It's the first ever Biostats newsletter!
Dear Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Current Students:

As this is the first-ever department newsletter, I would like to say: Welcome! I am thrilled that you have been part of the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Biomathematics throughout the years. Many of you have seen our department grow from a division in the Lombardi Cancer Center to what it is today: a thriving academic department. Now, you can continue to see our department flourish by keeping up with this newsletter that will come to you once per semester. In it you will find news and photos of recent department events and adventures. In this edition, you will meet several of our new faculty members, and say farewell to our December graduating students.

And in the next edition, I would love to include you in the newsletter! Please send all of your updates and announcements to I will include the information in the next newsletter.

Best Regards,
Lindsay Seidenberg
Administrative Assistant
Welcome New Faculty!
Introducing Dr. Ming Tan, the new department Chair. He comes from University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC), where he was Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and  the UMGCC director of biostatistics since 2002. He received his Ph.D. in statistics in 1990 from Purdue University, Indiana. Dr. Tan has extensive collaborative research experience in the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials (in both multi-center and single institutional settings), laboratory investigations, biomarker evaluation, genomics and epidemiological research.

His research areas spans from clinical trial designs and monitoring, statistical methods for multidrug combinations utilizing both experimental data and pathway/system information, innovative methods to optimally design and efficiently analyze pre-clinical drug combination therapies in cancer by integrating concepts in modern statistical and number-theoretic methods and pharmacology; and high dimensional genomics data analysis in Cancer Epidemiology, all funded by the NCI and NHLBI.

In the spring semester, he will teach BIST 501: Introductory Biostatistics.
Dr. Hongbin Fang is the newest Associate Professor to the department. Prior to joining Georgetown University, he was Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. degree from Hong Kong Baptist University in 1998.  Dr. Fang conducted postdoctoral research in biostatistics at the University of Missouri-Columbia and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Dr. Fang has extensive collaborative research experience in the statistical design and analysis of laboratory, translational, clinical and epidemiological studies in cancer research. His statistical expertise includes the design and analysis of preclinical models and clinical trials, the evaluation of diagnostic tests, biomarkers and drug combinations, survival analysis, the analysis of high dimensional genomic data and statistical bioinformatics, predictive and prognostic models of cancer, longitudinal and Bayesian hierarchical/multi-level modeling and applied Bayesian methods.
Dr. Simon (Xiaogang) Zhong is a new instructor in the department. Originally he is from Beijing, China where he got his Bachelor degree in Statistics. He received his Ph.D. in Statistics from Johns Hopkins University, and he also had his postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University for two years.

His research focused on developing statistical methods and tools for analysis of high-throughput genomic and epigenomic data. He has worked extensively on gene expression microarray data from various technology platforms, genome-wide association studies of SNPs and copy number variants, enrichment of molecular pathways, impact of structural variants in the evolution of pathways and next generation sequencing data.

Dr. Zhong will teach BIST 512: Categorical Data Analysis in the spring.
Dr. Colin O. Wu is a new adjunct faculty member. He received a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of California in 1990. He has held various academic positions and taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1990-1991), the Johns Hopkins University (1991-2001), the University of Maryland, College Park (2010, 2011), and the George Washington University (2012). He has been a mathematical statistician at the National Institutes of Health since 2002, and has served as a statistical investigator for over 30 clinical trials and epidemiological studies. He is an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute and a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. Dr. Wu’s research is focused on statistical theory and methods in longitudinal analysis, genetic association studies, clinical trials and epidemiological studies.

Dr. Wu will teach BIST 513: Survival Analysis in the spring.
Alumni Feature
Alumni Deepti Reddy ('10) married Atul Sharma this summer. Read her story below of how they met:
"My classmate Beth Elston ('10) told me that her friend Atul was coming down to DC to visit, and that I should meet him.  We all met one evening, and he spent the whole time talking to her, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she was trying to set us up.  She and I tried to get him to talk to me, but he wouldn't even look at me.  To my surprise, he later asked Beth for my email address, and got in touch with me.  Two years later, she gave a toast at our wedding."
Student Feature
Two recent graduates Siwen He ('12) and Yitao Wang ('12) presented at a conference this summer. Siwen is pictured above presenting her poster to another student at the conference. Read about her experience below:
"I attended the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) conference during the 2012 summer at Long Beach, CA. My poster was chosen to be presented on the conference.
"My research is focused on Microarray data analysis. In the past two semesters, I have conducted substantial preliminary study on my project, 'Weighted Principal Component Analysis for Gene Set Enrich Analysis on Microarray Gene Expression Data,' which is also the topic of my poster. The ISMB conference is currently the largest and most comprehensive bioinformatics conference. So, this trip was a valuable experience for me to introduce and share my ideas among peer researchers. I received inspiring comments from world-class colleagues with a variety of academic and cultural backgrounds, which considerably helped me improve and refine my research. I made friends with other presenters while working as a volunteer at the conference and even joined a study group for further research discussion. I am looking forward to attending another high level conference like this in the future."
Faculty Feature
In 2012, Dr. George Luta went on two exciting trips this year: one to Japan and one to France. He is pictured here at a temple in Japan. Read below for his firsthand account of adventure:
"From April 16 to May 1, I visited RIKEN Brain Science Institute, near Tokyo and conducted research on the use of matrix/tensor factorization methods for the analysis of high-dimensional data. I found everything in Japan different but very interesting. I was amazed by how advanced technology is in Japan—in my room I had several remote controllers for the air conditioning, water temperature, etc.
"From September 2 to September 16, I went to France as a visiting researcher at IARC (International Agency for Cancer Research) in Lyon, the culinary capital of France. There, I conducted research on the association of birth order and childhood cancers. Outside of my research, I was particularly impressed by the Roman ruins, including a large amphitheater."
  • Deepti Reddi ('10):
  • Beth Elston ('10):
  • Adane Wogu ('11):,
Please consider donating to the Edmund Gehan Scholarship Fund.
For more information about the fund, click here.
To donate, click here.
Spring 2013 Seminars
  • January 11: Dr. Stephen Salzburg
  • January 28: Dr. Janet Wittes
  • February 8: Dr. Nancy Geller
  • February 22:  Dr. Timothy Lash
  • March 22:  Dr. Zhaohui Qin
  • April 12: Dr. Joseph Ibrahim
Click here for talk titles, location, and more!
Dr. Hongkun Wang gave birth to Ryan Sean on April 29, 2012.

Dr. James Li and his wife welcomed their daughter, Charlotte, into the world on July 4, 2012.

Adane Wogu ('11) is a biostatistician at the Duke School of Medicine and Duke Cancer Institute in the division of Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research in Oncology. He is also working on his Ph.D. in Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is the co-author on three upcoming papers.

Dr. Valeriy Korostyshevskiy, as a co-PI together with Dr. John VanMeter from Department of Neurology and Dr.Christopher  Albanese from the Department of Oncology, was awarded a $35,000 Partners in Research grant to investigate how the Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and predictive models can be used to determine changes in concentrations of certain metabolites in brain in reaction to a medication. The title of the project is Functional In Vivo Metabolomics, and the primary aims are to look at pediatric brain cancers and clinical depression.

Joe Maisog ('10) is
 a contract biostatistician working with NIH scientists at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research. The particular research project is called Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study.
Connect with us!
Now on Facebook: Photos from the Fall 2012 poster session.
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