Myrto Award

The Myrto Lefkopoulou Distinguished Lectureship

We are extremely pleased to announce that Dr. Stephanie Hicks, Associate Professor of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University, will be the recipient of the 2023 Myrto Lefkopoulou Distinguished Lectureship!

Dr. Stephanie Hicks is scheduled to give an in-person lecture at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on Thursday, September 21, 2023 in Kresge G3 at 4:00 PM


Problem-forward Statistics and Data Science to Improve Human Health 

With unprecedented and growing interest in data science, much debate and discussion has occurred around what role the field of (bio)statistics should play and how to get involved. One area where applied statisticians have led with great success is in genomics where they have made key contributions to genomics broadly applicable to human health and disease. A major reason for this success is summarized in the following phrase: “problem first, rather than solution backwards”. In this talk, I will briefly introduce this problem-forward research philosophy with examples from my own research contributions to statistical genomics and biomedical data science. Specifically, I will introduce single-cell and spatial genomic technologies and discuss unique challenges of these data that have required the development of specialized methods and software infrastructure to successfully derive biological insights. Finally, I will discuss open challenges in data science education including contributions I have made on how to incorporate more real-world problems and data into the curriculum.


Dr. Stephanie Hicks has established herself as a globally recognized statistician working at the intersection of genomics and biomedical data science, with a strong personal commitment to collaboration and an unparalleled dedication to excellence. Her research addresses statistical and computational challenges in single-cell genomics, epigenomics, and spatial transcriptomics leading to an improved understanding of human health and disease.

Dr. Hicks is currently an Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a faculty member in the Johns Hopkins Data Science Lab, as well as an affiliated faculty with the School’s Bloomberg American Health Initiative and elected associate of the Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare. She received her BS in Mathematics from LSU and her MA and PhD from the Department of Statistics at Rice University under the direction of Marek Kimmel and Sharon Plon. She completed her postdoctoral training with Rafael Irizarry in the Department of Data Science at Dana- Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health.

Through her research, innovative educational practices, and professional service, Dr. Hicks has made exceptional achievements in the fields of statistics and data science. She is a leading expert in methods for statistical genomics, developing fast and scalable computational methods and open-source software for biomedical data analysis.

Dr. Hicks has also been an outstanding citizen for the professional community at large, acting as a firm advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her passion and creativity for data science education are demonstrated in a number of diverse venues from the classroom to her work as a podcast host, a member of the Editorial Board for Genome Biology, an Associate Editor for Reproducibility at the Journal of the American Statistical Association, and a co-founder of R-Ladies Baltimore.

The value and originality of Dr. Hicks’ work have been recognized through her papers in prominent journals in the field, and through a variety of professional awards including the Teaching in the Health Sciences Young Investigator Award from the American Statistical Association (ASA), a COPSS Emerging Leader Award in 2021 (COPSS=Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies), a Bloomberg American Health Initiative High Impact Project Award, and a highly competitive Pathway to Independence Award from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the NIH.

Dr. Stephanie Hicks truly represents the essence of this award which honors the legacy of Dr. Myrto Lefkopoulou. We look forward to honoring her and continuing to follow her outstanding career.

About the Award

myrtoThe Myrto Lefkopoulou Distinguished Lectureship was established in perpetuity in memory of Dr. Myrto Lefkopoulou, a faculty member and graduate of Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Lefkopoulou tragically died of cancer in 1992 at the age of 34 after a courageous two-year battle. She was deeply beloved by friends, students, and faculty.

Each year the lectureship is awarded to a promising statistician who has made contributions to either collaborative or methodologic research in the applications of statistical methods to biology or medicine, and/or who has shown excellence in the teaching of biostatistics. Ordinarily, the lectureship is given to a statistician who has earned a doctorate in the last fifteen years. The lecture is presented to a general scientific audience as the first Department colloquium of each academic year. The lectureship includes travel to Boston, a reception following the lecture, and an honorarium of $1000.



Nominations are welcome for next year’s award, to be given in September 2023.

Please send nominations via email

Nominations should include a letter describing the contributions of the candidate, specifically highlighting the criteria for the award, and a curriculum vita. An other supporting materials would be extremely helpful to the committee.

All nominations must be received by Friday, July 21, 2023.

Past Recipients

2022 Jeffery T. Leek
2021  Antonio Gasparrini
2020  Eric Tchetgen Tchetgen
2019  Veera Baladandayuthapani
2018  Elizabeth Stuart
2017  Ciprian Crainiceanu
2016  Mahlet Tadesse
2015  Debashis Ghosh
2014  Tianxi Cai
2013  Nilanjan Chatterjee
2012  Rafael Irizarry
2011  Jeffrey Morris
2010  David Dunson
2009  Xihong Lin
2008  Heping Zhang
2007  Francesca Dominici
2006  Jianqing Fan
2005  Mark van der Laan
2004  Geert Molenberghs
2003  Marie Davidian
2002  Danyu Lin
2001  Bradley P. Carlin
2000  Steven N. Goodman
1999  Giovanni Parmigianni
1998  Kathryn Roeder
1997  Ronald S. Brookmeyer
1996  Trevor J. Hastie
1995  Hans-George Mueller
1994  Michael L. Boehnke
1993  Louise Ryan