2021 Annual Symposium

Pipelines Into Biostatistics Annual Symposium

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Thursday, July 15, 2021

Opening Remarks and Introductions
9:00 – 9:30am

Marcello Pagano
Professor of Statistical Computing and Principal Investigator, Harvard Chan School

John Quackenbush
Henry Pickering Walcott Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Chair, Department of Biostatistics, Harvard Chan School

Amarildo “Lilu” Barbosa
Chief Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Officer, Harvard Chan School

Keynote Speaker
9:30 – 10:30am

The Path. The Journey. And, What I’ve Learned Along the Way.

Loni Philip Tabb, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Drexel University

Summer Program Research Project Presentations

10:35 – 11:00am         Exploring the Role of Nutrition in Outcomes for Congenital Heart Surgery

Surgery to repair congenital heart defects in young children comes with a non-trivial risk of mortality, especially in newly established cardiac surgical programs in low to middle income countries (LMIC). An international registry collects data on pediatric cardiac surgical procedures performed in low resource environments with the goal of guiding quality improvement. We used the data collected in this registry over a 3-year period to estimate the prevalence of malnutrition, and to explore the extent to which poor nutrition contributes to in-hospital mortality and occurrence of major infections among children undergoing surgery in LMICs, after accounting for known risk factors such as age and surgical complexity. We explored the following three nutritional indicators as defined by the World Health Organization: wasting, stunting, and underweight. The analysis was conducted with logistic regression modelling and results were interpreted by the odds ratio. After conducting our analysis, we found that patients under five years of age who were classified as underweight or with stunting have a higher risk for mortality and getting a major infection post-surgery, compared to those classified without malnutrition indicators.
Anjola Adeyemo, Kennesaw State University ‘21
Raven Otero-Symphony, University of New Mexico ’22

Faculty Mentor: Kimberlee Gauvreau, Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics, HSPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, HMS
Graduate Student Mentor: Octavious Talbot, HSPH

11:05 – 11:30am         Analyzing the Effects of Vaccinations on Covid-19 and Variant Transmissibility

COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus that possesses high rates of transmissibility among the human population. For this research project, we investigated how COVID-19 cases change at varying degrees of vaccination rates from a global, country, and state-level perspective. Our purpose was to identify the percentage of people vaccinated needed to begin to see a drop in cases. A variant of the virus, Delta, has recently been reported as having a higher rate of transmissibility among vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals alike. After gathering data for Delta cases, we analyzed how these cases respond to vaccination rates and drew conclusions from our findings.

Elizabeth Chung, Ohio State University ‘22
Heriberto Lopez, Saint Olaf College ‘21
Andrea Nieves-Rivera, University of Puerto Rico ‘23
Alden Soto, University of Colorado Boulder ’23

Faculty Mentor: Rafael Irizarry, Professor of Biostatistics, DFCI, HSPH
Graduate Student Mentor: Luli Zou, HSPH

11:35 – 12:00pm       Regression Analysis to Explore the Effects of Phthalates Exposure on Gestational Age

Exposure to environmental agents through the recent manufacturing of industrial chemicals has been of significant concern for human health because of their consistent use in daily life activities. These toxins are a part of the prenatal exposome which encompasses the totality of interactions occurring during preconception and pregnancy. In a recent study, a group of chemical toxins called phthalates denoted a total reduction of gestational age. Furthermore, the cytochrome p450 pathway is involved in gestational age as a mediator of phthalate toxicity. A decrease in gestational age can lead to fetal health issues. Our group aimed to apply contemporary approaches for high-dimensional mediation analysis utilizing the LIFECODES pregnancy cohort, extend these approaches to use modern machine learning algorithms, review current literature, and compare findings.

Antonio Faneite, North Carolina Central University ‘21
Carla Ramos, University of Puerto Rico ‘22
Claudia Ramos, University of Puerto Rico ‘22
Nicholas Vasquez, California State University Monterey Bay ‘21

Faculty Mentor: Rajarshi Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Assistant Director of Graduate Studies, HSPH
Graduate Student Mentor: Sean McGrath, HSPH

12:00 – 12:45pm         Lunch Break

12:45 – 1:45pm            Journeys in Biostatistics Panel

Melody Goodman, Associate Dean for Research and Associate Professor of Biostatistics
New York University

DeJuran Richardson, Professor and Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science
Lake Forest College

Ula Widocki, Summer Program Alumni ’17,
PhD student in Network Science at Northeastern University

1:50 – 2:15pm            Exploring Factors Related to Cardiovascular Disease Risk in the U.S.

 Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), we examined the relationship of population demographics and cardiovascular disease risk factors. We performed exploratory data analysis and used a survey-weighted chi-squared test and latent class models to look at the six major risk factors. We believe that knowledge of how common these risk factors can be can contribute to understanding cardiovascular health in the United States.

Nicholas Arosemena, Morehouse College ‘22
Lindsay Salvati, Connecticut College ‘22
Kelly Yip, Stony Brook University ‘21

Faculty Mentor: Briana Stephenson, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, HSPH
Graduate Student Mentor: Jeanette Varela, HSPH

2:20 – 2:45pm       COPD and Concentrated Swine Feeding Operations in North Carolina

Concentrated swine feeding operations (CSFOs) are factory farms that raise and house pigs for meat production. CSFOs are a public health concern due to the large amount of manure they produce that releases pollutants and affects nearby communities. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that restricts airflow from the lungs. In North Carolina, chronic lower respiratory diseases, including COPD, are the fourth leading cause of death. Using census, health, and animal permits data from North Carolina, the second-largest pork-producing state in the United States, we performed exploratory data analysis to identify variables of interest. Then, using linear and general additive models, we analyzed the relationship between CSFOs and COPD.

Alena Figueroa, University of Hawaii – West Oahu ‘21
Miracle Onyeoziri, University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth ‘22
D.J. Grant, George Mason University ‘22

Faculty Mentor: Rachel Nethery, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, HSPH
Graduate Mentor: Christina Howe, HSPH

2:45 – 3:00pm              Closing Remarks

Marcello Pagano
Professor of Statistical Computing and Principal Investigator, HSPH