Dr. Bhramar Mukherjee to Receive the 2024 Marvin Zelen Leadership Award!

Marvin Zelen Leadership Award image

Bhramar MukherjeeDr. Mukherjee is one of the foremost statisticians working in key areas of statistical genetics and genetic epidemiology, with an expansive body of work that has helped to define the methodological landscape in statistical genetics.

Currently the John D. Kalbfleisch Distinguished University Professor of Biostatistics, Chair of the Biostatistics Department, and Assistant Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan, Dr. Mukherjee is also the Siobán D. Harlow Collegiate Professor of Public Health, and Professor of Epidemiology and Global Public Health at the University of Michigan. She serves as the Associate Director for Quantitative Data Sciences at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. In addition, she is an Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at the MRC Biostatistics Unit and an Overseas Fellow of the Churchill College of the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Mukherjee completed a Ph.D. in Statistics from Purdue University in 2001, receiving the Burr Award for outstanding doctoral student in 2001. She was Assistant Professor of Statistics at the University of Florida from 2002-2006, before joining the Biostatistics Department at Michigan. She was awarded the John G Searle Assistant Professorship in 2008 and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2009, and to Full Professor just four years later. She is currently in her eleventh year as a full professor and ninth year as a named Collegiate Professor. In 2018, she was appointed as the first female chair at the Department of Biostatistics, University of Michigan, a department that was founded in 1949. Her inspirational and visionary leadership at Michigan Biostatistics has positioned the department to thrive in the era of big data and data science.

Dr. Mukherjee is known for her work in case-control studies, gene-environment interaction, electronic health records, data integration and analysis of large-scale environmental exposure data.  Her work in statistical methodology shows an outstanding combination of breadth and depth, ranging from empirical Bayes methods and methods for shrinkage estimation, to Bayesian analysis of time series models, to methods for studying mediation and complex interactions, and causal inference. Her high-impact collaborations have included work in cancer, environmental health, and reproductive epidemiology, in addition to more recent work in infectious diseases. She has co-authored more than 380 published articles in prestigious statistics, biostatistics, epidemiology, and medical journals.

Among Dr. Mukherjee’s expansive portfolio of research, her contribution during the recent global pandemic deserves special mention. In the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Mukherjee founded the COVID-19 study group to model the virus outbreak in India. Comprising scholars at the University of Michigan, other US universities, and India, the focus of the study group was on modeling the effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions on the transmission of the virus in India.  The group used a compartmental epidemiologic model to track the virus curve and provide predictions that are updated daily.

Dr. Mukherjee has received many awards for her research in the professional world of statistics including the Gertrude Cox Award, the Adrienne Cupples Award, the Janet Norwood Award, and the Sacks Award. In 2022, she was elected to the US National Academy of Medicine, a rare achievement for a statistician.  Dr. Mukherjee is a much-sought speaker and has given over 300 invited talks on her research in the last 10 years. She has been particularly successful in obtaining research grants as principal investigator – serving as PI on nearly fifteen grants, including multiple statistical methodology grants from the NIH and the NSF. She has served as associate editor on eleven journals in statistics and epidemiology and participated in many NIH grant review panels.

Dr. Mukherjee has a remarkable record of leadership, particularly notable for her efforts to advance careers of women and underrepresented groups in statistics and data science, and to train the next generation of scholars. Dr. Mukherjee is the founding director (2015-present) of the University of Michigan’s Big Data Summer Institute for undergraduate trainees, a program supported by Rogel Cancer Center as well as an NIH R25 grant. To date, the Big Data Summer Institute has engaged and trained nearly 300 undergraduate students since it was launched; more than 50% of participants are women and more than 20% from underrepresented minority backgrounds.

The range, depth, and innovation of Dr. Mukherjee’s research contributions are exceptional among scholars in statistical science. Her exceptional work on the COVID-19 pandemic, her achievements in global health, her inspiring leadership at Michigan Biostatistics and her impactful statistical and epidemiological research, make her a worthy recipient for the Marvin Zelen Leadership Award. Most importantly, she is a dynamic and highly engaging scientist and a visionary leader who connects and builds communities, reflecting the spirit of Marvin Zelen.