Welcome BMI Department Interim Chair Michael Newton!

Please welcome our new Interim Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, Michael Newton. Newton has been a professor with the department for many years, and as of July 1st he now joins our administration to fill this important leadership role after the departure of our previous chair Paul Rathouz.

For more information or to contact the office of the BMI department chair, call 608-263-1706.

BMI Faculty Involved in 6 of 10 Funded Data Science Initiative Projects

The UW-Madison Data Science Initiative has awarded 10 fully funded projects, with 6 of those projects naming BMI faculty as either the PI, co-PI, or co-investigator, and 1 BMI affiliate faculty named as co-PI on two additional projects. This is a testament to how important the work we do in BMI is to research projects throughout the university!

BMI Faculty Projects:

Addressing Misclassificatoon in the Microbiome: A Data-Scientific Approach to Propagating Uncertainty in Microbial Community Composition
Karl Broman, Professor, Co-Investigator

A Novel Longitudinal Study of the Association Between the Gut Microbiome and Aging
ZhengZheng Tang, Assistant Professor, Principal Investigator
Jun Zhu, Professor of Statistics and BMI Affiliate, Collaborator

Development of Peptide Array Signal Detection Methods for Immune Profiling
Irene Ong, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, Principal Investigator
Michael Newton, Professor and Interim Chair, Co-Investigator
Sean McIlwain, Assistant Scientist, Co-Investigator

Network-Based Analysis of Cellular Heterogeneity
Sushmita Roy, Associate Professor BMI and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery's Systems Biology Research Group, Principal Investigator

Robust Mendelian Randomization Methods to Identify Causal Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease
Qiongshi Lu, Assistant Professor, Co-Principal Investigator

Statistical Methods and Software for 10x Genomics Data
Christina Kendziorski, Professor, Principal Investigator
Sunduz Keles, Professor, Co-Investigator
Michael Newton, Professor, Co-Investigator

BMI Affiliate Projects:

National-Scale Freshwater Research Through Data Science
AnHai Doan, Professor of Computer Science and BMI Affiliate, Co-Principal Investigator

Using Data Science to Help Transform Global Supply Chains and Make Progress in Saving the Amazon Rainforest
AnHai Doan, Professor of Computer Science and BMI Affiliate, Co-Principal Investigator

More information on the UW-Madison Data Science Initiative can be found here.

BMI Student Thevaa Chandereng Wins ASA Biopharmaceutical Scholarship

Continuing his trend of awarded success, BMI graduate student Thevaa Chandereng has been awarded a ASA Biopharmaceutical Section Scholarship Award. The award will be presented during a ceremony at the Biopharmaceutical Section Open Meeting, tentatively scheduled from 5:30-7:30 on July 31st.

More information on this award can be found here.

Congratulations Thevaa!

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!