Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics Newsletter

Message from the Chair

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo

Happy Lunar New Year!

We begin the Year of the Pig with

  • Our selection of new students for our PhD program
  • The launch of new structures within our department that will bring opportunities for leadership, growth and new initiatives
  • And a new website where you can find out more about everything happening in DEB. Here are the "From the Chair" remarks from the website. New content continues to be added and updated, so I invite you to learn more about our faculty, our educational programs and upcoming new initiatives.

Finally, just in case you need to be reminded of all of the many ways in which epidemiology and biostatistics can help you in your daily lives, please check out Elaine Allen's new publication with advice on how to win in fantasy basketball using the numbers.



Iryna Lobach

Over the past year, Iryna Lobach has published a series of four, first-authored methodological studies for assessing gene-environment interactions (G × E) in genome-wide association studies when a subset of the controls has silent, or undiagnosed, disease; and when multiple disease states share a clinical diagnosis. The studies show that using clinically diagnosed case-control status without accounting for uncertainty in the clinical-pathological diagnoses relationship can lead to biased estimates of the G × E. They then develop a pseudolikelihood approach to remove the bias and accurately estimate how the relationship between the genetic variant and the true disease status varies by the environmental variable in application to prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. See the publications below.

African women

The Global Strategic Information (GSI) group at the Institute for Global Health Sciences, led by George Rutherford, has been awarded a multimillion-dollar, five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement routine testing for recent HIV infection to determine when, where and how participants contracted HIV/AIDS and to work with local partners to build capacity in laboratory and health information systems (HIS). GSI was awarded $3.65 million for the first year, and up to $10 million per year over the five-year project period. Read more here.

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo

In case you missed it: Department Chair Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo and colleague Dhruv Kazi talk about their just-in-time analysis of the cost-effectiveness of Alirocumab in this video: You can read the paper at

More News:

  • “Machine Learning in R for the Biomedical Sciences” (Biostat 216) is a new TICR course being offered in the spring quarter. This course is designed to give a thorough grounding for understanding and applying machine learning methods with an emphasis on applications in the clinical sciences. It covers established methods in the fields of prediction (including classification and regression), pattern recognition and data reduction. Faculty will provide guidance on choosing machine learning methods and careful implementation with due consideration for validation. John Kornak directs the course, and Mark Segal, Adam Olshen, Gilmer Valdes and Efstathios Gennatas are contributing lecturers.
  • Elaine Allen was named CTSI Statistical Consultant of the Year for 2018. This is the fourth time in six years that she has received this award.
  • Congratulations to Ryan Edwards on the birth of Calliope Reyes Edwards-Hargreaves, born Jan. 14
  • Please welcome our newest employees, who have joined the department since November 2018:
    Sarah Ackley, postdoc working with Maria Glymour
    Erin Esaryk, student intern working with Suzanna Martinez
    Ryan Edwards, research data analyst working with Jackie Torres
    Susan Hennessy, postdoc working with Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo
    Anna Rubinsky, research/statistical analyst working with Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo
    Byron Smith, postdoc working with Katie Pollard
    William Wolf, data center technician working with Alaric Battle

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



  • The Future of Sleep Medicine
    Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Stanford University
    Friday, Feb. 8, 1 to 2 pm, MH-1407
  • Application Deadline for IMPACT and Learning Health Systems K12 programs
    Feb. 11, 11:59 pm
    More about the programs: and
  • Precision Medicine and Machine Learning
    Annual Invited Lecture in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
    Michael R. Kosorok, W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor and Chair of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Wednesday, Feb. 13, 3 pm, MH-2700
  • Quantitative Bias Analysis
    Epidemiological Tools Seminar
    Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
    Thursday, Feb. 14, 1 pm to 4:30 pm
  • Computational Health Economics and Outcomes
    Epidemiological Tools Seminar
    Sherri Rose, associate professor of biostatistics, Harvard Medical School
    Monday, Feb. 18, 12 to 5 pm, MH-1407


Iryna Lobach series of methodological studies:

See the full list of faculty publications for November, 2018 through January 22, 2019 here.