Master's theses

The Biostatistics group offers Master’s theses to students motivated for research in state-of-the-art data science and advanced statistical modeling methods for the analysis of biomedical and life science data.

Formal requirements

In order to be eligible for a thesis we require students to

  • have shown proficiency in statistical methods, e.g. by passing related courses
  • provide and formulate an advanced topic and research question (see below)

Eligible students should email their Master TUM grade transcripts and a short letter of motivation to Prof. Donna Ankerst at ankerst (at) tum.de. If our interest is piqued and there are open spots, the student will be asked to write a proposal about their research idea (see below). The final approval for a Master’s thesis depends on the acceptance of the proposal.

Topics

Biostatistics provide a multitude of possible topics. We offer students the possibility to design and formulate their own research idea, however, it has to be related to the life sciences. The basis for a data science project is a suitable dataset. Exemplary sources are:

Some exemplary areas we are currently interested in:

  • Covid-19 gave disease modeling a huge impetus. Performance comparisons of different techniques to model the pandemic in certain countries or regions are one possibility. Applying methods to other diseases like neglected tropical diseases (e.g. Nature paper) is another option.
  • The composition of future forests will have to adapt considering that climate change is shifting climate zones. The first goal of this research idea is to model suitable climates for individual tree species based on the current distribution of species all over Europe (Nature paper) and European climate data. The second goal will be to incorporate future climate simulations and predict shifts in species distribution.
  • Aging studies based on the German Aging Survey dataset (https://www.dza.de/en/research/deas). Previous publication based on the dataset: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29143433/.
  • Master students with good grades, potential interest in a future PhD, and a desire to work hard on real world applications may be interested in cancer-related research projects offered by our collaborators at the U.S. National Cancer Institute in Washington, DC.

Proposal

The proposal for a Master’s thesis will show the overall goal of the thesis, the methods to achieve it, and the resources that are needed. The following parts should be included, but will need to be extended in a potential thesis:

  • Introduction to the topic
  • Introduction and first visualizations of the to-be-analyzed dataset
  • Preliminary literature review of current publications related to the topic
  • Overview of the to-be-used methods, how they will be utilized, and how their application will answer the research question

The proposal typically comprises 4-8 pages. Should the proposal be accepted, appropriate passages can be adopted for the thesis.

General information