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Trainee Profiles

The Training in Environmental Health Biostatistics training grant has supported more than 25 predoctoral students and 15 postdoctoral fellows since it was awarded in 1992. Predoctoral trainees typically join the training grant during their third or fourth year in the Statistics PhD program and continue on the grant until graduation. Postdoctoral trainees are typically funded by the grant for one to three years.

Current Trainees

Sima Sharghi, Ph.D.

SharghiProfilePhotoEmail Sima

Appointment: October 2021 - Present

Primary T32 Mentor: Dr. Thurston

Research Focus: Air Pollution at Critical Periods of Gestation in Relation to Anogenital Distance: Observational and Causal Associations


Jonathan Klus, M.A., M.S.

KlusProfilePhotoEmail Jonathan

Appointment: June 2022 - Present

Research Committee: Dr. Thurston, others to be determined

Research Focus: Bayesian Infinite Mixture Models for Latent Exposures

Ricardo Lopez Candelaria, M.A., M.S.

LopezProfilePhotoEmail Ricardo

Appointment: July 2023 - Present

Research Committee: Dr. Qiu*, others to be determined

Research Focus: Functional Data Analysis and Parameter Estimation Methods for Systems of Linear Ordinary Differential Equations

David Skrill, M.A., M.M., M.S.

SkrillProfilePhotoEmail David

Appointment: September 2021 - Present

Research Committee: Drs. Norman-Haignere*, Qiu, Lalor, and Duan

Research Focus: Component-Encoding Models




Past Postdoctoral Trainees

Daniel Weller, Ph.D.

Weller profile photo

Appointment: June 2019 - August 2020

Primary T32 Mentors: Drs. Love and Thurston

Primary Research Project: Ecology and Clinical Impacts of Clinical and Microbial Contaminants in Food and Water

Initial Position Post-Training: Associate Service Fellow, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Omar Mbowe, Ph.D.


Appointment: January 2016 - June 2018

Primary T32 Mentor: Dr. Thurston

Primary Research Project: Impacts of BPA and Stress on Reproductive Outcomes, and Exposure Effects on Multiple Longitudinal Outcomes

Initial Position Post-Training: Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, University of Rochester

Jelani Wiltshire, Ph.D.

Trainee profile

Appointment: June 2011 - June 2014

Primary T32 Mentor: Dr. Oakes

Primary Research Project: Impact of Exposure to Ultrafine Particles on Cardiac Responses

Initial Position Post-Training: Quantitative Associate, Wells Fargo

Tanzy Love, Ph.D.


Appointment: June 2008 - May 2010

Primary T32 Mentors: Drs. Thurston and Oakes

Primary Research Project: Effect Modification Using Latent Mixture Analysis with Application to the Seychelles Child Development Study

Initial Position Post-Training: Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, University of Rochester

James Cavenaugh, Ph.D.

Appointment: June 2006 - May 2008

Primary T32 Mentor: Dr. Oakes

Primary Research Project: Analysis of Flow Cytometry Data

Initial Position Post-Training: Postdoctoral Researcher, Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, University of Rochester


Past Predoctoral Trainees

Luke Duttweiler, Ph.D.

DuttweilerProfilePhotoAppointment: July 2022 - June 2023

Research Committee: Drs. Almudevar*, Thurston*, Ertefaie, Sharma, and Mueller

Research Focus: Spectral Bayesian Network Theory: Graph Theoretic Solutions to Problems in Bayesian Networks

Initial Position Post-Training: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Samuel Weisenthal, Ph.D.

WeisenthalProfilePhotoAppointment: June 2020 - April 2023

Research Committee: Drs. Thurston*, Ertefaie*, Johnson, McDermott, Loh, and Park

Research Focus: Relative Sparsity and Optimality-based Reward Learning with Applications to Medical Decision Making and Toxicology

Initial Position Post-Training: Medical Student (MD/PhD program), University of Rochester

David Burton, M.A.


Appointment: April 2019 - March 2021

Research Committee: Drs. McCall*, Thurston, Love, and McMurray

Research Focus: Modeling Genetic Regulatory Networks from Gene Expression Data

Initial Position Post-Training: Data Science Leadership Development Program, The Travelers Companies

Matthew Corsetti, Ph.D.


Appointment: June 2018 - May 2020 & August 2020 - August 2021

Research Committee: Drs. Love*, Thurston, McDavid, Luo, and van Wijngaarden

Research Focus: A Series of Novel Ensemble Procedures with Tree Learners

Initial Position Post-Training: Senior Associate Data Scientist, The Travelers Companies

Alexis Zavez, Ph.D.


Appointment: July 2017 - May 2019 & September 2019 - January 2021

Research Committee: Drs. Thurston*, Love, Johnson, Lawrence, and Susiarjo

Research Focus: Bayesian Latent Variable Models for Multiple Exposures with Unknown Group Memberships

Initial Position Post-Training: Research Program Manager, Orphan Disease Center, University of Pennsylvania

Yun Zhang, Ph.D.


Appointment: August 2017 - June 2018

Research Committee: Drs. Qiu*, Thakar*, McCall, Love, Mariani, and Gill

Research Focus: Novel Statistical Methods for Gene Set Enrichment Analysis with Empirical Memberships for Overlapping Genes

Initial Position Post-Training: Staff Scientist, J. Craig Venter Institute

Amy LaLonde, Ph.D.


Appointment: September 2016 - June 2017

Research Committee: Drs. Love*, Thurston, Wu, Vates, Salzman, and Groth

Research Focus: Bayesian Model-Based Clustering Methods: Procedures for Data with Unknown Numbers of Clusters

Initial Position Post-Training: Research Scientist, Eli Lilly and Company

Chongshu Chen, Ph.D.


Appointment: October 2015 - September 2017

Research Committee: Drs. Thurston*, Hyrien*, Love, Barrett, Miller, and Mueller

Research Focus: Finite Mixtures of Nonlinear Mixed-Effects Models for Longitudinal Data

Initial Position Post-Training: Senior Biostatistician, Biogen, Inc.

Katherine Grzesik, Ph.D.


Appointment: June 2013 - May 2014 & January 2016 - July 2017

Research Committee: Drs. Peterson*, Thurston, Hyrien, Couderc, and Kautz

Research Focus: Local Cross-Validated Smoothing Parameter Estimation for Linear Smoothers

Initial Position Post-Training: Postdoctoral Research Affiliate, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Kyra Singh, Ph.D.


Appointment: October 2015 - September 2016

Research Committee: Drs. Love*, Thurston, Qiu, Williams, and Finkelstein

Research Focus: Variable Selection Methods for Model-Based Clustering: Procedures for Functional Data and Bayesian Inference

Initial Position Post-Training: Quantitative Marketing Manager, Google, Inc.

Amit Chowdhry, Ph.D., M.D.


Appointment: June 2013 - May 2015

Research Committee: Drs. McDermott*, Beck, He, Dworkin, and Gonek

Research Focus: Missing Data in Meta-Analysis

Initial Position Post-Training: Medical Student (MD/PhD Program), University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Thanh Van Tran, Ph.D.


Appointment: May 2012 - April 2013 & October 2013 - June 2015

Research Committee: Drs. Almudevar*, Thurston, Sharma, McMurray, and Proschel

Research Focus: Threshold Boolean Network Inference and Experimental Designs

Initial Position Post-Training: Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Cancer Institute

Katie Evans, Ph.D.

TraineeProfilePhotoAppointment: June 2010 - May 2013

Research Committee: Drs. Love*, Thurston*, Almudevar, van Wijngaarden, and Li

Research Focus: Extensions to Model-Based Clustering for Mixed-Type Data: A New Model Framework, Variable Selection, and Outlier Identification

Initial Position Post-Training: Statistician Consultant, DuPont

Saria Awadalla, Ph.D.

trainee profile

Appointment: September 2009 - August 2011

Research Committee: Drs. McDermott*, Mudholkar*, Liang, Groenevelt, Gonek, and Wang

Research Focus: Some Contributions to the Theory and Applications of R-Symmetry

Initial Position Post-Training: Instructor of Biostatistics, University of Illinois at Chicago

Miranda Lynch, Ph.D.


Appointment: June 2007 - May 2010

Research Committee: Drs. Thurston*, van Wijngaarden, Tu, Almudevar, and Mueller

Research Focus: Estimation, Model Checking and Diagnostics, and Identifiability in Finite Mixture Models for Point Mass Data: Methods in a Bayesian Framework

Initial Position Post-Training: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health

Abbie Stokes-Riner, Ph.D.

trainee photo

Appointment: October 2006 - September 2009

Research Committee: Drs. Thurston*, Oakes, Tu, Roy, Swan, and Dewan

Research Focus: Residual Diagnostic Methods for Bayesian Structural Equation Models

Initial Position Post-Training: Biostatistician, Vaccine and Infectious Diseases, The Emmes Corporation

Linlin Chen, Ph.D.

Trainee profile

Appointment: June 2005 - March 2007

Research Committee: Drs. Almudevar*, Yakovlev*, Oakes, Qiu, Pearce, and Harper

Research Focus: The Correlation Structure of Microarray Data and Its Statistical Implications

Initial Position Post-Training: Assistant Professor, School of Mathematical Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology

Alexander Pearson, Ph.D., M.D.


Appointment: June 2005 - June 2006

Research Committee: Drs. Peterson*, Almudevar, Hall, and Guzick

Research Focus: Subset Selection for Prediction with High-Dimensional Data

Initial Position Post-Training: Medical Student (MD/PhD Program), University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Lesley Wagner, Ph.D.


Appointment: October 2004 - August 2006

Research Committee: Drs. Mudholkar*, Zhao, Huang, Veazie, Oakes, and Groenevelt

Research Focus: Some Skew Models for Quantal Response Analysis

Initial Position Post-Training: Assistant Professor, Math and Natural Sciences, D'Youville College