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Department of Biostatistics


Biostatistics faculty across the spectrum are being honored for their contributions to the greater academic community. Check out some of the most recent major honors and awards received:

The Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award

Catalyst Award recipient, Hongkai Ji

The Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award is an award launched by the president, provost, and the deans of the University in 2015. This award program supports promising research and creative endeavors of early career faculty who was first appointed at Johns Hopkins within the last three to ten years. Associate Professor, Hongkai Ji is one of the thirty-four faculty members selected to receive this award along with a $75,000 grant this year.

This award will support Dr. Ji to develop computational and statistical tools for comparative functional genomics. The comparative analysis of functional genomic landscape across species is an invaluable tool for studying human development, disease and evolution. Molecular mechanisms of human development and diseases are often studied with the help of model organisms (e.g., mice) because it is impractical or unethical to conduct in vivo experiments in human. Translating discoveries in model organisms to human relies on the assumption that the mechanisms involved are conserved across species. Therefore, a comprehensive knowledge on what are conserved among different species is crucial for interpreting findings in model organisms. Conventionally, cross-species comparisons require one to have matching samples (i.e., samples from the same cell type, developmental stage, and/or treatment conditions) from different species. Unfortunately, collecting matching samples for a wide variety of cell types and conditions is not always easy. Dr. Ji will use his Catalyst fund to test a new approach that uses unmatched samples in public databases to perform comparative functional genomic studies. If successful, this method may help researchers remove a major bottleneck for identifying functional genomic signals in the human genome that are conserved in model organisms.

International Biometric Society Honorary Life Membership

IBS Honorary Lifetime Membership recipient, Tom Louis

Starting in 1964, the International Biometric Society (IBS) has elected members to the status of “Honorary Life Members of the Society.” Each nomination must be sponsored by five or more members of the society, including at least two from outside the candidate’s region. To date, the IBS has conferred the honor to 26 members.

At the 2016 International Biometric Conference in Victoria, BC Professor Tom Louis was so-honored with the citation on his plaque reading:

“For many outstanding contributions to the field of Biometry, extensive service on behalf of the IBS, and for broader leadership and service in the profession.”

Dr. Louis’ service to the IBS includes: Eastern North American Region (ENAR) Executive Committee (1991-3) and President in 1992; IBS President-elect (2005) President (2006-7) and Outgoing President (2008); Biometrics co-editor (2009-2011); IBS Editorial Advisory Committee (2009-2015); service over 40 years to IBS and ENAR in meeting organization, including International Biometric Conference Local Organizing Committee (1976, 2012), International Program Committee (2000); ENAR annual meeting program chair (1988), along with service on numerous IBS and ENAR committees. During his IBS presidency, he initiated the Prose Editing Project (PEP), to which IBS members can submit manuscripts for help with the prose before submitting to a journal.

In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Louis thanked his nominators and the Society for the honor, and noted that he has received benefits from the IBS far in excess of what he has given. The most important benefits have been international colleagueship, and increased understanding of professional cultures and conditions in the developed and developing world.

The Marvin Zelen Leadership Award

Marvin Zelen Award recipient, Karen Bandeen-Roche

Hurley-Dorrier Professor and Chair, Karen Bandeen-Roche has been recognized with the 2016 Marvin Zelen Leadership Award in Statistical Science by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The award recognizes an individual in government, industry, or academia whose outstanding leadership has influenced the theory and practice of statistical science.

Dr. Bandeen-Roche’s primary area of research is the development, implementation, and application of models for underlying or unobservable processes, including problems like mixture models, measurement error models, and random effect models.

Dr. Bandeen-Roche delivered a lecture titled, “The Flourishing Statistical Environment: How Can We Flourish?” at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she also received a citation and honorarium, this past summer.

Faculty Spotlight: Roger Peng, Recipient of the 2016 APHA Mortimer Spiegelman Award

Spiegelman Award recipient, Roger Peng

Demographer, actuary and biostatistician Mortimer Spiegelman (1901-1969) made exceptional contributions to public health statistics. His contributions have continued posthumously through the Mortimer Spiegelman Award of the APHA Statistics Section, presented annually since 1970 to a public health statistician under age 40 who has made outstanding contributions to statistical methodology and its applications in public health.

This year, Biostatistics’ own Associate Professor, Roger Peng was selected as the Spiegelman Award recipient. Dr. Peng’s work focuses on the development and application of advanced statistical methods to the area of environmental health. For the past ten years, he has continued the Department’s leadership in the area of air pollution epidemiology by developing new statistical approaches for quantifying the evidence of outdoor air pollution health effects. His contributions to the literature have been cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s integrated science assessments, which are used to guide the agency’s development of national ambient air quality standards. Dr. Peng has also conducted extensive research on the effects of the indoor environment on respiratory morbidity, developing statistical approaches for analyzing data from environmental randomized controlled trials. In addition to his research, Dr. Peng is dedicated to teaching statistics and data science to a broad audience. As part of this effort, he has co-developed (with Department colleagues Jeff Leek and Brian Caffo) the massively popular Johns Hopkins Data Science Specialization, a ten online-course sequence that has been taken by over 4 million people since it launched in 2014.