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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UNC Doctoral Student Wins Award for Statistics Conference

Mr. Lu Mao, doctoral student in biostatistics at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been accorded an American Statistical Association (ASA) Biometrics Section travel award.

[Photo: Mr. Lu Mao]

The award will support Mr. Mao in attending the 2016 ASA Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM), to be held July 30-August 4 in Chicago. Mr. Mao will present his paper on “Semiparametric Regression Analysis of Interval-Censored Competing Risks Data” at the meeting.

Mr. Mao’s paper proposes a general class of semiparametric regression models that can evaluate the effects of interval-censored competing risks. The paper also illustrates how this type of analysis can be applied directly to a study of HIV/AIDS.

Mr. Mao’s advisor is Dr. Danyu Lin, Dennis Gillings Distinguished Professor of biostatistics at the Gillings School. More than 10 years ago, motivated by the applications of biostatistics to HIV/AIDS research, Dr. Lin made a grant proposal to develop statistical methods for interval-censored competing risks.

For the better part of a decade, Dr. Lin did not make much headway with the difficult challenge. He was drawn into the problem again about three years ago, when the need to deal with this type of data in cancer clinical trials arose.

“I was very pleased when Lu agreed to work on this problem for his dissertation,” Dr. Lin said. “Because of his strong and unique skills, Lu was able to finally provide an elegant solution to the problem.”

Awards that allow students to attend conferences such as JSM are invaluable to the future progress of both the research they present and the students’ careers.

“Each discipline is divided into different sessions. That way, for each session, all the presenters and the audience members have some experience or are experts in your field,” Mr. Mao explained. “You can present your work and get valuable feedback, and you also get to look at other people’s work. In general, it offers recognition of your research accomplishments.”

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