M.Sc. Computer Science, University of Dortmund, Germany
P.hD. Computer Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)
Director, School of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University
Senior Research Scientist, Vancouver Prostate Centre
Dr. Martin Ester is Co-Director of SFU’s Data Mining Research Lab in the School of Computing Science. He has more than 20 years of research experience in the areas of data mining and machine learning and is regarded as an international leader in his field. The highly-regarded Digital Library Aminer ranked Dr. Ester as the Top Most Influential Scholar in 2016 in the area of data mining.
As one of the foci of his research, Dr. Ester has explored the potential of data mining to support Precision Medicine. His lab has in particular worked on cancer marker discovery, patient stratification, and drug-target interaction prediction, all in collaboration with Drs. Collins and Cherkasov. In terms of computational methods, he has mainly used probabilistic graphical models, and more recently Deep Neural Networks.
Dr. Ester is not only interested in basic research, but also in the translation of research results into industrial or clinical applications. A successful way of knowledge translation is the development of open source tools. For instance, PSORTb, developed together with Dr. Fiona Brinkman’s lab at SFU several years ago, is still widely used as state-of-the-art tool for protein subcellular localization prediction in bacteria.
Another effective way of knowledge translation is the interdisciplinary training of graduate students, who have co-senior supervisors from the life sciences and are embedded in both the Data Mining Lab and a life science lab. Examples of such students who were trained together with Dr. Cenk Sahinalp are Phuong Dao (research scientist first at the NIH, now Memorial Sloan Kettering), Fereydoun Hormozdiari (assistant professor at UC Davis) and Faraz Hach (research scientist at the VPC).