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DEPARTMENT WELCOMES NEW FACULTY MEMBERS
by Cyrus Mehta

One of the reasons we are such a strong Department is our ability to attract talented new faculty members year after year. We were extraordinarily fortunate in our recruiting efforts last year and have added nine new members, representing six countries and a broad range of research interests, to our faculty roster. A big welcome to Sudeshna Adak, Garrett Fitzmaurice, Peter Gilbert, Neil Klar, Katherine Lunetta, Michael Stoto, Florin Vaida, Matthew Wand, and Lily Xu. Thanks for joining us.

Sudeshna Adak, Assistant Professor. Sudeshna Adak grew up in Calcutta and got her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Statistics from the Indian Statistical Institute. She went on for a Ph.D. at Stanford working on the problem of nonstationary time series. After a one-year postdoctoral position at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute she joined the Department of Biostatistics. She has research interests in time series, image processing, Bayesian methods and longitudinal data. Her husband, who teaches at MIT, is also a statistician with degrees from the Indian Statistical Institute and Stanford. Sudeshna's adjusting to the snow after spending all her life in warm places like Calcutta and Palo Alto. We hope New England will grow on her.

Garrett Fitzmaurice, Assistant Professor. Garrett Fitzmaurice, originally from Ireland, is a former student in the Department. He graduated in 1993 and stayed on in the Department for 18 months as a postdoctoral fellow in Psychiatric Biostatistics. Thereafter, he spent three years as a Research Fellow at Nuffield College (Oxford University, UK). At Nuffield College he collaborated with a number of statisticians, Sir David Cox and Dr. David Firth, and sociologists, Professors John Goldthorpe and Anthony Heath, working on extending statistical methods to a number of large and complex datasets in the social sciences. Since returning to Boston in the fall, Garrett has been kept busy with teaching Applied Longitudinal Analysis and with research activities in a number of areas, including methods for analyzing discrete longitudinal data, models for mixed discrete and continuous outcomes, general missing data problems, and problems in psychiatric biostatistics. Garrett has thoroughly enjoyed his first year as a junior faculty member in the Department, revisiting many of his old haunts from his student days in Boston. Unquestionably, the high point of the year for Garrett has been the birth of his first child, Kieran, born on May 27, 1998. Congratulations, Garrett and Laura!

Peter Gilbert, Assistant Professor. Peter Gilbert was born in Washington state and studied mathematics and biostatistics at the University of Washington, Seattle. His current research activities center on issues in the design and analysis of HIV preventive vaccine efficacy trials and of AIDS antiretroviral trials, with a focus on the impact of the genotypic and phenotypic diversity of HIV. He especially enjoys collaborating with the Harvard AIDS Institute on international efforts to develop vaccines and treatments in Botswana and Thailand. In his free time Peter enjoys playing the piano and saxophone, being involved in Park Street Church, and playing a round of golf when time permits.

Neil Klar, Assistant Professor. Neil Klar's office is in the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He came to Boston in August of 1996 after completing postdoctoral studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. His time in Boston has been very rewarding. He is involved in a number of very exciting collaborative projects in cancer research including smoking cessation trials, trials comparing methods for obtaining informed consent, studies investigating methods for preventing second cancers, and surveys of oncologists conducted to identify barriers to patient accrual. His current methodological research is on methods for assessing and modeling agreement between raters. A particularly gratifying aspect of his position has been the opportunity it has afforded him to teach a new course designed for students pursuing graduate studies in biostatistics.

Katherine Lunetta, Assistant Professor. Katherine Lunetta received her Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan in 1996. Her area of interest is statistical genetics, particularly statistical methods for identifying genes for complex genetic traits. Last fall/winter she developed and taught a new course in statistical genetics and looks forward to being involved in the development of more courses in this area. She is very excited about the increasing interest in gene mapping among faculty and students at HSPH. Having grown up in small cities in the Midwest, Kathy and her husband are enjoying city life very much. They are also enjoying the fact that Boston is so close to their family's summer home in northern New Hampshire. The biggest news of all is that in February, they welcomed baby Claire into their family. Congratulations, Kathy and Mark!

Michael Stoto, Adjunct Lecturer. Although Mike Stoto is new to the Department of Biostatistics, his adjunct appointment is really a return to Harvard, where he studied in the Statistics Department with Fred Mosteller and Nan Laird, and later served on the faculty of the Kennedy School. Mike is in charge of the meta-analysis and research synthesis course in the summer session, and is delighted to be temporarily back in Boston (and away from the tropical Washington summer). In addition to making new and remaking old contacts, teaching the course is a great way for Mike to make academic use of some of the ideas that have originated from practical work at his regular job with the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences. At the Institute of Medicine, Mike has been the director of the Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention addressing a number of issues in public health such as health statistics, health promotion and disease prevention, vaccine safety and policy, environmental health, and AIDS.

Florin Vaida, Assistant Professor. Florin Vaida is from Romania and obtained a BS in Computer Science from the University of Bucharest in 1992. He received his Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Chicago. Florin's research interests focus on computational methods in statistics such as the EM algorithm, Markov chain Monte Carlo, and their application to complex statistical modelling, including generalized linear mixed models and linear mixed models for censored data. He has happily discovered that his research interests fit and complement the Department's strength and tradition in the analysis of longitudinal data. He is currently involved in some exciting work in statistical AIDS research. About living in Boston Florin says, "however, I've found that being at Harvard has its disadvantages: it is not easy to focus on work when you're in the most beautiful and lively city in the country! My goals for this year? To understand how anybody can afford the rent around here!"

Matthew Wand, Associate Professor. Matthew Wand is from Australia. He studied Mathematics as an undergraduate at the University of Wollongong and went on to receive a Ph.D. in Statistics from the Australian National University in Canberra. No newcomer to the United States, Matthew has worked in the Statistics Departments at Texas A&M and at Rice University. His most recent position was at the Australian Graduate School of Management in the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Matthew's current research interest is on generalized additive models and their extensions. In collaboration with Louise Ryan, he develops and applies such models to environmental problems. Matt and his wife Handan have just bought and moved into a new house in Melrose. The peace and quiet of their suburban neighborhood makes up only partially for having left Sydney, in their opinion the most beautiful city in the world.

Ronghui (Lily) Xu, Assistant Professor. Lily Xu studied Mathematics and spent five years at the University of California, San Diego before moving to Boston. Her methodological work has mainly been in survival analysis. Her first year in the Department was instructive. Having spent all her undergraduate and graduate years in a Mathematics Department, her biggest surprise was the diversity of our students and their range of interests. She especially enjoys going to a variety of seminars and talking to people about statistical or non-statistical matters. Lily and her husband live in Soldiers Field Park, on the Harvard Business School campus. They find it a great place for their children because the campus has a couple of playgrounds. They also love to walk across the river to Harvard Square for dining and bookshops. Lily says, "Many people have helped me on various occasions as a new member of the Department, and I am grateful to all of them."