Promotions: We celebrated promotions to full professor for two of our faculty this spring: Professor of Computational Biology Franziska Michor and Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiologic Methods Eric Tchetgen Tchetgen (PhD ‘06). Congratulations!
As described by Dean Hunter, Dr. Michor brings an evolutionary biology perspective to cancer research, and uses techniques from applied mathematics, computational biology, and biostatistics to answer questions such as: Which genetic and epigenetic alterations cause cancer? How, where and in what order do oncogenic alterations arise? What options do we have for stopping or slowing down cancer progression?
Dr. Michor’s mathematical models can generate important hypotheses that can be validated in mice or in the clinic, and thus have great translational potential. As a result, her work has received attention both in the mathematical modeling and oncology fields. Her research has led to two clinical trials of the timing of chemotherapy which are ongoing and several more in preparation. If validated in the clinical trials, these studies will be of direct benefit to cancer patients. Dr. Michor focuses on real world situations where modeling is most likely to affect treatment decisions, such as radiation dosage (glioblastoma), drug delivery (lung cancer and CML), and risk prediction (ovarian cancer).
Dr. Michor’s success in using mathematical modeling to predict optimum delivery schedules of cancer therapies was featured in a recent interview in Nature Medicine. Her lab is home to a number of studies that have been published in high profile general science journals, such as Nature, Cell, and PNAS, in widely read clinical journals, such as the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and elite theoretical journals, such as the Journal of Theoretical Biology.
Dr. Michor received her undergraduate degree at the University of Vienna then studied medical biotechnology at the Universita degli Studi di Trieste in Italy before coming to the United States to investigate theoretical biology at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Dr. Michor then pursued her interest in computational biology at Harvard’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, earning her doctoral degree after only three years. Following this, Dr. Michor was appointed a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. She then began work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as an assistant professor and was subsequently appointed adjunct assistant professor, biomedical sciences, at Cornell Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Dr. Michor joined the School in 2010 as associate professor of biostatistics and computational biology in the Department of Biostatistics, with a joint appointment in the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She was honored as the second annual Alice Hamilton Award recipient in 2012 in recognition of her path-breaking work applying evolutionary theory to cancer.
Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen’s research has focused on the development of semiparametric theory to provide flexible statistical methods for designing and analyzing both observational and imperfect experimental studies. His work has been influential in the statistical areas of causal inference, selection bias and missing data, and the study of gene-environment interaction. Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen has also made significant contributions to the growing area of estimation of causal effects in the presence of interference, which has relevance in infectious disease prevention as well as in neighborhood studies. Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen’s recent collaborations have resulted in new highly efficient and robust methodology to understand direct and indirect effects in the context of public health interventions. Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen is not only a leading theoretical statistician but his methodological developments have been inspired by real world collaborations and applications in HIV research, neighborhood health effects and perinatal epidemiology.
In addition to his research accomplishments, Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen’s service to the statistical profession has been extensive both nationally and internationally. Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen is an editorial board member of Biostatistics and Statistical Science, and the co-founder and co-editor of a new journal, Epidemiologic Methods. The journal is dedicated exclusively to methodology for epidemiologic research and serves as a forum for technical papers on epidemiologic methods and methodologic contributions focused on advancing and improving epidemiologic analysis. Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen has been a member of several study sections for NIH and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation. He has been a member of three NIH expert panels on quantitative methods and currently serves on the FDA’s Arthritis Advisory Committee.
Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen received his undergraduate degree from Yale University. He completed his PhD in the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2006. Having been awarded a Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, he completed his postdoctoral training in biostatistics and epidemiologic methods at the School. In 2008, Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen joined the School as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011. Also that year Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen co-authored a paper that won the Kenneth Rothman Epidemiology Prize, a prestigious award for outstanding originality, importance, clarity of thought, and excellence in writing, from the journal Epidemiology. Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen moved his primary affiliation to the Department of Biostatistics in 2012 while maintaining a joint appointment in the Department of Epidemiology. Also of note, Dr. Tchetgen Tchetgen was co-author of a paper which won the Society of Epidemiologic Research and American Journal of Epidemiology Article of the Year 2014.