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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UNC Biostatistics Student Honored with ENAR’s Distinguished Paper Award

Ms. Fei Gao, a biostatistics doctoral student at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, has won a Distinguished Student Paper Award, presented by the Eastern North America Region (ENAR) of the International Biometric Society. Her advisers, Dr. Donglin Zeng, professor of biostatistics, and Dr. Danyu Lin, Dennis Gillings Distinguished Professor of biostatistics, are co-authors of the paper.

[Photo: Ms. Fei Gao]

In some clinical studies, such as studies of chronic disease, researchers may not be able to pinpoint the time at which a particular health event occurs. However, study participants are interviewed or examined at a number of points along a timeline, and by collecting data at intervals, researchers are better able to place the health event on the timeline.

When participants do not attend one or more examination sessions, possibly for health-related reasons, data collection is diminished.

“For example, if you are sicker, you may choose to drop out of a study prematurely,” said Ms. Gao. “I wanted to do a joint analysis for this problem in which we would model the event time of interest and the dropout time together, while using a random effect to capture their association.”

She illustrated the effectiveness of the method by analyzing data from the prospective epidemiologic Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and correcting the prediction of a diabetes event among ARIC participants by adjusting for dropout due to death.

“Fei’s work addresses an important problem in clinical and epidemiological studies,” said Dr. Lin. “Her work requires strong theoretical and computational skills and is highly relevant to medical and public health research. We’re very proud of her for winning this award.”

Ms. Gao will present her paper at the ENAR 2017 spring meeting, to be held March 12-15, in Washington, D.C.

The UNC Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center is the coordinating center for ARIC, which is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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