The Department of Biostatistics at VUMC was established in 2003. The department offers a full array of biostatistics, bioinformatics, and data management expertise, with an emphasis on long-term collaborative relationships with physician-scientists and other investigators in advancing biomedical knowledge and personalized health. Our faculty and staff work closely and extensively with biomedical research personnel around the world to develop novel statistical and bioinformatic methods and tools, and to address complex questions with reproducible research and rigorous analysis.
The department is home to the Biostatistics Collaboration Center (a recharge center), the Center for Quantitative Sciences, and VANGARD (Vanderbilt Technologies for Advanced Genomics Analysis and Research Design). In addition, we operate the Data Science Shared Resource for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, the Statistics and Methodology Core for Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, and the Biostatistics Shared Resource for the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) Methods program. Our personnel consist of 52 primary faculty; more than 45 biostatisticians, health services research analysts, and statistical genetic analysts; 14 information technology (IT) staff members; and 10 administrative team members. Our graduate program is ranked 13th in the nation and has awarded more than 50 master’s and doctoral degrees since its founding in 2011, with many alumni now rising stars in academia and industry.
Information Technology: The department’s application and cloud computing developers, project managers, and quality assurance analysts collaborate with biostatisticians and biomedical researchers to build and leverage IT solutions for data collection and statistical analysis, including popular open-source packages at CRAN, GitHub, and elsewhere. Our team’s broad range of skills facilitate their integration into biomedical research groups: these include a wide array of programming languages and techniques to support database design, statistical programming, web applications, and high-performance computing. Team members have extensive experience in organizing and assembling information from disparate sources into analysis-ready data sets and are committed to compliance with data privacy rules and regulations.
Computing Environment: Our high-performance network includes well-equipped workstations and laptops on System76 (Linux), Dell (Windows), or Apple (macOS) hardware with Intel Core i7 processors or better, 16 GB of memory or more, and at least 500 GB of disk space. Virtualization enhances hardware utility through software such as Docker (for containerized application development), as well as virtual machines spun up for specific environment and software needs. Users have access to common software for document development, project management, and communication, as well as powerful applications for specialized work. The R package for statistical computing and graphics is installed on all faculty and technical staff workstations. Workstations and network storage spaces are backed up on a regular basis. All computers are connected to the Vanderbilt campus network, which provides high-speed access to Internet-based services and resources. Finally, department members have access to computing clusters such as ACCRE (Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education), cloud-based platforms (e.g., AWS, GCP, MS Azure), and internationally acclaimed survey and data capture instruments such as REDCap (invented by a department member). VUMC’s primary file-sharing, storage, and collaboration platform is OneDrive for Business, with other services and repositories utilized as appropriate.
Security Statement: In conjunction with VUMC Enterprise Cybersecurity and its ExpeditionTech initiative, the department continually upgrades our modern technology environment with multiple layers of protection. The department and VUMC vigilantly guard against attacks and breaches through anti-virus and anti-spyware solutions, perimeter and data center–specific firewalls, multi-factor authentication, SSL encryption, HTTP Strict Transport Security, and other safety measures, along with active communications to all members about prevention and compliance. Granular permissions and role-based security settings on department machines and servers ensure that authenticated users access only authorized content. Access to within-network resources from external locations requires use of VUMC’s VPN (Virtual Private Network) system or the SSH network protocol for secure data transmission.