Christian L. Müller, Ph.D.

Project Leader in Computational Statistics, Numerical Algorithms, CCB, Flatiron Institute

Christian L. Müller joined the Simons Foundation in 2014 to work at the Simons Center for Data Analysis, developing high-dimensional statistics methods and algorithms with applications to microbial and regulatory networks. He is currently a Project Leader in Computational Statistics. Müller held postdoctoral positions at ETH Zürich and NYU. Müller holds an M.S. in computer science from Uppsala University, Sweden, an M.S. in bioinformatics and computer science, as well as a university certificate in literature and poetry, from the University of Tübingen, Germany, and a Ph.D. in computer science from ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

Research Interests

I am interested in developing computational statistics methods that are applicable in data-driven research in biology and microbial ecology.

As one of the principal investigator in the Simons Collaboration on Computational Biogeochemical Modeling of Marine Ecosystems (CBIOMES) I am involved in developing statistical methods for ocean microbiome data analysis.

In Summer 2018 I will be visiting faculty at the Max-Planck/TU Dresden Center for Systems Biology.

On the computational side my primary research interests are:

  • High-dimensional and robust statistics
  • Compositional data analysis
  • Black-box optimization and sampling
  • Proximal algorithms and their application in statistics
  • Statistical and spectral methods to analyze complex networks

My biological applications include:

  • Microbiome data analysis
  • Inference of microbial association networks from amplicon data
  • Analysis of microbial time series data from metagenomics measurements
  • Robustness of parameter spaces in biological systems

My CV can be found here (pdf).

In summer, I teach network inference as part of the summer course “Strategies and Techniques for Analysis of Microbial Population Structure” (STAMPS), at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole.

I have co-organized and continue to organize a number of workshops and symposia. The principle aim of the workshops I help organize is to bridge the gap between research in optimization, statistics, and microbial data analysis.

Planned workshops

  • Flatiron Institute workshop on Operator Splitting in Data Analysis which will take place on the 20th-22th of March 2019 at the Flatiron Institute, Simons Foundation, New York. Participation is by invitation only. If you are interested, please contact me.

Recent workshops/conferences

  • ASA Conference on Statistical Learning and Data Science (SLDS)/Non-parametric Statistics which took place on the 4th-6th of June 2018 at Columbia University , New York. Information and registration can be found here. The conference was financially supported by the Simons Foundation.
  • SAMSI workshop on Operator Splitting in Data Analysis which took place on the 21th-23th of March 2018 at SAMSI, Research Triangle, NC. Information and registration can be found here. This workshop was financially supported by the Simons Foundation.
  • Mini-symposium on Proximal Algorithms for High-dimensional Statistics as part of the SIAM Conference of Optimization 2017 which took place on the 22th-25th of May 2017 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, Vancouver. Information and registration can be found here.
  • Second workshop on statistical and computational challenges in microbiome research which took place on the 16th-17th of February 2017 at the Broad Institute, Cambridge. Information and registration can be found here (#SACMDA2).
  • First workshop on statistical and computational challenges in microbiome research on the 25th-26th of February 2016 at the Simons Foundation, New York. Further information can be found here.

Selected Publications

Please find below a list of representative publications (more complete list is available on my ResearchGate profile). Some of the accompanying code can be found in my personal github repository. My Erdös number is 3 (Bernd Gärtner -> Pavel Valtr -> Paul Erdös).

Recent highlights in statistics and optimization

Recent highlights in microbial data analysis and modeling

Manuscripts under review/in preparation

Representative older publications


Active Collaborations

Jacob Bien, Data Sciences and Operations, USC Marshall School of Business, USA, High-dimensional statistics.

Patrick Combettes, NC State, USA, Proximal algorithms.

Zachary Kurtz, Lodo Therapeutics, New York, Microbiome data analysis.

Ivo F. Sbalzarini, Max-Planck-Institute for Cell Biology, Dresden, Germany, Markov Chain Monte Carlo, Optimization.

Thomas J. Fuchs, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA, Approximate Bayesian Computation .

Current Supervision/Mentoring


Aditya Mishra, (PhD Statistics 2017, UConn)

PhD students:

Michelle Badri (Principal supervisors Blaser/Bonneau, NYU), Josh Fass (Principal supervisor John Chodera, MSKCC)


Previous Supervision/Mentoring

PhD students:

Sebastian Stich (completed 2014, with Dr. Bernd Gärtner, ETH Zürich) now at EPFL, Switzerland

Josefine Asmus (completed 2017, with Dr. Ivo F. Sbalzarini, MPI-CBG/TU Dresden)

Master/diploma theses (2006-2010, ETH Zürich):

Ana Tusek, Benedikt Baumgartner, Christian Fiegl, Georg Ofenbeck, Markus König, Daniel Zünd, (with Ivo F. Sbalzarini), Thomas Lampart (with Peter Widmayer)

Bachelor/semester theses (2006-2010, ETH Zürich):

Johannes Lederer, Yannick Misteli, Patrick Plattner (with Ivo F. Sbalzarini)

Mentoring of Graduate Students (since 2013):

Evan Baugh, Zachary Kurtz, Ramya Raviram (all NYU)

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