Our faculty are consistently contributing to the national conversation through their research.

Faculty and students in the Division of Biostatistics are active in many areas of methodological and collaborative research, and regularly publish in high-impact statistics, biostatistics, and bio-medical journals.

Bayesian analysis: James Hodges, Joseph Koopmeiners, Thomas Murray, Cavan Reilly, Lianne Siegel, Eric Lock, Lin Zhang

Causal inference: Jared Huling, Joseph Koopmeiners, Chap Le, Thomas Murray, Wei Pan, David Vock, Julian Wolfson, Tianzhong Yang

Clinical trials: Anne Eaton, Lynn Eberly, Erika Helgeson, James Hodges, Joseph Koopmeiners, Chap Le, Xianghua Luo, Andrew Mugglin, Thomas Murray, James Neaton, Cavan Reilly, Lianne Siegel, Kyle Rudser, David Vock

Statistical genetics & computational biology: Saonli Basu, Weihua Guan, Eric LockWei Pan, Cavan Reilly, Sandra SafoTianzhong Yang, Lin Zhang

Screening & diagnostic testing: Lynn Eberly, Joseph Koopmeiners, Chap Le

Machine learning: Saonli Basu, Lynn Eberly, Erika Helgeson, Jared HulingEric LockWei Pan, Ashley Petersen, Cavan Reilly, Sandra Safo, David Vock, Julian Wolfson

Medical imaging: Lynn Eberly, Mark Fiecas, Joseph Koopmeiners, Lin Zhang

Meta-analysis: James Hodges, Lianne Siegel, Tianzhong Yang

Spatial statistics: Mark Fiecas, James Hodges, Lin Zhang

Survival analysis: Anne Eaton, Chap Le, Xianghua Luo, Thomas Murray, Kyle Rudser, David Vock

We pride ourselves on getting students involved in research early and often. Masters students complete a research-oriented Plan B project in collaboration with a faculty adviser. PhD students are involved in research assistantships starting from their first semester, and typically identify a dissertation adviser during the second year of the program. Dissertations follow the 3-paper model, so our students often graduate with multiple peer-reviewed publications.

Recent Student Project and Dissertation Titles:

  • Grace Lyden, “Policy-Relevant Causal Effect Estimators for Heterogeneous Treatments and Exposures”
  • Chuyu Deng, “Innovative Methods for Treatment Effect Heterogeneity & Calibration”
  • Yuan Zhang, “Modifications of Q-learning to Optimize Dynamic Treatment Regimes”
  • Bin Guo, “Integrative Statistical Methods in Genomics and Neuroimaging”
  • Shannon McKearnan, “Statistical Methods for Organ Transplant”
  • Charles Cain, “Statistical Considerations for Clinical Trials Aiming to Identify Individualized Treatment Rules”
  • Andrew DiLernia, “New Estimation and Inferential Methods for Functional Connectivity Analysis”
  • Alex Knutson, “Integrating Summarized Imaging and Genomic Data with GWAS for Powerful Endophenotype Association Testing in Alzheimer’s Disease”
  • Lianne Siegel, “Estimating the Reference Range from a Meta-Analysis using Aggregate or Individual Participant Data”
  • Adam Kaplan, “Context-Driven Prior Distributions in Genome–Wide Association Studies, Medical Device Adaptive Clinical Trials, and Genetic Fine-Mapping”

Biostatistics working groups are intended for University of Minnesota students and faculty and focus on various areas of faculty research.  This is an opportunity for collaboration, peer-to-peer mentoring, and networking between student cohorts. If you are interested in participating in any of these working groups, please contact the working group leads below.

Active Working Groups

Title: Biostats for High-Dimensional Data Working Group

Faculty Lead(s): Erjia Cui, Ashley Petersen, Sandra Safo, and Steffen Ventz

Student Lead(s): Andrés Arguedas

Tentative meeting time: Second and fourth Fridays of every month, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Description: The purpose of this working group is to discuss biostatistical methods for analyzing high-dimensional data (i.e., a large number of variables relative to the number of observations). During each meeting, one or two student members present on their own ongoing research or a journal article in this area. We spend the last meeting of the semester discussing a career development topic chosen by the group.

Title: Comparative Effectiveness and Research Synthesis (CERS)

Faculty Lead(s): Lianne Siegel and James Hodges

Tentative meeting time: Mondays, 4:00 – 5:00pm (every other week)

Description: The mission of our working group is to develop and implement statistical methods to aid in research synthesis and comparative effectiveness research and to foster collaboration among UMN students and faculty conducting research in these areas. Our members develop statistical methods across many areas including multivariate and network meta-analysis, meta-analysis of diagnostic tests, causal inference in meta-analysis, and meta-analysis of normative data from both observational studies and randomized clinical trials. We are also interested in bridging the gap between statistical theory and practice (i.e. translational biostatistics) by publishing peer-reviewed high impact manuscripts that translate recent methodological advances to a clinical and epidemiological audience. We meet regularly to share our current work and discuss journal articles. Our meetings will follow a hybrid format (in person and Zoom options) to facilitate collaboration with colleagues at other institutions but we encourage all local participants to attend in person when possible. All are welcome!

Title: Causal Inference Working Group

Faculty Lead(s): Jared Huling and Marquis Hou

Tentative meeting time: Wednesday, bi-weekly, 3:30 pm

Description: The purpose of this working group is to discuss recent advancements and ongoing research in the division related to causal inference. Topics to be discussed include SMARTs/adaptive intervention designs, federated learning, transportability and other topics related to causal inference.

Title: MERGE (Mobile & E-Health Research Group)

Faculty Lead(s): Julian Wolfson, Erjia Cui, Marquis Hou

Tentative meeting time: Fridays, biweekly, 2:30 – 3:30 pm

Description: The MERGE working group is focused on the applications of statistics to mobile and electronic health data, including data collected from smartphones, wearable sensors, and administrative health databases (EHR). Methods for these data are diverse and developing, but include machine learning, causal inference, and functional data analysis. Group meetings are open to students at any stage of their program, and will include presentation of ongoing projects, discussion of research papers, and tutorials on relevant technologies and skills. Meetings will be followed by some friendly table tennis in the CCBR Ballroom!

Title: Minnesota Complex Innovative Design Research (M-CIDeR) Working Group

Faculty Lead(s):Steffen Ventz and Tom Murray

Student Lead(s): TBD

Tentative meeting time: Bi-weekly starting mid September, weekday and time TBD based on interested students and faculty availability, hybrid format with in-person at University Office Plaza.

Description: This working group aims to foster a community for discussing current research areas in complex and innovative clinical trial design with an emphasis on the on-going dissertation/plan B papers of the participating students. Faculty (and students) will also share ideas for papers, which may be opportunities for newer students to get involved with research in this area. Faculty will also aim to provide insights into the on-going or recent clinical trials that they are coordinating, including exposure to statistical analysis plans and protocols, and other nuts and bolts of conducting trials.

Title: Spatio-temporal Modeling Group

Faculty Lead(s):Caitlin Ward, Harrison Quick

Tentative meeting time:Every other Friday, 10:30-11:30 am, October 6, 2023 – April 26, 2024.  NO MEETINGS December 8 – January 12.  One meeting per semester will be entirely social (no presentations) with bagels and coffee provided.

Description: The mission of this working group is to introduce and discuss ongoing research in the broad domain of spatio-temporal analyses.  Possible discussion topics include brain imaging, spatial statistics, time-series analysis, epidemic modeling, and disease mapping, with student interest driving content. Meetings will typically involve discussions of ongoing student research or presentation of journal articles, but also may cover professional development and software/analysis tutorials. This group is a great way to be exposed to spatio-temporal methods and connect with others interested in this area of research.

Title: Statistical Genetics/Omics Journal Club

Faculty Lead(s): Eric Lock, Saonli Basu

Tentative meeting time: Fridays from 10:00 – 11:00 am, biweekly, starting 9/15 (for Fall 2023 semester)

Description: The focus of the journal club is to introduce you to methodological developments and applications of genomics/omics in different scientific domains. For the fall 2023 semester we will focus on “omics data integration,” with discussions on general themes and recent research directions. This journal club is supported by the training grant `Interdisciplinary Biostatistics Training in Genetics and Genomics’ but is open to all students and faculty. Visit the Journal Club webpage for more information.

Title: Survival Analysis Working Group (SLAWG)

Faculty Lead(s): Anne Eaton and Xianghua Luo

Tentative meeting time: Fridays, bi-weekly, 10-11 am

Description: We will meet to discuss biostatistical methods for time-to-event data and longitudinal data, including discussing papers, sharing ongoing research and attending and discussing webinars.

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