Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Significant Accomplishments

Research Contributions Grow 20 Percent

Our faculty and staff contributed to 135 scientific articles, 20 percent more than in 2012. Collaborative papers ranged across all pediatric subspecialties, including 31 published in journals with an impact factor of 5.0 or higher and 15 that involved novel quantitative methods. DBE faculty or staff members were first authors of 19. Overall, we participated in 100 active research grants and contracts, with annual direct costs totaling $38M.

Our faculty led independent research in statistical methods development and application and in areas of epidemiologic research. Examples include the NSF grant “Extension of Censored Quantile and Empirical Likelihood” led by Mi-Ok Kim, PhD; the biostatistical core of the NIH grant “Hemorrhagic & Ischemic Stroke Among Blacks & Whites," led by Jane Khoury, PhD; the HRSA grant “Impact of Cognition on Language in Pediatric Hearing Loss,” led by Jareen Meinzen-Derr, PhD; and the NIH grant “Neurobehavioral and Neuroimaging Effects of Traffic Exposure in Children,” led by Patrick Ryan, PhD, MS.

Educational Leadership Includes New Fellowships in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Our faculty taught in the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Arts and Sciences, and the MS program in Clinical Science. Six graduate students participated in the Graduate Statistics Internship Program led by Bin Huang, PhD, and Siva Sivaganesan, PhD, UC Department of Mathematical Sciences, which benefitted  research projects in eight divisions at Cincinnati Children’s.

We mentor post-doctoral Fellows in Pediatrics and Environmental Health. We also developed the curriculum and selected initial candidates for new fellowships in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Pediatrics. Richard Ittenbach, PhD, PSTAT, led the work of the CCTST in empirical bioethics, facilitating the development of this field across the UC academic medical center. A recent conference on Empirical Bioethics: Emerging Trends for the 21st Century,’ drew 109 attendees from 10 states.

Faculty and Staff Growth Continues

We recruited five new faculty this year. Lin Fei, PhD, is a statistician with a 20-year career in the pharmaceutical industry whose research interests include ranking and selection problems and multiple testing problems in bioequivalence studies, categorical data analysis and power assessment, stochastic curtailment, and Bayesian evaluation of efficacy and safety measures. Shelley Ehrlich, MD, PhD, is an obstetrician-gynecologist and environmental epidemiologist whose research has focused on environmental exposures to endocrine disruptors.  Katherine Bowers, PhD, is a genetic epidemiologist whose research interests include autism spectrum disorders and the impact of diabetes on pregnancy.  Ping-I (Daniel) Lin, MD, PhD, is a psychiatrist and genetic epidemiologist whose research interests include autism spectrum disorders and bipolar disorder. And Nicholas Ollberding, PhD, is a nutritional epidemiologist with a focus on the role of diet in cancer etiology and survival, dietary assessment and molecular epidemiology.

We added 17 talented professionals in staff positions. Additions include Vadim Tantsyura, MS, MA, our new Director of Data Management. Vadim was a leader in clinical data management in industry, and has done research on electronic data capture, data quality, and cost-effectiveness. Ted Folger, PhD, is an epidemiologist who leads analysis of the large database maintained by the Every Child Succeeds program and a new collaboration with the Hamilton County Department of Health. Jennifer Collins, MPH, is an epidemiologist with research interests in family planning and reproductive health.  We also took responsibility for the data management and statistical support staff of the Heart Institute: Philip Khoury, MS, has extensive experience in statistical methods and epidemiology of cardiovascular disease; Zhiqian Gao, PhD, MSPH, has expertise in structural equation modeling and longitudinal mixed models in preventive cardiology; Amita Mirani, MBA, is a data manager with experience in multi-center clinical trial studies and clinical data management systems.

Demand Grows for Data Management Support and Statistical Consulting

Our 24-member Data Management Center (DMC), led by Tantsyura and Rachel Akers, MPH, supported 60 studies, up from 45 in FY 2012. We assist with grant application and protocol review, budgeting for data management, case report form design, database development, discrepancy management, data cleaning and preparation for analysis. We acquired Medidata Rave, the industry leading electronic data capture system, to enhance our  data management support abilities.  We also implemented 12 standard operating procedures (SOP) that govern DMC data management processes. 

Our Biostatistical Consulting Unit (BCU) supported 120 projects in 19 divisions. Mekibib Altaye, PhD, Director, and Matthew Fenchel, MS, Manager, lead a staff of four statisticians whose focus is to ensure appropriate use of statistical methods in research design and data analysis.

Our Scale Development Unit (SDU) supported 19 studies. We assist investigators with grant and protocol development, validation studies, norms development, manuscript review and measurement consulting. Richard Ittenbach, PhD, PSTAT, is Director, and Resmi Gupta, MA, MS, biostatistician, and Alison Kissling, MLIS, research librarian and informationist, are the scientific staff.