Biostatistics Announcements

UCLA Ranked #8 Biostatistics Program in the World


In the most recent US News graduate program rankings for Biostatistics, UCLA Biostatistics earned #8, showcasing the spectacular hard-work of our faculty and students.

Dr Michele Guindani Elected as President of ISBA, Showcasing Strong UCLA Biostatistics Presence


In a groundbreaking achievement for the Department of Biostatistics at UCLA, Dr. Michele Guindani has been elected as the President of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA). This significant accomplishment not only highlights Dr. Guindani's expertise and leadership but also underscores the department's strong presence on the global stage.

For more information, including a statement from Dr. Guindani on his aspirations for the term, click here

As Dr. Guindani takes on this prestigious role, the Department of Biostatistics at UCLA looks forward to further collaborations, innovations, and contributions to the evolving landscape of Bayesian analysis under his capable leadership.

Incoming Student Information Available for 2023-2024


The Department of Biostatistics welcomes incoming students to the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. We look forward to meeting you in the Fall term. In addition to the information provided by the Fielding School of Public Health Student Services Office and the Division of Graduate Education, the department has assembled some additional items to help guide you in your studies in Biostatistics this Fall 2023. This information is available here.

Dr Jingyi Jessica Li Selected for the International Society of Computational Biology's Overton Prize


Established in memory of the late G. Christian Overton, a major contributor to the field of bioinformatics, the annual Overton Prize is awarded for outstanding accomplishment to a scientist in the early to mid-career stage (up to a decade post-degree or equivalent experience), who has already made a significant contribution to the field of computational biology. Dr. Li was chosen from among a number of worthy individuals nominated by the members of the Society.

As part of the award, Dr. Li will be delivering a distinguished keynote speech at the upcoming ISMB/ECCB 2023 meeting that takes place July 23-27, 2023, in Lyon, France.

Dr Hilary Aralis Receives Recognition with UCLA School of Medicine Cultural North Star Award


The Cultural North Star Award, presented by the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, recognizes members of our community who have gone above and beyond to exemplify and champion our Cultural North Star values in their work, actions, or interactions. The 2022 award recipients included the UCLA Prevention Center of Excellence, of which Dr Aralis is a key contributor of.

For more information about the Cultural North Star Award, click here.
For more information about the UCLA Prevention Center of Excellence, click here.

Professor Andrew Holbrook Receives NSF CAREER Award


Professor Andrew Holbrook has received the National Science Foundation's (NSF) CAREER Award for his work building statistical models for the global spread of viruses. The CAREER Award is the NSF's most prestigious award for early-career faculty "who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization." As part of the award, Dr. Holbrook will receive over $500,000 funding in support of research that develops viral "evolutionary contagion" models parameterized by flexible neural networks. A major component of Dr. Holbrook's efforts will focus on scaling these models to big data settings with the help of graphics processing units (GPUs) and quantum computers.

Dr. Crespi Elected to Executive Board of International Biometric Society


Dr. Catherine M. Crespi was elected to the Executive Board of the International Biometric Society for a four-year term starting January 2023.

New Job Opening for Open-Rank In-Residence Faculty Position


The Department of Biostatistics is welcoming applications for an Open-Rank In-Residence Faculty Position.

View employment opportunities

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 Biostatistics 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:

  1. Published works
  2. Position held with employer
  3. ASA activities
  4. Membership and accomplishments in other societies
  5. 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.

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

Gang Li Nominated As Editor-In-Chief of the Electronic Journal of Statistics


Gang Li has been nominated as the Editor-In-Chief of the Electronic Journal of Statistics, an important theoretical journal jointly sponsored by the Bernoulli Society and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS).

Marc Suchard Receives 2021 Jerome Sacks Award from the National Institute of Statistical Science


Marc Suchard is the recipient of the 2021 Jerome Sacks Award from the National Institute of Statistical Science. The award recognizes Marc for his contributions to Bayesian computing and statistical methods and their impactful applications to phylogenetics.

Professor Martin Lee Has Op-Ed Published on The EvoLLLution


Professor Martin Lee's Op-Ed, titled "Learning and Unlearning What It Means to Teach Virtually," has been published on The EvoLLLution, an online newspaper about higher education. Lee's article, which details his experience teaching virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be viewed at the following link here.

Professor Jingyi Jessica Li Receives the MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35 Award


Professor Jingyi Jessica Li has received the MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35 Award. The award cites her outstanding contributions for improving the scientificity and transparency of data analysis, including the Central Dogma. The Central Dogma refers to the process of DNA making mRNAs and mRNAs making proteins, one of the most fundamental principles in modern biological sciences.

MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 is an annual list that recognizes outstanding innovators who are younger than 35. The awards span a wide range of fields, including biotechnology, materials, computer hardware, energy, transportation, communications, and the Internet.

Recognition by MIT Technology Review gives these young people a platform to present themselves and their achievements to industry leaders, academic experts, and the global public. Each year, brilliant men and women are recognized for their advancements in diverse technical fields including biotechnology and medicine, computer and electronics hardware, software, internet, artificial intelligence, robotics, telecommunications, nanotechnology and materials, energy, and transportation. Congratulations to Professor Jingyi Jessica Li for winning this prestigious award!

For more detailed information about the Professor and the award, click here.

Do Hyun Kim Awarded GATP Fellowship Starting July 2021


Do Hyun Kim has been awarded the GATP (Genomic Analysis and Interpretation Training Program) Fellowship starting July 1st, 2021.

The Genomic Analysis Training Program is funded by a NIH grant and supports UCLA pre-doctoral students whose goal is to conduct research in genomics. The program is designed to insure that students obtain an adequate biological, computational and statistical foundation to succeed in this interdisciplinary field. Click here for more information.

Continued Student Awards 2021-2022


Joanna Boland, PhD student, has been awarded a 2021-2022 Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship.

FSPH Schoolwide Awards 2021-2022


Crystal Shaw, PhD, has been selected to receive a Raymond Goodman Scholarship.

Douglas Morrison, PhD, has been selected by Dean Ron Brookmeyer and academic leadership from across the Fielding School as the recipient of the Carolbeth Korn Prize.

Juhyun Kim, PhD, has been selected as the recipient of the Dean's Outstanding Student Award in Biostatistics.

Qi Qian, MS, has been selected to receive a Raymond Goodman Scholarship.

Wenxi Yu, PhD, Receives a 2021 ATS Abstract Scholarship


Wenxi Yu, PhD, was selected to receive a 2021 ATS Abstract Scholarship based on the quality, as reviewed by the Assembly on Clinical Problems Program Committee Chair, of her abstract.

The abstract, titled "Developing 2D and 3D Deep Learning-Based Models for an Automated Diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Using Chest CT Scans" will appear at the 2021 conference of the American Thoracic Society (ATS).

Alum Wei Zhu Named New Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and International Programs at Stony Brook University, New York


Alum Wei Zhu, who received a PhD in Biostatistics from UCLA, was recently named the new Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and International Programs at Stony Brook University in New York. In her 24-year tenure at Stony Brook University, Dr. Zhu has graduated 54 doctoral students.

For more information, visit the link here.

PhD Student Wenxi Yu Wins Medical Imaging Cum Laude Poster Award


PhD student Wenxi Yu is selected as the Cum Laude winner of the Computer-Aided Diagnosis Poster Award for her paper, “An automatic diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) using domain knowledge-guided attention models in HRCT images”, in the SPIE Medical Imaging 2021 conference. Her work, supervised by Biostatistics faculty Professors Grace Kim and Hua Zhou, is acknowledged by a physical certificate and a cash award sponsored by Siemens Healthineers in the amount of $500 USD.

Joint UCLA-Harvard study led by PhD student Jay Xu finds substantial racial/ethnic disparities in years of potential life lost attributable to COVID-19


A joint UCLA-Harvard study, led by UCLA Biostatistics PhD student Jay Xu, quantified
racial/ethnic disparities in years of potential life lost (YPLL) attributable to COVID-19, finding a consistent pattern across states of non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics experiencing disproportionately high and non-Hispanic Whites experiencing disproportionately low COVID-19-attributable YPLL.

The team comprised of researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. UCLA faculty on the study include Tom Belin (Biostatistics), Ron Brookmeyer (Biostatistics, Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health), Marc Suchard (Biostatistics, Human Genetics, Computational Medicine) and Christina
Ramirez (Biostatistics).

Using years of potential life lost – an epidemiological quantity that measures mortality via the difference between an upper reference age (75 for this study) minus age at death if positive and 0 otherwise – to measure mortality, Xu’s team analyzed COVID-19 mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics as of December 30, 2020, characterizing YPLL-based
disparities in two ways: (1) estimating percentages of total YPLL by race/ethnicity, contrasting them with their respective percent population shares, and (2) estimating age-adjusted YPLL rate ratios (RR) – anchoring comparisons to non-Hispanic Whites – in each of 45 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.).

To estimate these quantities, an adaptation of a novel Monte Carlo simulation procedure to
quantify the uncertainty of YPLL-based estimates that was recently developed by Xu, Belin, and Ramirez [1] was used. For comparison, Xu’s team also calculated the corresponding percentages total deaths and age-adjusted mortality rate ratios. The results of the analysis revealed that racial/ethnic disparities in the COVID-19 mortality burden are generally greater in magnitude when measuring mortality in terms of YPLL compared to (age-irrespective) death
counts, reflecting the greater intensity of the disparities at younger ages. Xu’s team also found substantial state-to-state variability in the magnitudes of the estimated racial/ethnic disparities, suggesting that they are driven in large part by social determinants of health whose degree of association with race/ethnicity varies by state.

The associated paper is currently undergoing peer review, but a preliminary non-peer reviewed report is available on medRxiv, accessible here.

[1] Xu, Jay J., Thomas R. Belin, and Christina M. Ramirez. "Uncertainty quantification of years of potential life lost-based estimates from mortality data summarized as death counts within age
intervals." Annals of Epidemiology 55 (2020): 1-3. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2020.11.002

Dr. Christina Ramirez, professor in the department of Biostatistics has a new publication on PNAS


Dr. Christina Ramirez, professor in the department of Biostatistics has a new publication on PNAS.

An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19 . This paper is being coauthored with Biostatistics Ph.D. student, Gregory Watson and Professor Anne Rimoin from Epidemiology. This article was also mentioned by the New York Times.

Professor Sudipto Banerjee Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science


Professor Sudipto Banerjee was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for innovative contributions to Bayesian methodology with focus on spatially indexed information; for high-impact applications; and for educational and mentoring excellence, professional service, and academic administration. For more information, visit here.

Crystal Shaw Wins Award For Individual F31 Fellowship


Congratulations to Crystal Shaw for the National Institute of Aging (one of the branches of the National Institutes of Health) awarding $119,456 through June 2023 for an individual F31 fellowship to support Crystal's Ph.D. studies and dissertation research. The award emerged from an April 2020 grant application Crystal prepared entitled "Link, transport, integrate: a Bayesian data integration framework for scalable algorithmic dementia classification in population-representative studies".

The proposed project, which builds on her Graduate Student Researcher role with Professor Elizabeth Rose Mayeda in the UCLA Department of Epidemiology, involves using modern statistical-computing strategies to bridge multiple data sources to enhance the utility of population-based surveys for research on Alzheimer's disease and other precursors of dementia. Department of Biostatistics mentors on the project include Professor Tom Belin, Professor Donatello Telesca, and Professor and Dean Ron Brookmeyer, and Crystal also arranged for the mentorship team to include Jennifer Manly, Ph.D., a Professor of Neuropsychology in Neurology at Columbia University, an internationally recognized Alzheimer's disease researcher with specialization in the role of diagnostic tests in understanding cognition.

In her leadership role of the Biostatistics Student Association, Crystal has graciously offered to make herself available to other students who might similarly be interested in applying for similar training fellowships. So along with congratulations, thanks to you, Crystal, for your efforts on our collective behalf!

Sudipto Banerjee, Professor and Chair of the UCLA Department of Biostatistics, is now President-Elect of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA)


As elaborated at https://bayesian.org/, ISBA has emerged since its founding in 1992 as the leading professional society in the scientific community advancing Bayesian statistical methodologies, which have had a transforming impact on the field of biostatistics. ISBA has also been influential in bridging statistical science with other allied disciplines as data science has emerged as crucially important to academic and societal pursuits in the 21st century. Professor Banerjee can add this noteworthy reflection of his scientific leadership to his distinguished achievement of having been elected a Fellow of ISBA in 2018.

Ron Brookmeyer appointed as Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health


Biostatistics Professor Ronald Brookmeyer is appointed as dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, effective January 15, 2020.

Yan Wang, Biostatistics doctoral student is a recipient of The Global Alliance for Training in Health Equity Research Fellowship (GATHER)


Yan Wang, PhD student has been awarded the postdoctoral fellowship: The Global Alliance for Training in Health Equity Research Fellowship (GATHER). The program provides an immersive research experience designed to advance training and research on health disparities within and across global cities.

Christopher German, Biostatistics doctoral student is recipient of Burroughs Wellcome Fund Inter-school Training Program Fellowship


Christopher German, Biostatistics PhD doctoral student, has been selected as a 2019-2020 recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Inter-school Training Program in Chronic Diseases (BWF-CHIP). BWF-CHIP provides training in laboratory and population sciences to integrate research along the entire continuum from molecules to populations. With a team of outstanding UCLA researchers and educators at the cutting edge of their research, the program harnesses major advances in biomedical, genetic, and population sciences and focuses on the integration of these approaches. By providing foundational training and research experience in basic, clinical, and population-based approaches, trainees are being prepared to integrate population-based quantitative sciences with laboratory-based biological sciences to effectively lead cross-disciplinary studies of the future.