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Features: Faculty Insights


Mathematics and statistics are driving a revolution in medicine and healthcare, but exciting new maths is also being discovered thanks to the challenges that healthcare raises.

In this conversation, recorded as part of the 2021 Cambridge Alumni Festival, Professor Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb and Professor Sir John Aston discuss how medicine has led them to work on all kinds of maths and statistics, much of which has applications in some very different places. 




About the speakers

Professor Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb

Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb is Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, and the Head of the Cambridge Image Analysis Group. Among her many activities in applying rigorous computational analysis techniques to a wide range of topics, she is also the Director of the EPSRC-funded Cambridge Mathematics of Information in Healthcare Hub (CMIH), which focuses on some of the most challenging public health problems of our time, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia.

Together with her Cambridge Image Analysis group she conducts research on mathematical methods for image analysis and inverse imaging problems. She has active interdisciplinary collaborations with clinicians, biologists and physicists on biomedical imaging topics, chemical engineers and plant scientists on image sensing, as well as collaborations with artists and art conservators on digital art restoration. Her research has been recognised by numerous prizes, among them the LMS Whitehead Prize 2016 and the Calderon Prize 2019. 

Read more about some of Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb's work in the feature articles Combining traditional approaches with machine learning and Artificial intelligence takes on COVID-19.

Professor John Aston

Professor Sir John Aston is Harding Professor of Statistics in Public Life at the University of Cambridge, where he leads research into the use of quantitative evidence in public policymaking, works with those in public life to ensure the best methods are used, and aims to improve the use of statistics and other quantitative evidence in public policy debates. He also works in the area of statistics in healthcare, particularly medical imaging, and he is Co-Director of the Cambridge Mathematics of Information in Healthcare Hub. He was awarded a knighthood in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to statistics and public policymaking. 

He specialises in applied statistics, with particular interests in official and public policy statistics, statistical neuroimaging, and statistical linguistics. Until recently he was also the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Home Office, and formerly was a board member and trustee of the Alan Turing Institute. He is currently a non-Executive Director of the UK Statistics Authority. 

Read more about John Aston's work in this feature interview.