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Biostatistics Department News

Seasonal change in the gut

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SCIENCE - Incoming biostatistics chair, SHYAMAL PEDDADA, offers an invited scholarly review of research by Smits et al. into how the gut microbiome in hunter-gatherer communities responds to seasonal changes in diet, activity, and the external environment. Even as high gut microbial diversity contributes protective effects among long-lived hunter gatherers, this microbial diversity is dropping among modernizing societies. 

Tseng and Ma use Bayesian hierarchical models to detect and categorize biomarkers in RNA sequencing

RNA-SEQ BLOG - Important work by biostatistics and human genetics professor GEORGE TSENG and biostatistics PhD student TIANZHOU MA proposes a full Bayesian hierarchical model for RNA-seq meta-analysis by modelling count data, integrating information across genes and across studies, and modelling potentially heterogeneous differential signals across studies via latent variables. 

Alumna Lo-Cignic working to identify individuals at risk of inappropriate prescription opioid use

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KVOA NEWS 4 - New prediction tools to identify patients at risk of inappropriate prescription opioid use, while allowing safe administration of legitimate pain management are being developed by alumna WEI-HSUAN JENNY LO-CIGANIC (BIOST '10, EPI '05), now an assistant professor with the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. Her newly-funded work builds on research she completed as a postdoctoral associate at Pitt's HEALTH POLICY INSTITUTE. 

Professors Jeong and Tseng honored as Fellows of the American Statistical Association

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ASA NEWS - Biostatistics professors Jong-Hyeon Jeong and George C. Tseng are to  be honored with the prestigious distinction of Fellows of the American Statistical Association (ASA) for their professional contributions, leadership and commitment to the field of statistical science. "The statistics community, as well as other scientific disciplines, needs to look no further than these remarkable individuals who have proven that collaboration, inno... 

Pitt biostatistics student Tianzhou Ma wins American Statistical Association Student of the Year Award

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Biostatistics doctoral student TIANZHOU MA (BIOS‘18) was awarded the 2017 Student of the Year Award by the American Statistical Association (ASA) Pittsburgh Chapter. 

Professor Dan Weeks weighs in on federal cuts to big data training grants

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CNBC.COM -- Professor of human genetics and biostatistics DANIEL WEEKS reported that applications for BD2K biomedical training grants submitted by the University were denied because of concerns over future funding for the BD2K Initiative. Short for Big Data to Knowledge, BD2K refers to an NIH-funded program to update biomedical big data sets. Weeks had high hopes of procuring funding, calling it "quite disheartening" given the time and effort sp... 

Pitt biostatistics student Yi Liu wins American Statistical Association best poster award

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Doctoral student YI LIU (BIOS ’17) was awarded the Mihaela Serban Best Poster Award in the American Statistical Association (ASA) Pittsburgh Chapter's 2017 poster competition for her presentation "Copula-based Score Test for Large-scale Bivariate Time-to-even Data, with an Application to a Genetic Study of AMD Progression." 

Jennifer Silva, Expert on challenges of coal country to lecture at Pitt Public Health

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PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW - On Tuesday, Jennifer Silva, an assistant professor of sociology at Bucknell University, will share her research tales at Pitt Public Health's “One Book, One Community” lecture. Among the questions Silva is trying to answer in her research: What happens when people feel left behind? Who do they blame? And if they can't rely on getting a job to have a good life, how do they create a life that is meaningful? 

King, Wahed, and Belle find wearable fitness devices lack functionality

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LOS ANGELES TIMES - Participants without physical activity trackers showed nearly twice the weight loss benefits at the end of the 24 months. Participants who used wearable devices reported an average weight loss of 7.7 pounds, while those who partook only in health counseling reported an average loss of 13 pounds, according to researchers WENDY KING, ABDUS WAHED, and STEVEN BELLE. 

Dean Burke forecasts future opioid death rates based on MoIRA system

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DEAN BURKE led a session at today's ASPPH Annual Meeting on "Forecasting and Deflecting the Opioid Epidemic Curve" with a projection of likely opioid overdose deaths based on biostatistical data gathered by JEANINE BUCHANICH and the Mortality Information and Research Analytics (MOIRA) system, a repository and retrieval system for detailed death data from the National Center for Health Statistics developed here (named for the Fates of Greek myth). 

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