About the Department

As members of the Vanderbilt Department of Biostatistics, we are statistical data scientists working on the forefront of biomedical research and contributing to the body of knowledge in medicine. Our faculty are independent researchers in the methods of biostatistics. Equally important, we collaborate with medical researchers, bringing statistical expertise along with curiosity about diseases, treatments, patient outcomes, and biology. Though biostatisticians at Vanderbilt occasionally provide short-term consultation with physician-scientists, we emphasize thematic long-term collaborations that advance medical science.

 

Specific Goals

  • Our methodologic research is state of the art while solving real-world problems
  • We develop or choose flexible experimental designs, to enhance the ethical conduct of research, to do research in a more cost-effective way, and to produce evidence stated directly in terms of biological or medical relevance
  • We apply modern statistical and data science methods to everyday problems
  • Our biostatisticians are fully integrated into the research program of other departments in the School of Medicine, through participation in journal clubs and research conferences, teaching, and other activities appropriate to the collaboration
  • Faculty and staff statisticians respond to a wide variety of funding opportunities
  • We run a first-class graduate program based on modern methods of applied statistics and data science that emphasizes new flexible and robust analytic methods; a variety of approaches for dealing with messy data due to noncompliance, missing data, treatment selection bias in observational studies, and strange distributions; and highly flexible, sequential, adaptive experimental designs.
  • We develop statistical and data science methodology with a focus on problem-solving rather than mathematical elegance

 

Approaches

  • Implement the most modern analytical methods utilizing modern the most modern statistical computing tools
  • Practice reproducible research
  • Strive for thematic long-term collaborations that advance medical science
  • Emphasize the use of open source software, and give back to the computing and scientific open communities in recognition for what those communities have given to us

 

What We Offer

Motivated by improving public health and enhancing understanding of biology, we

  • Optimize biological and medical measurements
  • Design experiments, in a highly interactive fashion with investigators
  • Enhance data acquisition
  • Account for as many sources of variation as possible
  • Normalize and adjust for background information, building these adjustments into the primary analysis when possible
  • Rigorously analyze associations
  • Rigorously validate predictions and models
  • Interpret results and promote their application to clinical practice and biologic research
  • Assist in making experimentation on humans and animals as ethical as possible
  • Assist in the formation and operation of collaborative groups to help sustain flexibility and discipline of thought and to overcome confirmation bias