People

 

Zoran Bursac (faculty)

My expertise is in the areas of longitudinal data methods and repeated measures, missing data problems, mixed models, non-linear growth models, statistical computing and simulation, and categorical data methods such as logistic regression and variable selection algorithms. Most of my contributions are in the computational methods related to logistic regression topics and non-linear modeling. As an applied biostatistician I collaborate in the areas of chronic diseases and their risk factors such as tobacco, substance abuse and obesity prevention.

Background

I was born in Croatia but I spent larger portion of my adult life in the US. I completed my undergraduate studies at Cameron University in Oklahoma, in Computer Science and Mathematics, and my graduate work in Biostatistics at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. I spent 11 years as a faculty at The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Biostatistics, in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 2014 I joined the faculty at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. I am a member of Division of Biostatistics, as well as an Associate Director and Senior Statistical Scientist in the Center for Population Sciences, both located within the Department of Preventive Medicine.

Hobbies/Interests

I am a basketball fan, which seems ideal fit for Memphis, given their basketball tradition, culture and sports scene. I like to watch high school, college and pro events, often attending Grizzlies games. I also enjoy water related activities and fishing. At home I like to cook and BBQ for my family, fusing Croatian spices with traditional southern flavors.

Faculty Portfolio

Chi-Yang Chiu (faculty)

I am interested in both methodological and applied work in the fields of statistical genetics, mixed effects models and nonparametric modeling. I also enjoy collaborative work with biomedical researchers on various topics.

Background

I earned a bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Tamkang University, Taiwan, a master’s and a doctoral degree in Statistics from The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB); and received post-doctoral training in Statistical Genetics at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Hobbies/Interests

I like jogging, hiking and reading.

Tamekia Jones (faculty)

As the Director of the Biostatistics Core in the Children's Foundation Research Institute, I provide biostatistics support to pediatric investigators across several medical specialties. I have worked on numerous prospective and retrospective studies spanning surgery, obesity, critical care, emergency medicine, and neuroscience. I continue to collaborate with investigators and provide guidance on developing hypotheses, study design, sample size and power calculations, and statistical analyses. My research interests include clinical trials, obesity, and health disparities.

Background

I earned my BS in Mathematics at Jackson State University and BA in Statistics at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After obtaining my PhD in Biostatistics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, I served as a senior statistician for frontline Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia clinical trials in the Children's Oncology Group Statistics and Data Center and had a faculty appointment in Biostatistics at the University of Florida.

Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy spending time with my family, riding horses, and tutoring youth and adults in mathematics/statistics.

Faculty Portfolio

Mehmet Kocak (faculty)

My primary research is on statistical testing for periodic profile identification, with a specific application to time-course gene expression data to identify cyclic genes. I also do research on meta-analysis generally, with specific applications to meta-analysis of p-values. Being involved in drug-clinical trials for more than 14 years, any statistical challenges in dose-escalation designs also fall in my research area. In addition to these I work frequently with categorical and survival data analyses as well as with mixed models, both linear and non-linear versions.

Background

I earned a bachelor of science in statistics from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey in 1996; a master's degree in Applied Statistics from Michigan State University (MSU) in 1999. While still studying toward a doctorate at MSU, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital wooed me to Memphis to study brain tumors as a biostatistician in 2002. Since then, I have been an active member of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, which is a nationwide consortium with NCI funding. I completed a doctorate in Applied Statistics from the University of Memphis in 2011.

Since I joined the UTHSC faculty in 2011, I have been the coordinating statistician on the CANDLE study, which is a birth cohort study that began collecting data in 2006 and continues to track the majority of its participants enrolled. I am also the study biostatistician for the FITBLUE study, which is a weight-loss intervention study conducted on US Air Force population. I have worked with many investigators from diverse research disciplines, which resulted in publications in highly reputable journals.

Hobbies/Interests

I like reading and spending time with my wife and two daughters. We especially enjoy critiquing the books we read and movies we watch together.

Faculty Portfolio

Saunak Sen (faculty)

My research expertise is in genetic analysis of complex traits in model systems, statistical genetics/genomics, Bayesian statistics, and statistical computing. I have contributed to statistical and computational methods for the design and analysis of genetic studies. This includes work on multiple imputation, machine learning, selective genotyping and phenotyping, and function-valued traits. I also have a significant collaborative body of work that includes genetics in admixed human populations, and large epidemiological studies.

Background

I was born in India, and obtained my BSc in Statistics from the University of Calcutta, and a MStat from the Indian Statistical Institute specializing in Mathematical Statistics and Probability. I came to the US to pursue my PhD in Statistics at the University of Chicago. After postdoctoral stints at Stanford University and the Jackson Laboratory. I joined the faculty of UCSF in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. In 2015, I joined UTHSC as Chief of Biostatistics in the Department of Preventive Medicine.

Personal

I am a fan of human powered transportation, with a special love for bicycles. Memphis has made significant investments in bicycling infrastructure in recent years, including the much anticipated Mississippi river crossing scheduled to open this year. After over a decade in the San Francisco Bay Area I'm getting used to the highly variable weather patterns of the Mid-South. In the coming year I intend to learn more about the plants of the Memphis area, and hopefully grow some vegetables in our backyard.

Faculty Portfolio

 

Fridtjof Thomas (faculty)

I like working in the medical field because there is a wealth of knowledge available that is not readily incorporated into standard statistical models, thus necessitating a humble approach to what a statistical analysis can offer. Having said that, I also strongly feel that our contemporary number-crunching abilities set us free in applying statistical thinking to medical and other real world problems in a way never possible before. In other words: being a statistician has never been more exciting than today!

Background

I have over 15 years of experience as a PhD-level statistician in various environments and applications, and have been working in the medical field for eight years since my relocation to the US from Sweden in 2007. My higher academic education started in my country of birth, Germany, but it was as an exchange student at the Department of Statistics at Stockholm University, Sweden, where I discovered and developed my interest in statistical methodology. I continued my education in Sweden (PhD in 2001 from Stockholm University) and prospered there for well over a decade until my relocation to Memphis, TN, in 2007.

Hobbies/Interests

Fly-fishing and fly-tying have followed me through my journey since I was a teenager. I tremendously enjoy exploring the many fantastic waters in our area together with my son. Also, being from a bread culture, I am still on the quest for the perfect home-made bread, preferably a sourdough containing at least 50% rye.

Faculty Portfolio

Elizabeth Tolley (faculty)

I live to teach. Currently, I am course director of several graduate-level courses: a two-semester course in Biostatistics for the Health Sciences I and II and a course in Linear Regression Models offered in the Masters of Epidemiology degree program. I also provide biostatistical consulting and collaboration for many basic science and clinical investigators. I have served as the biostatistician on numerous clinical trials and prospective cohorts. My expertise is in designing these studies and in analyzing data and interpreting results to address research questions proposed by clinical investigators.

Background

I am a tenured Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. I hold a doctorate in population genetics with co-majors in statistics and physiology from the Department of Animal Science at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA; and received post-doctoral training in building statistical models in the Departments of Animal Science, Economics, and Statistics at N.C. State University, Raleigh, NC. I have mentored numerous graduate students at the masters and doctoral levels. I have also served as a biostatistician, co-investigator, and consultant on many NIH grants.

Hobbies/Interests

I am an absolute animal lover: I raise dogs both for fun and for competition. I am also a big fan of X-Men and am looking forward to the upcoming Star Wars films.

Faculty Portfolio

 

Jim Wan (faculty)

My research interests include the analysis of failure time data, the use of Poisson regression and logistic regression in epidemiologic studies. I collaborate with faculty across the whole campus on statistical methods for clinical and epidemiologic data and health services research. These collaborations have resulted in more than 130 peered-reviewed articles and close to 200 abstracts presented in major national and international scientific conferences.

Background

I earned a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a doctoral degree in Statistics from Yale University.

Hobbies/Interests

I like playing Bridge and Mahjong with friends. Hiking is another interest for me. I love the hiking trails in Hong Kong.

Faculty Portfolio

 

Hyeonju Kim (postdoc)

My current research interest is in developing novel statistical methods for using Big Data in genetics or genomics. I gained expertise in stochastic processes during my PhD, particularly random sum processes in which a rare event occurs.

Background

I obtained an MS in mathematics with a concentration in applied mathematics at the University of New Mexico. I have recently completed a PhD in statistics with a minor in finance at the University of Arizona. This year, I joined the Division of Biostatistics in the Department of Preventive Medicine at UTHSC as a postdoc under the supervision of Dr. Sen.

Personal

I am a huge fan of weightlifting and of sci-fi movies. I also prefer Star Wars to Star Trek.

Trish Goedecke (staff)

My goal is to make the statistics aspect of your research easy, starting with your research design. I work as a statistics consultant in Biostatistics, Epidemiology, & Research Design (BERD); part of the Institute for Research, Innovation, Synergy and Health Equity (iRISE). We will meet with you as consultants when you are developing your research, and when you have questions about analyzing data. Look up our schedule on youcanbook.me.

Background

I am currently studying Mathematical Statistics at the University of Memphis (UM), focusing on optimizing topic modeling. I completed Master’s degrees in Actuarial Science and in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) with Central Washington University, and my undergraduate work was in American Studies at Pomona College in Claremont, California.

At UM, I have been conducting interdisciplinary research with the Institute for Intelligent Systems, participating in every aspect of research including developing a research proposal to apply for grant funding, collecting data with human participants, analyzing, writing, and presenting findings at conference. I have been project manager on several grants, collaborating with researchers at Notre Dame, Waterloo and the University of Wisconsin.

Prior experience includes actuarial consulting with Milliman Health and an accreditation proposal with Central Washington University. I have also taught Mathematics and English courses with a variety of west coast universities and colleges.

Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy bicycling, eating foreign foods and discussing the meaning of life. I also have an unusual hobby in that it is what many people would call work. The research project that is my ‘baby’ was inspired when I taught middle school math; many of my students were thoroughly distracted by their need to move. I now have a team of researchers at UM comparing learning while pedaling at bike desks versus learning sitting still; I hope to fascinate you with my findings soon.

Tristan Hayes (staff)

I enjoy connecting investigators with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their research. To that end, over the past year we have established and expanded the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, & Research Design (BERD) Unit of the Institute for Research, Innovation, Synergy and Health Equity (iRISE). It is extremely rewarding to design, setup and implement new automated systems to facilitate research. In one of the first systems we launched, we reduced the number of points of contact to setup an appointment from three or more, to a single, immediate online signup form.

 Background

I completed my undergraduate studies at Middlebury College in German and Economics, with a minor in math. Previously I worked in economic & litigation consulting, covering such divers topics as microchip patent litigation and diary co-op pricing. I love working with SAS, Stata, and R, ‘getting my hands dirty’ with data. For me, Technology in and of itself is interesting: everything from editing simple PHP code, to more advanced projects coding automated analysis using macros. Currently, I am working on a Masters in Epidemiology with a focus on Biostatistics and I plan to complete a thesis on the epidemiology of violence.

Hobbies/Personal Interests

As a Memphian, I am a huge fan of BBQ. One of my personal goals is to participate in a team at the annual World BBQ Championships. Currently, I enjoy cycling to work and reading science fiction novels. Also, in case you were wondering, Star Wars > Star Trek.

Jiajing Wang (staff)

My goal is to help the researchers with their study design to be reasonable and with their statistical analysis in their research to be correctly. In the Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Design (BERD clinic meeting, we talk with the investigators to learn about their research and provide suggestions in data collecting and analysis measurement, furthermore, we help them working on the data analysis and result explanation in order to facilitate the research.

Background

I got my master degree in Statistics at The George Washington University. Previously, I was an analyst in the Caesars Entertainment Corporation and also a volunteer in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at the NIH by doing the data manipulation and applied statistical analysis. I use SAS and R for my daily work and I’d like to explore more functions for these tools. Currently, I’m studying toward a doctor degree in Statistics at University of Memphis.

Hobbies/Interests

I like all the outdoor activities, like hiking, running etc. I’m also good at looking for some interesting events and restaurants in Memphis.

Alumni

Jane Liang (staff)

Background

I recently earned by bachelor’s degree in statistics from UC Berkeley. I currently work as a scientific programmer under Saunak Sen and hope to enter a doctoral program in statistics/biostatistics in the near future. My research interests include statistical genetics, machine learning, and working with large data sets and computationally intensive problems.

Hobbies/Interests

I am a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and fall under most of the stereotypes, like being obsessed with recycling and fog. I also like reading books, consuming hot beverages, and playing with other people’s pets. I still get Star Wars and Star Trek confused sometimes.

Contact Us

Teresa M. Waters, PhD
Chair
Department of
Preventive Medicine
66 N. Pauline Street, Suite 633
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-5900