Xihong Lin Named Recipient of the Prestigious Marvin Zelen Leadership Award in Statistical Science

Xihong Lin

We are extremely pleased to announce that internationally renowned biostatistician Dr. Xihong Lin, Professor of Biostatistics and Coordinating Director of the Program in Quantitative Genomics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of Statistics at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University, will be the recipient of the 2022 Marvin Zelen Leadership Award in Statistical Science and will deliver a virtual lecture in May 2022.

Described by colleagues as “a force of nature”, “a major star”, and “one of the most influential statistical scientists of our time”, Dr. Lin has distinguished herself as a world leader in statistical methods and applications who has dedicated her career to advancing biostatistics, medicine, and public health.

Dr. Lin’s research has evolved over the years, motivated by the pressing analytical needs in health research. Early in her career, she focused on statistical method development and applications for analysis of longitudinal data and complex observational studies. She became a leader in mixed models, nonparametric and semiparametric regression, missing data, and measurement error for analysis of longitudinal data, and causal inference for complex clinical trials. Later in her career her research shifted to statistical genetics and genomics, with her work becoming a hallmark in statistical methods for analysis of rare variants (RVs) in whole genome sequencing studies. She founded and has been the Coordinating Director of Harvard’s Program in Quantitative of Genomics (PQG) since 2008. Most recently, Dr. Lin has been on the forefront of COVID-19 research, becoming part of a team analyzing the first data out of Wuhan, China and the effectiveness of control measures. In addition to several other efforts, she is the PI of the HowWeFeel project that launched an app in spring 2020 to collect COVID-19 health and exposure data in US and other countries.

Dr. Lin has given back to the statistical and biostatistical community in immeasurable ways through her extraordinary service and leadership. She chaired the Harvard Biostatistics department from 2015-2018, helping to launch an MS program in Health Data Science, one of the first in the nation. As coordinating director of the Program in Quantitative Genomics (PQG), she will help organize its 16th conference later this year. She is the former Chair of the COPSS, and a former member of the Committee of Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS) of the National Academy of Science. She is the former Coordinating Editor of Biometrics, the founding co-editor of Statistics in Biosciences, and a former Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association and American Journal of Human Genetics.

Dr. Lin has trained 37 doctoral students as the primary dissertation advisor and 27 postdoctoral fellows, proving to be a dedicated educator, a generous mentor, and a role model throughout her career. She has always made the development and success of junior faculty and students a priority, particularly focusing on supporting women statisticians, and promoting inclusivity and equity. She has been described by her peers as a caring, supportive colleague who is always thinking about others rather than herself.

Through her groundbreaking research, countless initiatives and projects, and the community she has helped grow, Dr. Lin’s transformative ideas and innovative vision have moved the field forward. Reminiscent of the career of the late Marvin Zelen, and in the true spirit of the award, Dr. Lin has “contributed to the creation of an environment in which statistical science and its applications have flourished”.See website for more of Dr. Lin’s career highlights.