We are extremely pleased to announce that alumna Rui Wang, PhD ’08, Associate Professor of Population Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, will be the recipient of the 2023 Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award! Dr. Rui Wang is scheduled to give an in-person lecture at the Harvard Chan School on Thursday, October 19, 2023 in Kresge G03 at 4:00 PM.
Dr. Wang has distinguished herself not only by her intellectual ability, but in terms of the depth of knowledge she brings to her research area, her dedication to her work, and her deep engagement with public health. Her commitment and passion for biostatistical endeavors shine through her research and professional interactions, and her spirit, humor, care, and compassion have positively influenced many of her colleagues.After receiving her BS in Mathematics from Beijing University, Dr. Wang came to Harvard to obtain a PhD in Biostatistics. Under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Lagakos, she wrote a dissertation on Nonparametric Methods for Inference After Variable Selection, Comparisons of Survival Distributions, and Random Effects Meta-Analysis, and Reporting of Subgroup Analyse. After graduating she continued developing expertise in theoretical statistics to work on problems related to HIV/AIDS. With Dr. Lagakos she published work on estimating HIV incidence and problems related to permutation inference with applications to HIV/AIDS trials. Dr. Wang began collaborating on the design and analysis of the Botswana Combination Prevention Project (BCPP), which fueled her interest in cluster randomized trials (CRTs). She completed an NIH R01 grant on robust estimation of the intraclass correlation coefficient, and advised a number of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows on the design and analysis of CRTs. Additionally, she studied methods to model HIV viral load trajectories to allow identification of post-treatment viral controllers, influencing the ultimate design of HIV cure trials. In addition to her work on HIV/AIDS, Dr. Wang has contributed to many other health care fields. From 2011 to 2016, she was Director of the Biostatistics Core in the Sleep Disorder and Cardiovascular Disease Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has worked on numerous sleep studies, including randomized trials to assess the impact of mild sleep disorder treatments in children and the impact of nocturnal oxygen on hospital admissions in adults with heart failure. Since 2017 she has served as Director of the Division of Biostatistics at the Department of Population Medicine (DPM) within the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. In this role she works on methods for profiling hospital performance, as well as infrastructure to facilitate multi-site studies, including CRTs, within the health care system. In this role, she has demonstrated an impressive commitment to teaching and mentorship, leading a sizeable group of faculty, staff, research fellows, and students who provide statistical guidance and expertise for investigators involved in innovative clinical research. She has become a highly productive scholar not only because of her own creativity, technical skill, and dedication, but also due to the efforts of this superb group of mentees. Throughout her career, Dr. Wang has worked on projects ranging from methods for the monitoring of ongoing cluster randomized trials to semiparametric methods for the analysis of cluster randomized trials subject to missing data. Beyond these topics, she has made her mark both as a highly successful collaborative biostatistician as well as an outstanding methodologist with an international reputation in post-model selection inference, nonparametric inference in random effects models, subgroup analysis in randomized trials and cross-sectional estimation of HIV incidence. But Dr. Wang’s focus goes well beyond handling the statistical issues that arise in research, extending to all aspects of clinical or observational research projects that impact the ability to produce reliable and reproducible results. Her methodological work stands out particularly because it advances knowledge in statistical theory and has an immediate impact on statistical practice. For example, her New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) paper coauthored with Dr. Lagakos on subgroup analysis not only assesses the quality of subgroup analysis reporting in papers published by the journal, but also provides a set of explicit guidelines for subgroup analyses reporting, standards which have been adopted by the NEJM since 2007. In summary, Dr. Wang has consistently maintained the highest standards of professional achievement and personal integrity when working with administrators, students, and collaborators-whether clinical or quantitative. From her achievements in methods and collaborative research to her roles as group supervisor and mentor, Dr. Wang has demonstrated outstanding leadership and engagement –not only in biostatistics but also more broadly in education and public health.