KAUST offers me world-class research resources and support. Its highly international working environment allows me gain a global perspective.


Building 1 (West), Al-Khawarizmi, 4th floor, 4200-CU05


  • 2017: PhD in Biostatistics. Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore.
  • 2012: BSc (Hons) Statistics, National University of Singapore.

Dr. Chao received her Ph.D. in 2017 from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore. Her Ph.D. dissertation is “Bayesian Methods for Estimating Global Health Indicators”. She has been actively collaborating with United Nations Population Division and UNICEF since 2012. She develops complex statistical models for sparse and noisy data for population indicators (e.g. sex ratio at birth, under-5 child mortality rate) across countries over time.

Research Interest

Statistical demography; Global health; Bayesian modeling; Time series analysis.

Research Grant

  • Sep 2019 – Sep 2021: Long Term Agreement for Services (LTAS) for UNICEF. PI: Chao, F. LTAS-42107038. (Awarded to KAUST with faculty mentor Prof. Hernando Ombao). USD $35,300.


  • Aug 2013: XXVII IUSSP International Population Conference Best Poster Award.
  • May 2011: NUS Dean’s List: AY 2010/2011 Semester 2.
  • 2008–2012: NUS Undergraduate Scholarship (full scholarship).

Professional Activities

Associate Editor for: the Foundation of Data Science (AIMS).

Reviewed for: Annals of Applied Statistics. BMC Public Health. BMJ Global Health. Demographic Research. Global Health Research and Policy. International Health. International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Journal of Development Effectiveness. Lancet Global Health. Mathematical Population Studies. Spatial Demography. Studies in Family Planning. Violence Against Women.

Selected Publications

Chao, F., Guilmoto, C. Z., KC, S., & Ombao, H. (2020). Probabilistic projection of the sex ratio at birth and missing female births by State and Union Territory in India. PloS ONE, 15(8), e0236673.
Guilmoto, C. Z., Chao, F., & Kulkarni, P. M. (2020). On the estimation of female births missing due to prenatal sex selection. Population studies, 74(2), 283-289.
Chao, F., & Yadav, A. K. (2019). Levels and trends in the sex ratio at birth and missing female births for 29 states and union territories in India 1990–2016: A Bayesian modeling study. Foundations of Data Science, 1(2), 177-196.
Chao, F., Gerland, P., Cook, A. R., & Alkema, L. (2019). Systematic assessment of the sex ratio at birth for all countries and estimation of national imbalances and regional reference levels. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 9303-9311.
Chao, F., You, D., Pedersen, J., Hug, L., & Alkema, L. (2018). National and regional under-5 mortality rate by economic status for low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic assessment. The Lancet Global Health, 6(5), e535-e547.
Chao, F., & Alkema, L. (2014). How informative are vital registration data for estimating maternal mortality? A Bayesian analysis of WHO adjustment data and parameters. Statistics and Public Policy, 1(1), 6-18.
Alkema, L., Chao, F., You, D., Pedersen, J., & Sawyer, C. C. (2014). National, regional, and global sex ratios of infant, child, and under-5 mortality and identification of countries with outlying ratios: a systematic assessment. The Lancet Global Health, 2(9), e521-e530.