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The joint Greater Data Science Cooperative Institute (GDSC) by UofR and Cornell funded by NSF

October 2019

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a three-year grant to establish a Greater Data Science Cooperative Institute (GDSC) jointly by the University of Rochester and Cornell University that combines shared expertise from electrical engineering, mathematics, statistics, and theoretical computer science.

The UR-Cornell GDSC is based on two founding tenets: that enduring advances in data science require combining techniques and viewpoints across electrical engineering, mathematics, statistics, and theoretical computer science; and, that data-science research must be grounded in an application domain.  The following cross-disciplinary research directions are proposed: (i) Topological Data Analysis; (ii) Data Representation; (iii) Network & Graph Learning; (iv) Decisions, Control & Dynamic Learning; and, (v) Diverse & Complex Modalities. Additional cross-disciplinary research aims including the following are also integrated throughout these five research directions: combinatorial inference; multiple areas in machine and deep learning; and broadening machine learning with tools from signal processing, information & control theory.

The UR-Cornell GDSC specifically aims to consider applications in medicine and healthcare, an important application domain that represents a major strength of the UR,  and one for which advances in data science can have a direct, positive impact on society.

Dr. Tong Tong Wu (co-PI) from the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology will work with Dr. Mujdat Cetin (PI at UofR) from the Goergen Institute for Data Science and Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. David Matteson (PI at Cornell) from the Dept. of Statistics and Data Science at Cornell, other co-PIs and faculty across both institutions to achieve the objectives of this new cooperative institute. Biostatistics faculty are anticipated to participate in foundational research efforts in several of the core areas, including data representation (e.g., through imaging and genomics); network and graph learning (e.g., through time-evolving networks); decisions, control and dynamic learning (e.g., through the study of dynamic treatment regimes); and diverse and complex modalities (e.g., through high-dimensional modeling without parametric structures).

Professor Sally W. Thurston named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association

April 2019

Sally Thurston profile pictureThe designation of ASA Fellow has been a significant honor for nearly 100 years where, under ASA bylaws, the Committee on Fellows can elect up to one-third of one percent of the total association membership as fellows each year. Selection for this honor is based on a nomination, letters of recommendation, and a positive vote of the Committee on Fellows. The honor is intended recognize statisticians with an established reputation that have made outstanding contributions to statistical science. Dr. Thurston is the 4th member of the current faculty to be honored as an ASA fellow, the others being Michael McDermott (2017), Robert Strawderman (2006), and David Oakes (1993).

NIH awards $3.8 million grant to reduce antibiotic overuse

February 2019

Professor Derick Peterson (Co-Investigator) and Ms. Andrea Baran (MS statistician) from the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology will continue their productive collaborations with Drs. Ann Falsey & Thomas Mariani (Co-PIs in Infectious Diseases and Pediatrics, respectfully) and Drs. Angela Branche and Edward Walsh (Co-Investigators in Infectious Diseases), supported by a new 5-year $3.8M NIH grant to reduce antibiotic overuse. The primary goal is to discriminate between bacterial and non-bacterial respiratory infection via high-dimensional gene expression profiling of blood. Such a diagnostic test would allow physicians to optimally manage patients with acute respiratory infections, which are a leading cause of antibiotic overuse and are linked to the rise of antibiotic resistant organisms. This grant builds upon prior research done as part of the NIH-funded Respiratory Pathogens Research Center (RPRC).

Prospective graduate students learn about our Master's and PhD programs

September 2018

The department’s Annual Open House for Prospective Graduate Students was held on September 29, 2018. This event provides students potentially interested in graduate study in biostatistics and statistics with an opportunity to learn about our programs, to meet with current students, faculty, and program alumni, and to gain some perspective on the many career opportunities this exciting field has to offer.

Students find summer opportunities across the United States

July 2018

Student standing outside the US FDAStudent standing in front of posterSummer is a popular time for students in the department to complete internships and travel to conferences. Internship sites this summer included AbbVie (biopharmaceuticals, Illinois), Ernst & Young (finance, New York), Travelers (insurance, Connecticut), Allergan (pharmaceuticals, California), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (federal agency, Maryland). Research was shared in presentations at the Society for Epidemiologic Research 51st Annual Meeting (Baltimore, MD), the Global Symposium of Innovation in Trauma Research Methods (Columbus, OH), and the Joint Statistical Meetings (Vancouver, Canada). We hope everyone has a fantastic summer!

$1 million grant awarded to Drs. Lamberti, Weisman, and Strawderman

May 2018

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to the University of Rochester Medical Center to evaluate Minnesota’s replication of the successful Rochester Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (R-FACT) program.

The R-FACT program was created 25 years ago by J. Steven Lamberti, M.D. and Robert L. Weisman, D.O., professors in the URMC Department of Psychiatry, to address high rates of arrest and incarceration of people with mental illness. Two years ago, officials in St. Paul and Minneapolis requested URMC’s expertise and began recreating the R-FACT model in their communities.

R-FACT has shown that strong collaboration between mental health and criminal justice professionals provides mentally ill individuals with more effective interventions, and ultimately reduces rates of criminal convictions, jail time, and hospitalizations by roughly 50 percent while doubling time in treatment compared to other programs.

The $1 million grant will allow Lamberti, Weisman, and Robert L. Strawderman, Sc.D., professor and chair of the URMC Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, to evaluate the effectiveness of R-FACT in the Midwestern cities.

Department recognized for supporting the Greater Rochester community

April 2018

During the annual fundraising campaign for the United Way of Greater Rochester, more than $1.4 million was donated to the charity by members of the University of Rochester. The Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology was recognized for its generous support and high participation rate by winning a pizza party during a "25% participation in 25 days" drawing held towards the start of the campaign. Sheryl Hennekey, a department secretary who serves as one of the campaign coordinators, also received a Shining Star award for her efforts and enthusiasm. We are proud to support this strong tradition of giving back to the community and helping those in need.

Professor Matthew McCall selected as an associate editor for the journal BiostatisticsBiostatistics journal

March 2018

Founded in 2000 by Scott L. Zeger and Peter J. Diggle, the objective of Biostatistics is to advance statistical science and its application to problems of human health and disease, with the ultimate goal of advancing the public's health. Biostatistics​ was the first journal to have a reproducibility policy and badge that could be earned for making a paper fully reproducible. Dr. McCall will join an editorial staff of approximately 40 associate editors and 2 co-editors.

Biometrics journalProfessor Brent Johnson selected as an associate editor for the journal Biometrics

March 2018

Biometrics is the flagship journal of the International Biometric Society and is published quarterly both electronically and in print by Wiley. The first issue was published in 1947. Dr. Johnson will join an editorial staff of some 80 associate editors worldwide, 3 co-editors, and 1 executive editor.

Valeriia Sherina receives the William Jackson Hall Graduate Student Fellowship Award

January 2018

PhD candidate Valeriia Sherina was named as the 2017-2018 recipient of the William Jackson Hall Graduate Student Fellowship Award. This merit-based fellowship intends to recognize one or more Statistics doctoral students in their last semester or year of study whose academic record reflects the major cornerstones of Professor Hall’s distinguished career.

Students earn the Master of Arts in Statistics

December 2017

Students Ting Yin and Ruyue Zhang completed all degree requirements for the terminal Master of Arts in Statistics degree at the end of the Fall 2017 semester. The degree requires satisfactory completion of 32 credits and a final comprehensive written exam. We wish Ruyue and Ting the best as they begin their careers!

Department members enjoy a cruise along the Genesee River

October 2017

Department faculty, staff, and students spent the evening of October 9, 2017 on an authentic paddle boat viewing the beautiful fall foliage along the Lower Genesee Valley Gorge. The cruise offered a great opportunity to spend time with colleagues and celebrate the new semester. The event also featured a delicious feast of barbecue foods.

Professor Zhengwu Zhang joins the Department of Biostatistics and Computational BiologyZhengwu Zhang

October 2017

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Zhengwu Zhang to the department. Dr. Zhang completed his PhD at Florida State University in 2015 and was recently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke University and the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Science Institute (SAMSI). His appointment as Assistant Professor began on October 1, 2017.

Professor Michael P. McDermott named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association

August 2017

It is a distinction only conferred upon one-third of one percent of the ASA’s membership. Dr. Michael McDermott was recognized as a Fellow at an awards ceremony held during the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM 2017) in Baltimore.

Students create The Rochester Data Science Society

April 2017

Shiyang Ma, a third-year doctoral student in the department, along with PhD students from the Health Services Research, Epidemiology, and Computer Science graduate programs have established The Rochester Data Science Society (RDSS). The mission of the RDSS is to enrich student understanding of how to use and manage data to solve complex problems while building bridges between students, alumni, industry, and Data Science Societies of neighboring universities. It is the first student organization at the University of Rochester for students interested in data science, statistics, computer science, engineering, health analytics, economics, and other related fields.

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