Fei Ye selected as 2024 Fellow of the American Statistical Association

We are thrilled to share the news that Fei Ye, professor of biostatistics and medicine on the Basic Science Educator track, has been selected as a 2024 Fellow of the American Statistical Association. The designation of ASA Fellow honors members of the association who have made outstanding contributions to statistical science. The process of being considered for ASA fellowship is exceptionally competitive, with very few honorees chosen among many highly qualified nominees. Dr. Ye, whose induction will take place during the Joint Statistical Meetings in Portland, Oregon, this August, is being recognized "for pioneering contributions to biomedical research, including statistical and bioinformatic methods, innovations in clinical trial design and analysis, and a deeper understanding of biomarkers, plus impactful collaborations and mentoring."

Dr. Ye earned her MSPH and PhD from the University of South Carolina and joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a staff biostatistician in 2006. Her current roles include serving as vice chair of collaborative studies for the department of biostatistics, and assistant editor for statistics with JAMA Oncology. Her statistical prowess has been a game-changer for dozens of research programs, both in terms of securing large grants and providing predictive models, diagnostic algorithms, and sophisticated data analyses to the investigations in question. In the words of Dr. Vivian Weiss, head of the high-impact translational research Weiss Lab, Dr. Ye's contributions "are paving the way for dramatic changes in the way we take care of thyroid cancer patients"; these include validating a commercial molecular diagnostic assay for children, developing a molecular assay for outcome prediction in adults, and setting in motion other novel strategies for assessing malignancies and their potential origins. Dr. Ye has also been at the forefront of discussions on liver allocation, with an eye toward addressing health inequity concerns in organ transplant policy and practice, as well as a go-to collaborator for a wide range of topics and conditions, from original research on atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation, diverticulitis, multiple sclerosis, and more, to observations on surgical practice and ethics. She is also a trusted expert on statistical considerations for the design and implementation of clinical trials.

With Vanderbilt epidemiologist Dr. Jirong Long, Dr. Ye is Multiple Principal Investigator (MPI) of a pioneering investigation—the first large multi-racial methylation-wide association study (MeWAS)—that combines integrative bioinformatics, functional experiments, and high statistical power to expand and refine our understanding of the role DNA methylation plays in cancer development. Dr. Ye has also designed advanced modules for Vanderbilt’s Epidemiology PhD program, and she is on the faculty of the Vanderbilt Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer (MAGEC) Training Program. International initiatives that have called on Dr. Ye’s experience include the Vietnam National Cancer Institute (VNCI) and Vinmec International Hospital, as well as the Vanderbilt-Zambia Cancer Research Training Program. A past president of the ASA's Middle Tennessee chapter, Dr. Ye is currently program chair of the ASA's Statistics in Epidemiology Section and poster chair for the 2024 International Chinese Statistical Association's Applied Statistics Symposium, which will convene in Nashville this June.

Fei Ye (center), flanked by lead biostatistician Amy Perkins and application developer Hui Wu at the department's January 2024 winter celebration.

Panpan Zhang named to ADRC Data Core Steering Committee

Panpan Zhang (right, in Vanderbilt hoodie), assistant professor of biostatistics and neurology, has been named the first-ever Early Career Representative on the Data Core Steering Committee of the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center, which is the Alzheimer's disease research center program of the National Institute on Aging. Committee members serve three-year terms. Dr. Zhang is on the Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer's Center faculty, Local Committee co-chair for the 2024 International Chinese Statistical Association's Applied Statistics Symposium, co-chair of the 2025 Institute of Mathematical Statistics' New Researchers Conference, and associate editor of Journal of Data Science and Methodology and Computing in Applied Probability.  

Staff and faculty at Adele's for 2023 winter celebration


A genomics publication hat trick

For the third year in a row, a paper co-authored by assistant in biostatistics and director of informatics software development Shawn Garbett has been identified as one of the year's most significant publications in genomic medicine implementation. The Genomic Medicine Working Group of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) named "Population genomic screening for three common hereditary conditions: A cost-effectiveness analysis" one of 2023's ten key advances in its annual literature review. Professor Jonathan Schildcrout contributed to the article's conception, design, and revision, as well as statistical expertise. The study is discussed further in a feature by the Department of Health Policy

In 2022, Garbett and his colleagues were commended for "Cost-effectiveness of population-wide genomic screening for Lynch syndrome in the United States." In 2021, the working group highlighted "Cost-effectiveness of population-wide genomic screening for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in the United States" as one of the year's most noteworthy studies.

Figure 1. Conceptual diagram of decision analytic model structure showing identification of a variant, receipt of recommended interventions, and clinical eventsFigure 1. Conceptual diagram of decision analytic model structure, showing identification of a variant, receipt of recommended interventions, and clinical events. In "Population genomic screening for three common hereditary conditions: A cost-effectiveness analysis" (Annals of Internal Medicine 2023).

Garbett and Schildcrout are faculty biostatisticians on projects with the Vanderbilt Biostatistics Data Coordinating Center.