News

Dr. Andrew Holbrook Nominated Toffler Scholar

The Karen Toffler Charitable Trust has named UCLA Biostatistics Professor Andrew Holbrook as a Toffler Scholar for his work on data science in neuroimaging and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Holbrook will use a generous $20,000 gift from the Toffler Trust to further his research in the application of machine learning methods to large-scale imaging data for the early detection of Alzheimer's. In particular, Dr. Holbrook plans to explore the use of cutting-edge, automated imaging pipelines for analyzing UK Biobank data that features as many as 50,000 individuals. The methods and goals of Dr. Holbrook's research fit perfectly within the Toffler Trust's mission of advancing medical research by supporting early-stage researchers with a future focused framework.

Shanpeng Li Announced Finalist of 2022 APHA/Stata Scholar Student Research Competition

UCLA Biostatistic's Shanpeng Li was recently announced one of three finalists of the 2022 APHA/Stata Scholar Student Research Competition. Shanpeng will present a final oral presentation of his project at the 2022 APHA annual Meeting in Boston between November 6 and 9, 2022, after which a final winner will be announced. Let's wish him the best of luck in the fall!

Dr Steve Horvath Selected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association

The American Statistical Association (ASA) recently announced that Biostat Professor Steve Horvath has been selected as a Fellow of the ASA. A Fellow of the ASA is recognized for their established reputation and outstanding contributions to statistical science. The Committee on Fellows evaluates each candidate’s contributions to the advancement of statistical science and places due weight on the following:

  • Published works
  • Position held with employer
  • ASA activities
  • Membership and accomplishments in other societies
  • Professional activities
Professor Weng Kee Wong Named Yushan Scholar by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education

Professor Weng Kee Wong has been named a 2021 Yushan Scholar by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. This prestigious award, named after the highest mountain in Taiwan, is bestowed upon top international scholars who are recruited to teach or perform research at Taiwanese universities. As an award recipient, Wong will receive grant support for three consecutive years, allowing him to spend three months each year doing research at the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan. There, he will collaborate with computer scientists, engineers, and data scientists to develop effective, nature-inspired metaheuristic algorithms for applications in statistics.

“My focus is to find various kinds of cost saving experimental designs for accurate inference using different types of high dimensional nonlinear models in the biomedical sciences,” says Wong. He explains, “these powerful and assumption-free algorithms are general optimization tools and are widely used in artificial intelligence, engineering and computer science but seem greatly under-used in statistical research.” Wong hopes that his research will increase the use of these types of algorithms for solving optimization problems in statistics.

Professor Wong hopes to begin his work in Taiwan in June.

Additional recognition for Professor Tom Belin's community-partnered research

Bringing additional recognition to the Community Partners in Care (CPIC) study, which investigated strategies for disseminating evidence-based care for depression in under-resourced areas of Los Angeles through social-service agencies and other community-trusted locations, the most recent issue of the journal Psychiatric Services has highlighted a 2017 article on long-term outcomes from the CPIC study as one of fourteen "Editor's Choice" articles on the theme of "Engaging People with Lived Experience in Mental Health Services and Research" that the journal has published in the past ten years. Professor Tom Belin, who served as the chair of the CPIC study's Design Committee, was listed fourth among the article's 28 co-authors (encompassing 16 academic partners affiliated with UCLA or RAND and 12 community partners affiliated with local non-profit organizations, notably including Healthy African American Families in South Central Los Angeles and Queenscare Health and Faith Partnership in Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles). Previous recognition for the CPIC study included the Team Science Award of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science as well as specific mention as a high-quality study in a 2015 Cochrane Collaboration review of 58 studies of community-coalition interventions. (Citations follow below for both the "Editor's Choice" article and a publication led by Professor Belin on methodological considerations in the CPIC study.)

Ong MK, Jones L, Aoki W, Belin TR, Bromley E, Chung B, Dixon E, Johnson MD, Jones F, Koegel P, Khodyakov D, Landry C, Lizaola E, Mtume N, Ngo VK, Perlman J, Pulido E, Sauer V, Sherbourne DC, Tang L, Vidaurri E, Whittington Y, Williams P, Lucas-Wright A, Zhang L, Southard M, Miranda J, Wells K. A community-partnered, participatory, cluster-randomized study of depression care quality improvement: Three-year outcomes. Psychiatric Services, 2017; 68(12):1262-1270. PMID: 28712349; PMCID: PMC5711579

Belin TR, Jones A, Tang L, Chung B, Stockdale SE, Jones F, Lucas Wright A, Sherbourne CD, Perlman J, Pulido E, Ong MK, Gilmore J, Miranda J, Dixon E, Jones L, Wells KB. Maintaining internal validity in community partnered participatory research: Experience from the Community Partners in Care study. Ethnicity and Disease, 2018; 28 (Suppl 2): 357-364. PMID: 30202188; PMCID: PMC6128339

A video about the Psychiatric Services Editor's Choice can be viewed here.

Biostatistician Dr. Marc Suchard honored by the Institute of Statistical Sciences

Dr. Marc Suchard, professor of biostatistics, biomathematics and human genetics at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, has been recognized as an outstanding researcher by the National Institute of Statistical Sciences with the institute’s 2021 Jerome Sacks award for cross-disciplinary research.

Suchard, who is also a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is a physician and a mathematician at the forefront of high-performance statistical computing. He focuses on biomedical research and in the clinical application of statistics, using data science in the field of evolutionary medicine, harnessing evolutionary biology methods and theory to advance doctors’ understanding of human disease processes. 

Suchard is also the senior developer of an open-source software program that’s used by more than 1,000 research groups worldwide to understand, on a genomic level, how infectious diseases spread. 

Professor Christina Ramirez Interviewed on New York Times

COVID-19: New Cases Begin to Slow in U.S. Cities Where Omicron Hit First

The New York Times (Jan. 13) interviewed Dr. Christina Ramirez, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, about reports that infections are falling in U.S. cities hit early on by the Omicron variant, suggesting a national peak may be approaching. “You get a couple days where it goes down, goes back up and goes back down … we’ve been fooled by the virus before,” Dr. Ramirez said. “The next couple of weeks will be very telling.” It also ran in the Boston Globe.

Xinkai Zhou wins student paper award at 2022 JSM

Xinkai Zhou's (4th year PhD student) paper "Bag of Little Bootstraps for Massive and Distributed Longitudinal Data" won the 2022 student paper award of ASA Sections on Computing and Graphics. This award comes with a certificate and a cash prize of $1000, and will be presented at the 2022 Joint Statistical Meetings in Aug 6-11. Congratulations!

Kelly Li Wins "Best Community Contribution Awards" for Best Poster at 2021 OHDSI Global Symposium

Kelly Li (2nd year PhD student) has won (1 of 5) "Best Community Contribution Awards" (best poster prize) at the recent 2021 OHDSI Global Symposium. A link to the poster can be found here: https://www.ohdsi.org/2021-global-symposium-showcase-68/

UCLA Department of Biostatistics Highlighted Co-Recipient of L.A. County Productivity and Quality Awards "Gold Eagle" Award

The UCLA Department of Biostatistics was highlighted as a co-recipient of one of two "Gold Eagle" awards in the just-concluded L.A. County Productivity and Quality Awards ceremony. These two "Gold Eagle" awards were among the Top Ten award winners. Since 1987, this program has honored more than 2,000 individual departmental productivity and quality improvement efforts deserving recognition by the Board of Supervisors, Chief Executive Office, Quality and Productivity Commission, and the public.

This award recognized the COVID-19 Predictive Modeling Team that provided weekly updates on hospital demand in L.A. County. UCLA Biostatistics Professor Tom Belin participated in the effort along with colleagues from the UCLA Department of Statistics and UCLA Department of Mathematics. For more information about the project and the award, please view the following videos posted by the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission:

Video 1

Video 2

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