Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics Newsletter

Message from the Chair

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo

Friends and Colleagues –

My first month as chair has been a full and exciting one, with highlights including:

  • Meeting one-on-one with many of you to learn about your work, your interests, and suggestions for the department
  • Having drinks (just tea and sparkling water) with our phenomenal PhD students who impressed me with their passion and thoughtfulness about their future and that of our field
  • Stressing out about a Halloween costume (since I never, ever dress for this holiday)

As we look to the last two months of the year, I’m excited to continue our discussions about how to make DEB at UCSF the best place to work, study and learn. To help further these discussions, I’m asking that you participate in a survey that will go out early next week to all faculty, staff, students and post docs. I appreciate that surveys like this take time, but I encourage you to share your ideas and write as much (or as little) as you like. You have my promise that I will read every word and that the survey will be anonymous. The survey results will guide some of our future discussions, including those at the faculty retreat on November 29th at Fort Mason.

Campaign T-shirtsThe work of DEB is essential to many initiatives at UCSF, and I would like to draw your attention to the launch of the UCSF Capital Campaign on October 27 at the Chancellor’s State of the University address. The $5 billion target of the campaign is the largest in UCSF’s history, but this audacious goal is essential to UCSF’s future, particularly because of its goal of increasing financial support for faculty and students.

The Campaign has some neat branding and pretty cool t-shirts. I’m happy to offer t-shirts to anyone with an interest, and Kristen will be in touch with more details. I hope you will wear it proudly and share your stories with others about our work at UCSF.

More to come – Happy November!



Eric Vittinghoff and Megha Mehrotra

Megha Mehrotra, third-year PhD student, received the 2nd annual Vittinghoff Innovation Award recognizes clinical, epidemiologic, or translational health research by a trainee. She also earned Best Student/Postdoc Poster honors at the Society of Epidemiological Research annual meeting.

Chuck McCulloch

Chuck McCulloch, PhD, Biostatistics division head, received the Distinguished Statistical Science Alumni Award from Cornell University and returned to Cornell to give a talk on “small thoughts on Big Data” at their annual Statistics Day. You can read a nice interview with Chuck on the Cornell Statistical Science website.

Jimmie Ye

Jimmie Ye, PhD, received one of the first grants awarded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. His grant, part of the Human Cell Atlas, a global collaboration to map and characterize all cells in a healthy human body, concerns evaluating methods of blood cell sampling to facilitate greater scale and understanding of inter-individual variability.

More News:

  • The School of Medicine is embarking on a strategic planning process to ensure that UCSF School of Medicine continues to thrive and provide solutions to some of the most challenging problems in medicine and science. Please look at the list of steering committee members and working group members and reach out to your colleagues to share your ideas. Or join us for an open session for staff on 11/17 from 10:30 to 11:30 am or for faculty on 11/28 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. If you have other thoughts about big, bold ways our school can share the future of medicine, please send them to Stephanie Belger.
  • One outcome of the UCSF campaign planning is the assessment that UCSF has not been great at trumpeting our accomplishments, preferring instead to be “quietly amazing.” To tell the stories of the work DEB does at UCSF in new and better ways, contact Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo if you have thoughts on telling these stories and in particular DEB’s role in the work at UCSF. The Campaign is focused on three themes – decoding life to improve health, leveraging discovery to revolutionize care, and partnering to achieve health equity – and DEB’s work contributes to each of these.
  • Please welcome Chiung-Yu Huang, PhD, who recently joined the Biostatistics division. She comes to DEB from Johns Hopkins University. She has extensive experience in the statistical analysis of survival outcomes, recurrent events, competing risks, longitudinal measurements, missing data, and monitoring of clinical trials. Additional new faculty were announced previously.
  • Dennis Black, PhD, received two awards this year: the Excellence in Research Award from the European Calcified Tissue Society, and the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research Frederic C. Bartter Award in recognition of outstanding clinical investigation in disorders of bone and mineral metabolism.

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


  • Mastering Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect
    Wednesday, Nov. 15, 1-4 pm
    Joshua Angrist, PhD, Ford Professor of Economics, MIT
  • Core Epidemiology Methods Journal Club: Continuous Outcome
    Friday, Nov. 17, 10-11 am
    Ekland Abdiwahab, MPH, Graduate Student Lead
  • DEB Seminar with Sunmin Lee, ScD, Associate Professor, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of Maryland School of Public Health
    Friday, Nov. 17, 12-1 pm
  • Coffee with Kirsten
    Monday, Nov. 27, 9 to 10:30 am
    Mission Hall Huddle Room 2811
  • Faculty Retreat
    Wednesday, Nov. 29
    Fort Mason
  • Holiday Party
    Friday, Dec. 15, noon
    Mission Hall, 2nd and 3rd floor