Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics Newsletter

Message from the Chair

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo

Happy Spring!

I am pleased to announce the appointment of new division chiefs and vice chairs for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

As you know, DEB has been engaged in a process of examining the structures within the department and approach to faculty development and departmental leadership. Many thanks to those who participated in these discussion, to the faculty who have accepted these leadership responsibilities, and to all of our faculty who contribute to the mission of our department.

Meet our new chiefs and read more about them here.

  • Bioinformatics:
    Chief: Mark Segal '19-'20
    Chief Designate: Katie Pollard '20-'23
  • Biostatistics
    Chief: Charles McCulloch '19-'20
    Chief Designate: Mi-Ok Kim '20-'23
  • Cancer Epidemiology
    Chief: John Witte '19-'22
  • Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Research
    Chief: Jeffrey Martin '19-'22
  • Infectious Disease and Global Epidemiology
    Chief: George Rutherford '19-'22
  • Lifecourse Epidemiology
    Chief: Dennis Black '19-'20
    Chief Designate: Maria Glymour '20-'23
  • Vice Chairs
    June Chan (Education) '19-'20
    John Witte (Faculty Development) '19-'20
    Charles McCulloch (Finance) '19-'20



DEB Cancer Division

The DEB Cancer Division is one of the best in the country, says John Witte, division chief. Read about some of the division’s recent work in the first of an occasional series of division profiles.

Implementation Science

The department is offering a new Implementation Science short course from May 16 to 18. The three-day course is an introduction to understanding and applying key concepts of Implementation Science in a small group setting with individualized attention. Learn more here.

Cool Campus Challenge

Join the UC-wide Cool Campus Challenge, a fun competition among all ten UC campuses to reduce carbon emissions. Sign up on the Cool Campus Challenge website, earn points by making small changes, watching videos and other activities to help UCSF become the coolest campus and win prizes! The challenge runs through April 26.

More News:

  • John Kornak has been designated to lead a new Data Science initiative with the goal of producing a new Master’s degree in Data Science for the Biomedical Sciences. This program will focus on courses on machine-learning methods, simulation methods, R programming and data cleaning. However, the program will also incorporate many of the biostatistics and epidemiology courses in the TICR program to provide the biomedical underpinnings. It is hoped that over the next few years the program will progress from a track in the TICR program, to a separate certification program, and finally a full Master’s degree.
  • A group of UCSF lifestyle researchers, led by Dr. Stacey Kenfield and including Dr. Erin Van Blarigan, Dr. June Chan and PhD student Crystal Langlais, competed and was selected for the National Cancer Institute’s 2019 SPRINT program (Speeding Research-tested INTerventions), aimed at adapting and translating cancer control interventions into practice. The program trains behavioral and population scientists to adapt and translate interventions into real-world settings, provides guidance and mentorship to hone ideas and refine interventions, and provides feedback on how to move forward with dissemination. The training program will be held in May-June 2019.
  • Optimizing Intervention Portfolios to Achieve Global Health Goals is the topic for the Sixth Annual Global Health Economics Colloquium scheduled for May 3. Harvard University Professor Margaret Kruk, chair of the Lancet Commission on High Quality Health is the keynote speaker. To learn more and register here.
  • On April 4, Scarlett Gomez led a National Cancer Institute webinar on Emerging and Persistent Cancer Health Disparities in Asian-American Populations as part of the NCI’s webinar series in cancer epidemiology research on understudied populations.
  • Congratulations to the following faculty and staff who have reached UCSF service milestones:
    • Ross D Boylan – 15 years
    • Ingrid Chen – 5 years
    • Nadia Diamond-Smith – 5 years
    • Maria Glymour – 5 years
    • Alisha Holloway – 5 years
    • Warren Huang – 20 years
    • Rachel King – 10 years
    • Maria Teresa Klemm – 10 years
    • John Kornak – 15 years
    • Tracy Lieu – 5 years
    • David McFarland – 10 years
    • Dominic Montagu –15 years
    • Caroline Navy – 10 years
    • John Neuhaus –35 years
    • Mark Pletcher – 20 years
    • Katie Pollard – 10 years
    • Starley Shade –20 years
    • Sean Thomas – 5 years
    • John Witte –15 years
    • Lucy Wu – 10 years
    • Lydia Zablotska – 10 years
    Faculty were honored at a special event on March 28, and staff will be honored at an event on May 10.
  • Please welcome new faculty and staff who have joined the department since February:
    • Joseph Engeda, postdoc working with Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo
    • Kyoung Min Kim, visiting fellow from Korea working with the San Francisco Coordinating Center
    • Richard Kim, financial analyst working with David McFarland and the DEB financial analyst team
    • Vladimir Kogan, data analyst working with Lydia Zablotska
    • Jaime Orozco, clinical research coordinator working with Madelaine Faulkner and Mark Pletcher
    • Soo Park, clinical research coordinator working with Madelaine Faulkner and Mark Pletcher
    • Dawn Pearson, data analyst working with Iona Cheng and the DREAMLAB
    • Anna Rubinsky, statistical analyst working with Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo
    • Jesse Zanker, visiting postdoctoral fellow from Australia working for 6 weeks with the San Francisco Coordinating Center

If you have news or honors you’d like to submit for an upcoming newsletter, send an email with the details to Anne Wolf.



  • Statistical and Computational Methods for Integrative Analysis of Non-Coding Variation
    Zihuai He, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Stanford University
    Wednesday, April 10, 3 – 4 pm
    Mission Hall 2700
  • The Possibility of Assumption Free Confidence Intervals for Causal Effects after fitting of the Propensity Score and the Outcome Regression with Machine Learning
    James Robins, MD, Harvard University TH Chan School of Public Health
    Tuesday, April 30, 2 – 5 pm
    Rock Hall 102
  • Resident Research Symposium
    Monday, May 13, 4 – 7 pm
    Mission Hall, Rooms 1400 and 1401/02


See the full list of faculty publications for February and March here.