HSPH Biostatistics: News and Updates

Donna Spiegelman Receives a Director's Pioneer Award
Donna Spiegelman, professor of epidemiologic methods in the Departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, has received a Director's Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). One of 10 researchers honored, Spiegelman is believed to be the first epidemiologist and biostatistician, and the first faculty member from a school of public health, to receive the award.

Alumnus Melody Goodman Gave Keynote Address
Dr. Melody Goodman '06 gave the keynote address at the first annual symposium sponsored by the Department of Biostatistics Summer Program in Quantitative Sciences. Melody, an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, spoke to a Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) audience about the links between segregation and poor health.

Alumnus Nicholas Horton Wins Statistical Education Award
Dr. Nicholas Horton '99 is the recipient of the 2014 Mu Sigma Rho William D. Warde Statistical Education Award. This award was presented during the meeting of the Statistics Education section of the American Statistical Association during the Joint Statistical Meetings in Boston in August. Congratulations, Nick, on this great honor!

Doctoral Student Florence Yong "Telling the Story of Science"
Florence Yong participated in the GSAS workshop ComSciCon Local. Organized by Communicating Science, an organization founded and run by PhD students from Harvard and MIT, the workshop culminated with students preparing brief articles that answered the question, "What surprising role will your field take in explaining, shaping, or solving a problem faced by society this century?" See Florence's response here.

What does a biostatistician do?
Victor De Gruttola, chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Henry Pickering Walcott Professor of Biostatistics, recently answered three questions about the role of biostatistics in public health. (Click on link to read more.)

Brent Coull Wins HSPH Teaching Award
Professor Coull was selected as this year's recipient of the Roger L. Nichols Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Nichols Award for Excellence in Teaching allows the School to acknowledge the annual recipient with a monetary honorarium. The award was presented at the Commencement Celebration on the evening of Wednesday May 28, 2014. Congratulations for this well-deserved honor, Brent!

Heather Mattie Wins Teaching Award
Doctoral student Heather Mattie was selected to be a recipient of an HSPH Teaching Assistant Recognition Award. Her selection was based on the excellent reviews of her teaching submitted by students in their course evaluations which were reviewed by a committee of students and faculty. Congratulations to Heather for this recognition of her hard work!

Abhishek Chakrabortty Wins a 2014 Joshua E. Neimark Memorial Travel Assistance Award
Doctoral student Abhishek Chakrabortty has been selected to receive a Joshua E. Neimark Memorial Travel Assistance Award to attend the 2014 AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL in February 2014. Congratulations for this well-deserved honor, Abhishek!

Ian Barnett wins 2014 ENAR Distinguished Student Paper Award
Doctoral student Ian Barnett has been selected to receive one of the International Biometric Society's Eastern North American Region (ENAR) Distinguished Student Paper Awards for the 2014 ENAR Spring Meetings in Baltimore, MD. The award recognizes his paper entitled: "The Generalized Higher Criticism for Testing SNP-sets in Genetic Association Studies," co-authored by his dissertation advisor Xihong Lin. Congratulations to Ian!

Alumnus Peter Park Is Part of New Cancer Study
"HMS researchers believe they can now explain why cancer cells contain many more chromosome abnormalities than healthy cells." See the full story here.

Doctoral Student Kevin Rader Wins Teaching Fellow Award
Somewhere around 1,400 GSAS students serve as teaching fellows in Harvard classrooms every year. In recognition of the central role that they play in the University's undergraduate teaching mission, the Graduate School joins annually with the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning to present the Derek C. Bok Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching of Undergraduates...."To his peers and faculty colleagues in the Department of Statistics, Kevin Rader is an exemplary, influential teacher whose enthusiasm and dedication are apparent every day." Congratulations for this honor, Kevin!

JP Onnela wins NIH Director's New Innovator Award
Jukka-Pekka "JP" Onnela, assistant professor of biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health, has won a prestigious Director's New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a proposal to collect and analyze cell phone communication and sensor data to monitor social and behavioral functioning of individuals with mood disorders. One of 41 scientists around the country receiving the award in 2013, Onnela will receive $1.5 million over the course of five years. Congratulations for this honor, JP!

Nakul Singh Wins Rose Traveling Fellowship
The Department of Biostatistics is delighted to announce that Biostatistics Master's student, Nakul Singh, won a Rose Traveling Fellowship to spend 7 weeks in India in Summer 2013. He worked on a project that estimated the prevalence of blindness in tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh with the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India. He also shadowed the field epidemiology team as they collected data in the villages for a similar study. Congratulations for this honor, Nakul!

2013 Harvard Award in Psychiatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics
The Department of Biostatistics is delighted to announce that Dr. Don Guthrie, Professor of Psychiatry and Biostatistics (Emeritus) at UCLA, is this year's recipient of the Harvard Award in Psychiatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics. The award recognizes Professor Guthrie's lifelong career contributions that have significantly advanced the field of Psychiatric Biostatistics. Professor Guthrie will present the award lecture at the Harvard School of Public Health during the 2013 Fall Semester (date to be announced).

Alumnus Nicholas Horton '99 Takes New Position at Amherst College
Nick has started a new position as Professor of Statistics at Amherst College. In his own words: "I've just started a new position as Professor of Statistics at Amherst College, and will be heading across the Connecticut River this summer. I'm excited about joining two junior colleagues to help build a statistics program. While I'll miss my colleagues at Smith, I will be continuing to interact with them through the Five College Statistics Program (which also includes alums Raji Balasubramanian '2002 and Andrea Foulkes '2000).

I've also taken on the leadership of an American Statistical Association Presidential Initiative to update the guidelines for undergraduate programs in statistics. The existing guidelines (from 2000) have served the community well, but in a world increasingly awash in data, some adjustments are needed. More details and a survey can be found at http://www.amstat.org/education/curriculumguidelines.cfm." Please join us in wishing Nick well in his new role.

Jesse Berlin, SD '88 to Receive Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award
The department is very pleased to announce that Dr. Jesse Berlin will be this year's recipient of the annual Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Berlin will be presented with the award and will deliver a lecture on October 31st, preceding the kickoff of the 2013 HSPH Alumni Weekend and the Annual Meeting of the APHA in Boston.

Biostatistics Reception at JSM – 8/6/2013
Please join us on Tuesday, August 6th, from 6:00 to 7:30pm at the Westin Montréal in the Palais Room for a reception to gather past and present members of the Department. This will be a great opportunity to connect with the Biostatistics network while at JSM.

White House: Dana-Farber's Quackenbush a 'Champion of Change'
The Obama administration honored John Quackenbush, PhD, director of the Center for Cancer Computational Biology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, for his contributions to making large and complex sets of biological data widely accessible to the larger research community.

In a White House ceremony on Thursday, June 20, 1 p.m., Quackenbush and 12 other scientists and entrepreneurs were recognized as Open Science Champions of Change for their work to promote, and make a reality, the open sharing of scientific data. This exchange of research findings, according to the Obama administration, expedites scientific innovation.

For more information, click here.

Alumnus Ping Hu Wins NIH Director's Award
The department is very pleased to announce that Dr. Ping Hu '96 accepted one of the NIH Director's Awards at the 2013 NIH Director's Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. Members of her group "NIH Working Group for the US-China Biomedical Research Cooperation Program" were given the award to recognize for the extraordinary efforts of individuals from multiple NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices in creating an innovative program to foster US-China biomedical research cooperation. Congratulations for this honor, Ping!

Congratulations Graduates!
The Department of Biostatistics would like to offer their congratulations and best wishes to our students who graduated in the 2013 Spring Commencement ceremony. Receiving a Doctorate of Philosophy degree were Matthew Cefalu, Andrew Correia, Ravi Goyal, Shuli Li, Dandi Qiao, Alejandro Quiroz Zarate, Brian Sharkey, Jennifer Sinnott, David Swanson, Linda Valeri, Krista Watts, and Richard White. Receiving a Master of Science degree were Craig Bielski, Yan Dong, M. Edip Gurol, Chuan-Chin Huang, James Kaminski, Fei Li, Shu-Yi Liao, Lin Liu, Expeditho Mtisi, Dale Myers, Hyung Gyu Park, Dustin Rabideau, Donghoon Shin, Chung Chi Wu, and Mark Wymer. Joseph Antonelli, Abhishek Chakrabortty, Shelley Liu, Heather Mattie, Emma Schwager, Yuanyuan Shen, Patrick Staples, BaoLuo Sun, and Godwin Yung received Master of Arts degrees. We wish our graduates much success in the future!

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Xinyi Lin and Tamar Sofer Win IMS Awards
The department is proud to announce that doctoral student Xinyi (Cindy) Lin and postdoctoral fellow Tamar Sofer won 2013 Laha Travel Awards from the Institute of Mathematical Statistics to attend the Joint Statistical Meetings/IMS Annual Meeting. Cindy will give a talk on "Test for the Interaction between a Genetic Marker Set and Environment in Generalized Linear Models." Tamar will give a talk on "Variable Selection for High-Dimensional Multivariate Outcomes". Congratulations to you both!

Stacey Alexeeff Wins NSF PostDoctoral Research Fellowship
The department is proud to announce that doctoral student Stacey Alexeeff has won an NSF Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Each of the fellowships supports a research and training project at a host institution in the mathematical sciences, including applications to other disciplines, under the mentorship of a sponsoring scientist. The title of the project for this fellowship to Stacey Alexeeff is "Statistical Methodology for Modeling Big Data to Quantify the Effect of Climate Change on Air Pollution and Human Health, with a Focus on Model Uncertainty." The host institution for the fellowship is the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the sponsoring scientist is Dr. Stephan Sain. Stacey will be going to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO to study climate change and will be mentored by Dr. Doug Nychka and Dr. Steve Sain. Congratulations, Stacey!

Natalie Exner Wins ASA Edward C. Bryant Scholarship
The department is proud to announce that doctoral student Natalie Exner has won the ASA Edward C. Bryant Scholarship for an Outstanding Graduate Student in Survey Statistics for 2013. Westat established the Edward C. Bryant Scholarship Trust Fund in 1995 to honor its cofounder and chair emeritus. Natalie also received an honorable mention in the 2013 ASA Gertrude M. Cox Scholarship Award. Natalie will be recognized for her achievements at the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings in Montreal in early August. Hearty congratulations to Natalie!

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Last Update: October 6, 2014