a Master’s degree in Bioinformatics from Northwest A&F University in China. During his Master studies, he developed a database and computational platform for Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has been widely used as a data source for studying herbal medicines from a systems pharmacology perspective. His research interests include discovering novel drugs from natural products, phage therapy for combating microbial infections, and analyzing metagenomics data. His current work involves studying phage-host interactions using a multi-omics approach, as well as developing tools for viromics data analysis.
In his free time, Jinlong enjoys cooking and reading.

Tong Wu
Graduate Student, Helmholtz Zentrum München
Personal Website
Tong Wu holds a Master’s degree in food science and engineering from Jiangnan University in China. Since his Master's studies, he has been interested in the gut microbiome, especially the potential interactions between the gut microbiome and human health. Currently, he focuses on the gut-liver-brain axis in Alzheimer’s disease scenarios using a multi-omits approach.
Tong loves playing table tennis and cooking in his spare time.

Luise Rauer
Graduate Student, Helmholtz Zentrum München
Personal Website

Luise studied human biology and public health, focusing on interactions between humans and their environment and statistical methods to unravel these interactions. In her doctoral research, she develops laboratory and computational approaches to correct biases in microbiome data, which enables the detection of reliable microbiome-disease associations. She is also passionate about data visualization and computational reproducibility.
In her free time, Luise enjoys bouldering, learning new languages, and exploring the arts.

Master Students

Medina Bajramovic
Master Student, Institue of Statistics LMU
Personal Website
Medina holds a bachelor in business mathematics from Ludwigs-Maximilian University, where she is also currently pursuing her masters degree in statistics and data science, with a special focus on biostatistics and high-dimensional data analysis.
Together with Roberto, she analyzes bacterial reponses to stress, in particular differential growth curve and luminescent curve analysis.
When Medina is not crunching numbers, she loves to get her hands dirty with plants while sipping on a freshly brewed coffee.

Jin Lin
Master Student, Institue of Statistics LMU
Jin Lin has a bachelor’s degree in statistics from Tongji University, and now she is studying in MA biostatistics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) of Munich. Her interest now is how to identify certain clustering in high-dimensional microbial data using flowmix.
Jin enjoys visiting museums in her free time.

Lukas Mischinger
Master Student, Institue of Statistics LMU
Bachelor program Sociology and Statistics at LMU Munich. Master program in Statistics and Data Science at LMU Munich. Lukas is currently doing his masters thesis about regularisation methods in high-dimensional biological network analysis, in particular for graphlet stability methods.

Steffen Fohr
Master Student, Institue of Statistics LMU
Steffen holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from LFU Innsbruck and is now advancing his education with a Master's in Biostatistics at LMU Munich. Collaborating with Johannes, he works on dimensionality reduction and clustering methods, applied to bacterial single-cell data.
In his free-time, Steffen enjoys cooking.


Aditya Mishra - PostDoc

Alice Sommer - PhD Student

Louis Sanden - Masther thesis
Stefanie Schmid - Master thesis
Salome Carcy - Master thesis
Medina Bajramovic - Master thesis
Maria Pröbstl - Master thesis

Mahima Arunkumar - Bachelor thesis
“Biomedical Statistics and Data Science”