The Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award

This Year’s Winner

Andrea FoulkesWe are extremely pleased to announce that alumna Andrea S. Foulkes, ScD ’00 will be the recipient of the 2022 Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award!

Dr. Foulkes is scheduled to give an in-person lecture on:

Thursday, October 13, 2022
4:00pm – Kresge 502
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
(also available via Zoom – contact for info)

Dr. Foulkes’ talk will be on: Biostatistics and Infectious Disease Research: New Challenges in the Prevention and Treatment of Long-COVIDFor the past four decades, owing in large part to Dr. Steve Lagakos’ pioneering vision and leadership with the establishment of the Center for Biostatistics and AIDS Research (CBAR), Biostatisticians have guided the advancement of infectious disease research and led the development of novel and effective prevention and treatment strategies for individuals with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, influenza, and anti-biotic resistant bacterial infections. In the past two years, as the world has been swept by the COVID-19 pandemic and “big data” resources are now ubiquitous, the critical role of Biostatisticians in shaping robust research efforts and implementing principled analytic strategies is perhaps even more evident. In this talk, I discuss my role as the PI of the Data Resource Core for the Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) project and highlight some of the specific statistical challenges in the study of Post-Acute Sequalae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC). Among SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals, we have seen the emergence of a subset of patients with persistent symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, anxiety, and depression lasting in duration from several months to years. These symptoms, collectively known as PASC, or “long-COVID”, manifest differently across patient groups, wax and wane over time, and range from mild to incapacitating, with profound effects on quality of life. At the same time, the rapid materialization of large-scale observational data, particularly through RECOVER and electronic health record resources, has generated enormous opportunity for novel discovery and enhanced clinical decision-making tools that could lead to effective prevention strategies and improved outcomes for individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2. The statistical challenges inherent in effectively and appropriately leveraging these novel data resources and the specific challenges of studying PASC are numerous, and Biostatisticians will continue to have a central and indispensable role to play in the coming years to ensure efficient research and robust findings in SARS-CoV-2/PASC clinical research.

Dr. Foulkes has distinguished herself as a preeminent leader in the advancement of statistical science. Over the course of her career she has had a major impact on the field, both as an internationally recognized researcher and scholar and as a talented and dedicated teacher and mentor.

Dr. Foulkes’ is an established investigator with an extensive track record in biostatistical methods research aimed at addressing emerging data challenges and critical questions in translational medicine. Her research includes methods for high-dimensional molecular and cellular data and measures of disease progression with applications in inflammatory disease, cardio-metabolic disease and HIV/AIDS. She has been the recipient on an R-01 on methods for high-dimensional data in HIV/CVD research and has published over 18 papers in the field of HIV research. She currently has an ongoing R-01 grant from the NIH on methods for integrated analysis of multi-level omics data.

After being recruited to be the Director of the Biostatistics Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Dr. Foulkes has quickly emerged as one of the most impactful leaders within the MGH Research Institute. She recently obtained a $40M grant from the NIH to study Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 Infection. While at MGH, she has been praised for her vision, her knowledge, her leadership skills, and her ability to continue the long tradition of leading impactful trans-disciplinary collaborations with clinical investigators, while expanding in strategic areas of “big data” science including precision medicine applications.

In addition to her methods research in biostatistics, one of Dr. Foulkes’ most impactful contributions is her acclaimed graduate-level textbook “Applied Statistical Genetics with R” in 2009 for Springer’s UseR! Series, which has over 30,000 chapter downloads. Dr. Foulkes was lead senior author on a Statistics in Medicine tutorial entitled “A guide to genome-wide association analysis and post-analytic interrogation”, which is consistently one of the most accessed Statistics in Medicine manuscripts. She has also led the development of open-source, freely available instructional and computational resources. The companion website for Open Resources in Statistical Genomics aims to further facilitate statistical learning in the free, open-source R computing environment through easily accessible tutorials, well documented code, and descriptions of methods and bioinformatics resources that are commonly used in practice. Andrea’s leadership in the realm of open-access educational materials in statistical genomics, has undoubtedly had a substantial impact on best statistical practice, particularly on the application of sound statistical principles, in this rapidly emerging field over the past decade.

In addition to her commitment to education, Dr. Foulkes has played a pivotal role as a mentor- guiding over 20 MS and PhD level graduate students and serving as primary mentor to four post-doctoral research fellows in Biostatistic. She has been equally engaged with undergraduate students, particular mentoring underrepresented groups in STEM, and supporting women in launching careers in the statistical sciences.

Dr. Foulkes is a wonderful representative of this award which honors the legacy of Dr. Stephen Lagakos and is a true reflection of the vital spirit Steve brought to the field. Quoted by one of her nominators, there is “no better person to embody Professor Lagakos’ qualities of commitment, passion, intellectual brilliance, and personal generosity.”

Dr. Foulkes joined the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health after receiving her BA in Mathematics from Brown University. After receiving her doctorate in 2000 under the direction of Dr. Victor DeGruttola, Dr. Foulkes stayed as a postdoctoral research fellow to continue her work in HIV genetics. She served on the faculty and as Department Chair in the Five Colleges of Western Massachusetts for 15 years prior to returning to Harvard/MGH in 2019. She is currently Director of Biostatistics at Massachusetts General Hospital, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.



About the Award

The annual Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award has been established in memory of Dr. Stephen Lagakos, a faculty member and former chair of the Department of Biostatistics who passed away in a tragic automobile accident in 2009.

Professor Lagakos was a leader in the Department, the School of Public Health, and more broadly, in the international community of quantitative biomedical researchers. Steve’s qualities of commitment, passion, intellectual brilliance, and personal generosity had a direct personal impact on our lives; and his contributions to biostatistics and to AIDS research were fundamental.

This award serves to honor Steve’s distinguished career, and to recognize Department alumni whose research in statistical theory and application, leadership in biomedical research, and commitment to teaching have had a major impact on the theory and practice of statistical science.  The award will be open to all who have an earned degree through the department, regardless of length of time since graduation or type of degree.

The award recipient will be invited to the school to deliver a lecture on their career and life beyond the Department.


Nominations are welcome for next year’s award, to be given in October 2022.

Please send nominations via email

Nominations should include contact information for yourself and your candidate, and the candidate’s curriculum vita, if available. Please include a letter describing the contributions of the candidate, specifically highlighting the criteria for the award. Supporting letters and materials would be extremely helpful to the committee, but are not required.

Nominations must be received by Friday, July 15, 2022.

Previous Award Winners

2021  Scarlett Bellamy
2020 Joseph Hogan
2019  Fong Wang Clow
2018  Amy Herring
2017  Nicholas Horton
2016  Judith Goldberg
2015  Victor DeGruttola
2014  Michael Daniels
2013  Jesse Berlin
2012  Melissa Begg
– renamed The Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award –
2011  Manning Feinleib
2010  Daniel Scharfstein
2009  John Simes
2008  Robert Strawderman
2007  Takeuchi Masahiro
2006  Daniel Siegel
2005  Christl Donnelly
2004  Stuart Baker