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PhD in Biostatistics

Qing Zhao
Photo by Brad Clift
Qing "Amanda" Zhao, PhD '16, Department of Biostatistics. Qing's research focused on the integration of multi- and high-dimensional genomic data to improve cancer prognosis and risk prediction.

Biostatistics involves the development and application of sound statistical and mathematical principles to research in the health sciences. Because original theoretical research in biostatistics flows from medical research, the foundations of methodological development must be firmly grounded in sound principles of statistical inference and a thorough knowledge of the substantive area that provides the source of the medical questions being addressed. Thus, the Department of Biostatistics encourages excellent methodological work that is motivated by sound science that includes but is not limited to active collaborations with other investigators.

Students will be able to choose either the Standard Biostatistics Pathway or the newly created Implementation and Prevention Science Methods pathway, directed by Professor Donna Spiegelman, director of the Center for Methods in Implementation and Prevention Science. The rigorous training in the theory of and methods of biostatistics, with a specialization in implementation and prevention science methods promotes the adoption and integration of evidence-based practices, interventions and policies into routine health care and public health settings to improve the impact on population health.

Research collaborations for biostatisticians take place both within and across departments in the School of Public Health, as well as with other departments in the School of Medicine and the University at large. Areas of current research include the development of general methods that have wide applicability across different areas of health research, as well as more specific techniques for dealing with the underlying processes that give rise to the data of interest. A broad range of health topics addressed by students in this department includes chronic diseases such as cancer, genetic epidemiology, clinical research, and mathematical models for infectious diseases.

Graduates of the doctoral program in Biostatistics are employed in universities throughout the country, as well as in such dedicated research institutions such as the National Institutes of Health. In addition, graduates have pursued careers in the pharmaceutical industry, in which they are actively involved in the evaluation of new therapeutic strategies.