BMI Student Thevaa Chandereng Awarded MBSW Student Financial Grant

We are pleased to announce BMI graduate student Thevaa Chandereng, working with Professor Rick Chappell, has been awarded a MBSW Student Financial Grant for their project on Imbalanced Randomization in Clinical Trials. This award is a travel grant for the Midwest Biopharmaceutical Statistics Workshop.

Project: Imbalanced Randomization
Abstract: Randomization is a common technique used in clinical trials to eliminate potential bias and confounders in a patient population. However, in certain scenarios, unequal allocation can improve efficiency. In superiority trials with more than two groups, the optimal randomization is not always a balanced randomization. In non-inferiority trials, additive margin with equal variance is the only instance with balanced randomization. The Cardiovascular Patient Outcomes Research Team (CPORT), which is a multi-center trial conducted to compare fatality rate between presence of on-site cardiac surgery in performing angioplasty, serves as a motivation to this research. Patients were randomized 1:3 (with and without onsite cardiac surgery) due to several constraints, therefore reducing the statistical efficiency and statistical power for the same sample size (N) compared to the optimal randomization ratio.

Sushmita Roy named 2018 Vilas Associate

Long-range regulatory interactions occur between a gene and a regulatory sequence element hundreds of kilobases away. Such interactions are important drivers of cell type-specific gene expression and can play critical roles in the interpretation of regulatory variants in normal and disease processes including cancer, diabetes and obesity. However, these interactions are largely unknown in the majority of cell types and species. The overall goal of this project is to develop novel computational methods, based on statistical machine learning, to predict long-range regulatory interactions in new cell types and species. Predicted interactions in diverse cell types and species will enable us to gain novel insights into dynamics of long-range regulation in different developmental and evolutionary contexts and enable us to link regulatory variants to genes and complex traits.

BMI Student Muxuan Liang Wins 2018 ASA Biometrics Award

We are pleased to announce BMI graduate student Muxuan Liang, working with Professor Menggang Yu, has been awarded a 2018 ASA Biometrics Section JSM Travel Award for scientific paper on model effect modification.

The paper, “A semiparametric approach to model effect modification”, proposed a semiparametric framework for identifying effect modification, which can be applied in many research areas such as precision medicine and health disparity. Instead of using the traditional outcome models, we directly posit semiparametric models on contrasts, or expected differences of the outcome under different treatment choices or exposures. Through semiparametric estimation theory, all valid estimating equations, including the efficient scores, are derived. Besides providing flexible models for effect modification, our approach also enables dimension reduction in presence of high dimensional data. The asymptotic and non-asymptotic properties of the proposed methods are explored via a unified statistical and algorithm analysis.

Clinical Trial and Biostatistics Think Tank - Working Session

The Clinical Trials Program of the Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics would like to announce the launch of working sessions entitled “Clinical Trial and Biostatistics Think Tank.” The purpose of these working sessions is to facilitate a collaborative environment between clinical investigators and biostatisticians when a trial proposal is brought forth. Early discussions have shown to be beneficial to both the investigator and the statistical team. Study design and early planning are key factors for success in grant funding and ultimate implementation of clinical trials. These sessions will be held from time to time when a clinical investigator approaches the Clinical Trials Program and would like to consult and collaborate on a randomized controlled trial proposal. The working sessions will be held on select Wednesdays, listed above!

We are very pleased to announce the inaugural session with Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Disease, Vice Chair for Research, Department of Medicine and Associate Chief of Staff for Research and staff physician in infectious diseases at the William S. Middleton VA Medical Center. She will present her PCORI proposal to conduct a cluster randomized controlled trial to address a comparative effectiveness research question on the effectiveness of anti-microbial stewardship programs, Pre-Prescription Authorization (PPA) vs Post-Prescription Review with Feedback (PPRF), in intensitve care units at major hospitals in the state of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Details (date and time) will follow.

Event Time and Location:
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
1:00 - 2:00PM
1309 HSLC

If you are interested in receiving future announcements and signing up for an email list, please contact Kelly Miller at or (608) 262-8141. Click here for more information.

BMI PhD Student Ting Ye Wins Research Competition at Biopharmaceutical Workshop

BMI graduate student Ting Ye, working under the direction of Professor Menggang Yu, won the Charles B. Sampson Student Poster Award at this years’ Midwest Biopharmaceutical Statistics Workshop (the 40th Annual). Ye’s poster is entitled “A Robust Approach to Sample Size Calculation in Cancer Immunotherapy Trials” and presents an approach to calculate sample size when the proportional hazard assumption is violated with a possible lag period of treatment effect. Congratulations to Ting and Menggang!

BMI Masters’ biostatistician takes leadership role in Women in Statistics conferences

BMI Masters’s biostatistician Kaitlin Woo stepped out of her role as a working data analyst at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to participate in a panel discussion on “Surviving Graduate School”, allowing participants to hold free-flowing discussions on all aspects of graduate school life. Topics included staying true to oneself, establishing a support network, and having a life outside of graduate school.

The panel took place at the inaugural 2014 Celebrating Women in Statistics Conference. The next such conference is this October.
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Assistant Professor Anthony Gitter garners NSF CAREER award

A) Single-cell gene expression measurements indicate that cells progress through a temporal biological process at different rates, leading to heterogeneous cell populations at specific times during a stimulus response.  B) Protein-protein interactions and temporal changes in protein phosphorylation can be combined to reconstruct signaling pathways and reveal novel components, such as the MAPK pathway member MKL1.

BMI Assistant Professor Anthony Gitter, who is jointly appointed in the Virology Challenge area of the Morgridge Institute for Research, has been granted a NSF CAREER award to pursue his work in the inference for temporal signaling and transcriptional data.

Time series methods provide a powerful strategy for understanding transcriptional regulation by using the temporal ordering of gene expression changes to constrain candidate regulatory interactions. The project will design time series algorithms to improve the prediction of both transcriptional and signaling network interactions by using single-cell gene expression and temporal phosphoproteomic data. Time series analysis will also be incorporated into local public outreach programs and bioinformatics training workshops.

We are very pleased to congratulate Prof. Gitter on this wonderful accomplishment!

INVESTED Data Coordinating Center to be Hosted at BMI; Kim to lead

Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics (BMI) Professor KyungMann Kim was recently awarded a 5-year U01 cooperative agreement award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute as PI of the INVESTED Data Coordinating Center to be housed at the BMI Department with a subcontract for data management and quality control activities at the Frontier Science and Technology Foundation's Amherst, NY office. The INfluenza Vaccine to Effectively Stop cardioThoracic Events and Decompensated heart failure (INVESTED) trial is a randomized, double-blind, active-controlled trial of high-dose trivalent influenza vaccine as compared to standard-dose quadrivalent influenza vaccine in 9,300 patients with a history of myocardial infarction or heart failure. The INVESTED trial will be conducted at up to 180 sites in North America through four networks. They are University of Toronto-based Pan-Canadian Network, University of Wisconsin-Madison Network, Veterans Administration Consortium, and PCORnet. Its Clinical Coordinating Center (CCC) will be housed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, MA. The INVESTED CCC is headed by Co-PIs Orly Vardeny at the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy and Scott D. Solomon at BWH.

Congratulations, KyungMann!