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Week of April 22, 2013

New center to focus on the statistics of cancer research

As cancer research has become more complex, requiring advanced statistical analysis of data, collaboration between cancer researchers and statistical researchers has become ever more critical.

As a result, the School of Public Health will establish a Center for Cancer Biostatistics within the Department of Biostatistics.

“The center will be a focal point for biostatistical research and analysis in cancer,” said Trivellore Raghunathan, chair and professor in the Department of Biostatistics.

The center will involve collaboration among faculty, staff and students from SPH and the Comprehensive Cancer Center. Raghunathan announced the work would be led by Jeremy Taylor, the Pharmacia Research Professor of Biostatistics, professor of radiation oncology and professor of computational medicine and bioinformatics at the Medical School.

“Jeremy is an extraordinary leader in methodologic biostatistics, oncology and HIV science,” said SPH Dean Martin Philbert. “The school is very fortunate to have him lead this effort.”

Taylor said a less formal association between SPH and the Cancer Center has been under way for years, but the new center will help “stimulate more collaboration and greatly improve the outcomes of cancer research.”

“The data coming out of cancer research today requires statistical involvement at all levels,” Taylor said.

He said current collaborative projects include work on prostate, lung, colon and breast cancer, as well grant projects that are looking at cancer biomarkers, design of clinical studies and the impact of missing data on cancer research.

Taylor is the winner of the Michael Fry Award from the Radiation Research Society, the Mortimer Spiegelman Award from the American Public Health Association, and the Centers for Disease Control Statistical Science Award for Best Theoretical Paper.

He has served as a fellow of the American Statistical Association, an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and a former chair of the ASA Biometrics Section. He chaired the National Institutes of Health Biostatistical Methods & Research Design study section. He currently is a coordinating editor of the journal Biometrics. Taylor has published more than 250 scientific papers.

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