We have an active program in methodological research. Our areas of interest are broad and most of the research is devoted to the development of new statistical procedures that can be applied to the division’s collaborative research program.
There are many research organizations within the Medical College of Wisconsin and its affiliates with whom the Division's faculty conduct joint research. Via Research Assistantships and Consulting Services students get an opportunity to work in collaborative projects with groups such as those below.
The Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMTCTN) is a multi-center network funded by the NIH and NCI to implement clinical trials in the field of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. It was established to conduct large multi-institutional clinical trials. Trials address important issues in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), thereby furthering understanding of the best possible treatment approaches. Participating BMT CTN investigators collaborate through an organization designed to maintain continuity of operations, to facilitate effective communication and cooperation among participating transplant centers and with collaborators at the National Institutes of Health, and to offer trials participation to patients in all regions of the U.S. Corporation.
MCW Biostatisticians support the clinical trials network through the Data Coordinating Center (DCC) in terms of designing the clinical trials and analyzing the trial results.
The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) was formed by a merger of the National Marrow Donor Program in Minneapolis and the International Blood and Marrow Transplant Registry (IBMTR) at the Medical College of Wisconsin. It has enjoyed a positive, collaborative association with the Division of Biostatistics in the MCW Institute for Health & Equity since 1980, an association that is a distinctive asset and crucial to the success of CIBMTR research. Biostatisticians ensure the statistical integrity of CIBMTR scientific activities, contribute to results in articles on hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT)-related statistical issues for clinical audiences, and support Working Committee study investigators in developing scientific study protocols using CIBMTR data. CIBMTR biostatisticians have pioneered novel methodological approaches to analyzing HCT data.
HCT is a complex process with multiple competing risks and dramatic changes in the risks of specific events over time. The CIBMTR has developed and evaluated the statistical models used in HCT research and helped guide the research community in appropriate application and interpretation of these sophisticated models.
The Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin is made up of faculty and support staff who focus on research related to health care services and patient outcomes. Many research projects are population based, utilizing various large databases such as the SEER-Medicare linked records and Medicare billing records. Not all projects in the Center rely on such secondary data. Primary data collection is currently under way for studies of chronic rhinosinusitis, osteoporosis, breast cancer care, colon cancer screening and the role of numeracy in cancer screening behavior. Professors Prakash Laud and Sergey Tarima work with physicians and other medical researchers in the Center. Biostatistics PhD students are provided opportunities to work in the Center. Most of the projects here are funded by government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense or by private foundations.
Professor Szabo is the Biostatistician for the Translational Research Unit of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). The Biostatistics CTSI Key Function includes:
The Genomic Sciences and Precision Medicine Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin provides academic support for researchers at MCW who use the genomic sequence to understand disease and translate this information from the laboratory to the patient. Most of the research projects in the Center are funded by government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. The research areas include various directions in genomics, high throughput sequencing and the development and use of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP's), microarray analysis and bioinformatics. Professor Tao Wang is associated with this Center.
Projects of statistical interest include projections of the optimal registry size and composition and development of some means of grading performance of NMDP centers in terms of patient survival.
Methodological Research Areas of Interest
The Faculty of the Division of Biostatistics has an active program in methodological research. The areas of interest are broad and most of the research is devoted to the development of new statistical procedures that can be applied to the division’s collaborative research program.
Specifically, Professor Wang explored the definitions and properties of additive, dominance and epistatic effects of QTL and partition of genetic variance in an equilibrium as well as in a disequilibrium population. In joint work with Professors Weir and Zeng he developed a population-based multipoint LD method for fine mapping of quantitative trait loci. A mixture model was applied to describe the relationship between phenotype and QTL genotypes. An EM algorithm was developed to estimate the genetic effects of QTL and joint haplotype frequencies of QTL and markers.