"My research assistantship in PCOR [Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research] was an indispensable experience to my career path. During two years, I worked extensively with clinical researchers in various areas of expertise. The projects in which I was involved included cancer survivorship, epidemiology, and health services. My work focused on statistical hypotheses formulation, data preparation, model building, and result discussion. Besides these responsibilities, my mentor, Dr. Laud, also encouraged me to read grant proposals to gain a better understanding of clinical research, and be able to find and generate new statistical methods to better fit the clinical concerns. I believe the experience made me connect tightly to the applications and, thus, made me be a better statistician. I sincerely appreciated PCOR providing with me such great opportunities and a great learning environment.
Dr. Laud was my dissertation advisor as well. My dissertation is about regression on cumulative incidence function under competing risks setting using Bayesian nonparametric approach. In the medical field, patients may have several possible failure risks, but fail due to only one of them. For instance, elderly breast cancer patients may die from breast cancer itself, but may die from other medical conditions, e.g., cardiovascular disease. This is called a competing risks setting. Under such a setting, cumulative incidence function is a measurement to achieve modeling the likelihood of event of interest. In my dissertation, we proposed a general method using Bayesian nonparametric techniques. We used data in Gilligan et al. (2007), one of PCOR publications, as our illustrative example."
Xiaolin received her PhD from the Medical College of Wisconsin at commencement ceremonies on May 15, 2009. She is now Senior Biostatistician, Oncology, at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in Florham Park, New Jersey.