Gonzalo E. Mena bio photo

Gonzalo E. Mena

Researcher in Machine Learning and its aplications to Science.

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I’m a final year PhD student in the Statistics Department, Columbia University. I am in an active search of research positions.

My advisor is Liam Paninski, with whom I collaborate closely.

During my PhD I have teamed with top-tier research groups. Indeed, a big part of my dissertation is a collaboration with EJ Chichilnisky’s Lab at Stanford University, where I’ve developed ML-based algorithms to support large-scale closed-loop control of neural activity in the retina based on electrical stimulation. Scientifically, this emerging technology has the potential to improve our understanding of neural circuits, even beyond the retina. Also, clinically, it might be useful to enhance the resolution of future retinal prosthesis, hence, providing a better treatment for people with degenerative eye disease (retinitis pigmentosa).
The code I developed. is already being used to analyze huge volumes of neural data. See here the current pre-print of the manuscript to appear in PLOS Computational Biology.

More recently, I was hosted by Jasper Snoek for a summer internship at Google Brain, where I conducted fundamental research on Artificial Intelligence, exploring new Neural Network /ML techniques to tackle a combinatorial problem involving matchings. Code, open sourced by Google, is already available here. Results are coming soon

Thanks to my PhD path I have developed strong quantitative and computational proficiency: I’ve been exposed to problems that involve the extraction of meaningful information in massive (neural) datasets with non-trivial structure, and plagued with corruption. I’ve incorporated Machine Learning/Deep Learning/Artificial Intelligence (ML/DL/AI) as the right semantics for problem modeling and solving, in our days. I’ve showed that I am quickly able identify the relevant structures of scientific problems, and to appropriately reduce them to some ML/DL/AI model.

Upon graduation, I am interested in fundamental ML/DL/AI but always with a focus on applications to Science. I am particularly interested in in life sciences and/or medicine/healthcare. Please reach out to me if you think I could be a good fit on a research role in your team.

The picture above is from my hometown: Santiago, Chile. There I obtained by B.S. in Mathematical Engineering at Universidad de Chile