1994-95 Review

by Dr. Nan Laird, Chair

Department of Biostatistics, HSPH

This year has been a record breaking one for the Department. We had a record number of 17 new students entering the doctoral program this year; our previous record was in 1992 when 11 new students entered the doctoral program. We also had a record number of attendees for our third annual Harvard Biostatistics-Schering Plough Workshop held on June 1-2. This year's theme was handling multiple outcomes in clinical trials. We sponsored our first workshop at Pfizer in December on Methods for Outcomes and Pharma-coeconomic Research. The workshop was organized by Marcia Testa; other speakers were Alex Walker (Epidemiology) and David Paltiel (Health Policy and Management). A second workshop is planned for this fall.

We are pleased to announce the formation of a new partnership with Genetics Institute, a biotech pharmaceutical company located in Cambridge. Funds provided by the partnership will be used for student support.

In a year punctuated by many exciting events, the visit to the Department by our School's Visiting Committee took center stage. Each year Dean Fineberg convenes two or three subcommittees of the School's Visiting Committee to review the activities of specific departments or programs. The purpose of these meetings is to give the committee a more comprehensive understanding of different programs and departments and to gain advocates for special programs. The Subcommittee consisted of three members of the School's Visiting Committee: Bugs Baer (Chair), Prudence Crozier and Mitchell Dong, and three 'outside' experts: Mitchell Gail, Alice Whittemore and Scott Zeger. The last visit to the Department took place eleven years ago, so it was a good time for us to take stock of where we have been and where we are headed.

In preparation for the visit, the Department revised its five year academic plan to set goals for the next five years, taking us into the year 2000. Our doctoral program continues to be our first priority, but next year the Department will also consider the possibility of offering a terminal Master's degree. Other issues discussed with the Visiting Committee concerned faculty development for junior faculty in the Department and mechanisms for creating diversity in our research agenda. Our preliminary feedback from the Committee is very positive, and we are all looking forward to their report.

This year has been marked by many faculty coming and going. We had three new faculty join us this past fall. Joe Ibrahim came to us from Northern Illinois University where he was a faculty member in the Statistics Department. His Ph.D. is from the University of Minnesota, and his major research interests include missing data in covariates and Bayesian methods. Joe is working at the Dana Farber. Ian Marschner comes from La Trobe University in Australia where he was a Lecturer for four years after completing his Ph.D. His major research interests include methodology for monitoring and predicting the HIV/AIDS epidemic and statistical methods for age- and time-specific disease incidence. Rebecca Betensky comes to us from Stanford, following a one-year stay at Northwestern University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Statistics. Rebecca's major research interest is sequential analysis. Ian and Rebecca are working with the Statistics and Data Analysis Center for the ACTG.

The Department also had several new secondary appointments this year. Bob Glynn, an Associate Professor in the Medical School, and Mei-Ling Lee, an Assistant Professor in the Medical School, have both just been appointed to the faculty in our Department. Bob Glynn was a graduate of our Department in 1985 and now works at the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Mei-Ling Lee works in the Channing Lab at the Medical School.

Two faculty have left this year. Constantine Gatsonis left us to become Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health at Brown University where he will head the Center for Statistical Sciences. He also persuaded two of our graduating students to join him as assistant professors: Myra Kim and Joe Hogan.

Fortunately for us, Constantine will continue as an Adjunct faculty member. KyungMann Kim is leaving this summer to become Director of Biostatistics at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. He will also be Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at University of Michigan. We will miss both Constantine and KyungMann and wish them well.

Louise Ryan was promoted to full professor this year, and four assistant professors were promoted from assistant to associate professor: Michael Hughes, Stuart Lipsitz, Andrea Rotnitzky, and David Wypij. Congratulations to each of you!

This year marks my fifth year as Department Chair. On July 1, I will begin a year-long sabbatical. We extend a warm welcome to Marcello Pagano, who will serve as Acting Chair in my absence. During the year I plan to split my time between the Statistics Department in Arts and Sciences and several academic and commercial centers in the area engaged in genetics research.

Last modified $Date: 1995/09/14 13:38:57 $ by Ribika Moses