We are pleased to announce the promotion of Dr. Simon Vandekar (left, with VN-Biostat fellows Rukayya Alkassim and Safiya Sada Sani and perhaps a future biostatistician) to associate professor of biostatistics (investigator track, with tenure), effective as of February 1. A graduate of Penn State (BS, psychology) and the University of Pennsylvania (PhD, biostatistics), Dr. Vandekar joined our department in 2018. He is best known for his methodological research in the analysis of neuroimaging data. He has developed robust intermodal and group-level inference procedures for neuroimaging and more recently has focused on the development and inference of a robust effect size index (RESI). Upon joining VUMC, he also began developing statistical methods for analyzing multiplexed immunofluorescence (mIF) imaging. His methodological research is supported by a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) R01 grant and an internal Gastrointestinal Specialized Program of Research Excellence (GI SPORE) career enhancement award.
As of this writing, Dr. Vandekar has published nearly 70 papers in top-tier journals (with at least 12 as first or senior author), including Journal of the American Statistical Association, Biostatistics, Biometrics, Journal of Neuroscience, NeuroImage, Bioinformatics, Cell, and Science. He has given more than 20 invited talks nationally and at international biostatistics conferences. His primary area of collaboration is in psychiatry, with a particular emphasis on neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Vandekar serves as director of graduate recruitment and was named Outstanding Faculty Mentor in 2021. His extramural activities include program chair responsibilities for the Section on Statistics in Imaging of the American Statistical Association (ASA; 2020–2022), organizing the Statistical Methods in Imaging Conference (2022), and leading the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the ASA as its president (2021–2023).