Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics Newsletter

Message from the Chair

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo

Dear DEB friends and colleagues,

This newsletter is filled with congratulations: faculty promotions and awards, staff STAR awards, retirements and more. Please read below for all of the details, and congratulations to all awardees!

June is the time for graduations, so I want recognize the more than 60 people who completed a degree or certificate programs in our department. We offer certificates in Advanced Training in Clinical Research and in Implementation Sciences, and recently launched a well-attended short course in Implementation Sciences as well.

Below are those who received their PhDs in Epidemiology and Translational Research and those, pictured below, who received their Master in Clinical Research at commencement ceremonies earlier this week. Congratulations to the graduates!

Masters Graduates PhD degrees:

  • Josh Demb
  • Steven Asiimwe
  • Megha Mehrotra

Master's in Advanced Studies, Clinical Research:

  • Rashed AlRasheed
  • Ammar Asban
  • Lauren Catherine Foster
  • Janet Y. Lee (not pictured)
  • Scott Lu
  • Maria Elizabeth Mercado
  • Matthew Nudelman
  • Mónica Ospina Romero
  • J. Eduardo Rodriguez Almaraz
  • Andrew Yang
  • Samuel Zetumer (not pictured)

Summer is almost upon us, so I hope you take some time to relax and enjoy some time away. The newsletter will take a hiatus until September.



Biostatistics Division

The Biostatistics Division faculty are some of the most sought-after collaborators on campus, while also conducting research that contributes to their field. Learn more about the division here.

Paul Wesson

Paul Wesson, PhD, was recently named a Watson Scholar and will join the department faculty on July 1. Read more about Paul and the other department Watson Scholar nominees.


Congratulations to the following faculty who have recently been promoted:
Iona Cheng to full professor
Iryna Lobach to associate professor
Erin Van Blarigan to associate professor

More News:

  • The department has entered a new partnership with the Department of Surgery to provide biostatistics support to Surgery’s Research Biostats Core. Chiung-Yu Huang and Chengshi Jin will provide biostatistical services to residents and unfunded faculty seeking to assemble pilot data to inform grant submissions.
  • June Chan received a Cancer League award of $49,419 to conduct a project called: "Insulin regulation and metabolism and prostate tumor aggressiveness."
  • Awards
    Congratulations to the following staff who recently received STAR Spot Awards:
    • Chris Duffy for her contributions to the transition of the Dream Lab group from CPIC to UCSF.
    • Susan Ewing for exceptional contributions as a data manager to the DXA QA team.
    • Alice Fishman for her work on the One Big Idea Open Proposal contest
    • Jennifer Jain for an exemplary job helping meet deadlines on various projects, while juggling multiple large GIS studies.
    • Felix Liu for his work as a member of the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics Diversity Committee.
    • Alberto Lopez for the work on the faculty tracking system.
    • Julie Nagle for her work on the DEB website redesign.
    • Anil Narayan for his work on the transition of the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry from CPIC to UCSF.
  • Congratulations also go out to David McFarland and Susan Rubin who received STAR Achievement Awards.
    • David, finance manager for the department, was nominated for his modeling of PRIDE values for his team and the DEB overall. In addition, his focus on the Chancellor’s priorities of promoting continuous learning and professional development for his staff has resulted in great improvements in staff performance and increased engagement.
    • Susan was nominated for her work during this past year with the hiring and onboarding of more than 65 new faculty, non-faculty academics and staff. (She also manages our space, oversees our research operations and is the senior project manager in our San Francisco Coordinating Center.) Susan exemplifies UCSF’s PRIDE values and is committed to the Chancellor’s priority of Equity and Inclusion.
  • Retirements
    Two department members will be retiring in the next couple of months:
    • Peter Bacchetti, professor in the Biostatistics Division, will retire at the end of June and then return in a recall position in August.
    • Anne Wolf, communications manager, ends her UCSF tenure on July 31.
  • Adjunct faculty member, Dr. Frits van Griensven, recently was knighted in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands. This Royal Honor was bestowed upon him in recognition of his extraordinary achievements in the field of HIV epidemiology and prevention and contributions to the health of marginalized populations around the globe. Founded by King Willem I in 1815, the Order in the Lion of the Netherlands is the oldest and highest civilian order of chivalry in the Netherlands.

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



  • Stronger There, Safer Here: A Photo Exhibition Opening Reception
    Wednesday, June 12, 5:00 to 7:00pm
    Mission Hall Atrium
    The exhibition, which runs through July 30, highlights USAID’s response to the Zika virus epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean. The opening reception features brief talks by Christina Chappell, deputy director of the Office of Infectious Disease, USAID; Nevan Krogan, director of the Quantitative Biosciences Institute at UCSF; and, George Rutherford, professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and director of Global Strategic Information at IGHS. Please register here.
  • Interventions to Mitigate the Impact of HIV in Key Populations in Sub-Saharan Africa
    Friday, June 14, 12:30 to 2 pm
    Stephen Asiimwe, MD, PhD candidate


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