Brenda Gillespie

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Brenda Gillespie, PhD, is Associate Director in Consulting for Statistics, Computing and Analytics Research (CSCAR) with a secondary appointment as Associate Research Professor in the department of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She provides statistical collaboration and support for numerous research projects at the University of Michigan. She teaches Biostatistics courses as well as CSCAR short courses in survival analysis, regression analysis, sample size calculation, generalized linear models, meta-analysis, and statistical ethics. Her major areas of expertise are clinical trials and survival analysis.

Prof. Gillespie’s research interests are in the area of censored data and clinical trials. One research interest concerns the application of categorical regression models to the case of censored survival data. This technique is useful in modeling the hazard function (instead of treating it as a nuisance parameter, as in Cox proportional hazards regression), or in the situation where time-related interactions (i.e., non-proportional hazards) are present. An investigation comparing various categorical modeling strategies is currently in progress.

Another area of interest is the analysis of cross-over trials with censored data. Brenda has developed (with M. Feingold) a set of nonparametric methods for testing and estimation in this setting. Our methods out-perform previous methods in most cases.

Bhramar Mukherjee

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Bhramar Mukherjee is  a Professor in the Department of Biostatistics, joining the department in Fall, 2006. Bhramar is also a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology. Bhramar completed her Ph.D. in 2001 from Purdue University. Bhramar’s principal research interests lie in Bayesian methods in epidemiology and studies of gene-environment interaction. She is also interested in modeling missingness in exposure, categorical data models, Bayesian nonparametrics, and the general area of statistical inference under outcome/exposure dependent sampling schemes. Bhramar’s methodological research is funded by NSF and NIH.   Bhramar is involved as a co-investigator in several R01s led by faculty in Internal Medicine, Epidemiology and Environment Health sciences at UM. Her collaborative interests focus on genetic and environmental epidemiology, ranging from investigating the genetic architecture of colorectal cancer in relation to environmental exposures to studies of air pollution on pediatric Asthma events in Detroit. She is actively engaged in Global Health Research.

Kevin Dombkowski

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Kevin Dombkowski, DrPH, is Research Associate Professor in the department of Pediatrics, Medical School, and holds a secondary appointment in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Kevin’s primary research focus is conducting population-based interventions aimed at improving the health of children, especially those with chronic conditions. Much of his work has focused on evaluating the feasibility and accuracy of using administrative claims data to identify children with chronic conditions by linking these data with clinical and public health systems. Many of these projects have linked claims, immunization registries, newborn screening, birth records and death records to conduct population-based evaluations of health services. He has also applied these approaches to assess the statewide prevalence of chronic conditions such as asthma, sickle cell disease, and inflammatory bowel disease in Michigan as well as other states.

Further, his research interests also include registry-based interventions to improve the timeliness of vaccinations through automated reminder and recall systems. He has led numerous collaborations with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, including several CDC-funded initiatives using the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). Through this collaboration, Kevin tested a statewide intervention aimed at increasing influenza vaccination among children with chronic conditions during the 2009 influenza pandemic.

Jon Zelner

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Jon Zelner, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the department of Epidemiology in the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Dr. Zelner holds a second appointment in the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health.

Dr. Zelner’s research is focused on using spatial analysis, social network analyisis and dynamic modeling to prevent infectious diseases, with a focus on tuberculosis and diarrheal disease. Jon is also interested in understanding how the social and biological causes of illness interact to generate observable patterns of disease in space and in social networks, across outcomes ranging from infection to mental illness.


A large spatial cluster of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases in Lima, Peru is highlighted in red. A key challenge in my work is understanding why these cases cluster in space: can social, spatial, and genetic data tell us where transmission is occurring and how to interrupt it?

A large spatial cluster of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases in Lima, Peru is highlighted in red. A key challenge in my work is understanding why these cases cluster in space: can social, spatial, and genetic data tell us where transmission is occurring and how to interrupt it?



Joseph Himle

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Joseph A. Himle, PhD, is the Associate Dean for Research and the Howard V. Brabson Collegiate Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, and Professor of Psychiatry, Medical School, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The goal of Prof. Himle’s research is to design, develop and test a inconspicuous, awareness-enhancement and monitoring device (AEMD) which will assist the treatment of trichotillomania (TTM), a disorder involving recurrent pulling of one’s hair resulting in noticeable hair loss. TTM is associated with significant impairments in social functioning and often has a profound negative impact on self-esteem and well being. Best practice treatment for TTM involves a form of behavioral therapy known as habit reversal therapy (HRT). HRT requires persons with trichotillomania to be aware of their hair pulling behaviors, yet the majority of persons with TTM pull most of their hair outside of their awareness . HRT also requires TTM sufferers to record the frequency and duration of their hair pulling behaviors yet it is obviously impossible for a person to monitor behaviors that they are unaware of. Our Phase I efforts have produced a prototype device (AEMD) that solves these two problems. The prototype AEMD signals the TTM sufferer if their hand approaches their hair, thereby bringing pulling-related behavior into awareness. The prototype AEMD also logs the time, date, duration, and user classification of hair pulling related events and can later transfer the logged data to a personal computer for analysis and data presentation. He continues to refine this device and seek to integrate it with smart-phones to better understand activities and locations associated with hair pulling or other body-focused repetitive behaviors (e.g., skin picking). In the future, he seeks to pool data from users to get a better sense of common situations and other factors associated with elevated pulling rates. He intends to develop other electronic tools to detect, monitor and intervene with other mental disorders in the future.

Romesh P. Nalliah

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Dr. Nalliah’s expertise in research focuses on process evaluation. He has studied healthcare delivery processes, educational processes and healthcare outcomes. Dr. Nalliah’s research studies were the first time nationwide data was used to highlight hospital resource utilization for managing dental caries, pulpal lesions, periapical lesions and general oral conditions in the United States. Dr. Nalliah is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of nationwide hospital dataset research for dental conditions and has numerous publications in peer reviewed journals.

Dr. Nalliah’s interest for future research is to expand experience in various areas of public health but not forget his connection to dentistry. Dr. Nalliah has conducted research related to gun violence, facial fractures, spinal fusion, oral cancer, dental conditions, educational debt, mental health, suicide, sports injuries, poisoning and the characteristics of patients discharged against medical advice. National recognition of his expertise in these broader topics of medicine have given rise to opportunities to lecture to medical residents, nurse practitioners, students in medical, pharmacy and nursing programs about oral health. This is his passion- that his research should inform an evolution of dental and health education curriculum and practice.

Dr. Nalliah’s passion in research is improving healthcare delivery systems and he’s interested in improving processes, minimizing inefficiencies, reducing healthcare bottlenecks, increasing quality, and increase task sharing which will lead to a patient-centered, coherent healthcare system. Dr. Nalliah’s research has identified systems constraints and his goal is to influence policy and planning to break those constraints and improve healthcare delivery.

Jeremy M G Taylor

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Jeremy Taylor, PhD, is the Pharmacia Research Professor of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health and Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the director of the University of Michigan Cancer Center Biostatistics Unit and director of the Cancer/Biostatistics training program. He received his B.A. in Mathematics from Cambridge University and his Ph.D. in Statistics from UC Berkeley. He was on the faculty at UCLA from 1983 to 1998, when he moved to the University of Michigan. He has had visiting positions at the Medical Research Council, Cambridge, England; the University of Adelaide; INSERM, Bordeaux and CSIRO, Sydney, Australia. He is a previously winner of the Mortimer Spiegelman Award from the American Public Health Association and the Michael Fry Award from the Radiation Research Society. He has worked in various areas of Statistics and Biostatistics, including Box-Cox transformations, longitudinal and survival analysis, cure models, missing data, smoothing methods, clinical trial design, surrogate and auxiliary variables. He has been heavily involved in collaborations in the areas of radiation oncology, cancer research and bioinformatics.

I have broad interests and expertise in developing statistical methodology and applying it in biomedical research, particularly in cancer research. I have undertaken research  in power transformations, longitudinal modeling, survival analysis particularly cure models, missing data methods, causal inference and in modeling radiation oncology related data.  Recent interests, specifically related to cancer, are in statistical methods for genomic data, statistical methods for evaluating cancer biomarkers, surrogate endpoints, phase I trial design, statistical methods for personalized medicine and prognostic and predictive model validation.  I strive to develop principled methods that will lead to valid interpretations of the complex data that is collected in biomedical research.

Michael Elliot

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Michael Elliott, PhD, is a Professor of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, and Research Scientist at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Dr. Elliott’s statistical research interests focus around the broad topic of “missing data,” including the design and analysis of sample surveys, casual and counterfactual inference, and latent variable models. He has worked closely with collaborators in injury research, pediatrics, women’s health, and the social determinants of physical and mental health. Dr. Elliott serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Statistical Association.

Hongwei Xu

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My substantive research interest is to understand the role of geography in shaping population health. Towards this end, my methodological and data science interests are twofold. First, I seek to develop and apply spatial statistical methods to model individual- and area-level health and diseases by using survey data and government statistics. Second, in light of the advance in GIS techniques and the increasingly accessible spatial data from various sources, I am exploring new approaches to integrate traditional geo-referenced survey data with non-traditional spatial data (e.g., remote sensing data, satellite data, Google search) to reduce measurement errors in demographic health research.

Kerby Shedden

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Kerby Shedden, PhD, is Professor of Statistics, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Professor of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, and Director of the Consulting for Statistics, Computing, and Analytics Research (CSCAR) center.

Kerby Shedden received his PhD in Statistics from UCLA in 1999 and joined the University of Michigan the same year.  His research interests include genomics, genetics, and other areas of life science where large and complex data arise. He also is interested in computational statistics and statistical software development. He participates in many collaborative research efforts including biomarker screening for cancer and kidney disease outcomes, cell-based screening for understanding the behavior of chemical probes in cells, and genetic association analysis for longitudinal traits.