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Making an Impact

January 11, 2023

Department Honors and Awards

The scholarly excellence and innovation of the Department of Biostatistics is regularly acknowledged through the publication of important papers, and with awards and honors. The following are highlights of our faculty’s accomplishments.

  • In June 2022, Heping Zhang gave the prestigious 2022 Neyman Memorial Lecture presented by the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS), one of the highest honors in statistical societies. The Neyman Lecture emphasizes the interactions between statistical theory and scientific research. View Zhang’s lecture, “Genes, Brain and Us,” here.
  • In 2023, Hongyu Zhao will deliver the IMS Medallion Lecture at the Eastern North American Region International Biometric Society (ENAR) Spring Meeting. The Medallion nomination acknowledges significant research contributions to one or more research areas.

Here are other recent highlights:

  • Cynthia Brandt was inducted as a fellow into the American College of Medical Informatics during the American Medical Informatics Association 2021 Annual Symposium.
  • Donna Spiegelman continued to have an international impact, with prestigious presentations at the University of Ibadan, Kuala Lumpur, and others. Spiegelman was ranked as the 32nd top woman scientist in the world and the 23rd top woman scientist in the United States by She also was ranked as the 161st top scientist in the world and the 111th top scientist in the United States, in the field of medicine by
  • Jeff Townsend served as an advisor to CanCOVID and the Public Health Agency of Canada, in a virtual science exchange on the efficacy of border measures on May 25, 2022.
  • Shiying Wang, a PhD BIS student, was selected as one of the winners of the Statistical Methods in Imaging (SMI) 2022 student paper competition. The paper is titled, “Heterogeneity Analysis on Multi-state Brain Functional Connectivity and Adolescent Neurocognition.”


  • Samantha Dean, PhD ’25 (BIS), received a National Science Foundation grant for her dissertation research, “Stochastic Ensemble Methods for Incidence Forecasting.”
  • Fan Li is expecting a Multiple Principal Investigator R01 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (scored to be 1%, the highest possible). The grant will support Li and colleagues in designing and implementing new Bayesian causal inference and machine learning methods to completed clinical trial data in order to identify the most beneficial treatments for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
  • Jeff Townsend is expecting a substantial grant from the J.M.R. Barker Foundation to comprehensively characterize the cancer effects of mutations.

Research and Publications

  • PhD student Chao Cheng’s paper was selected for a Young Investigator Award by the ASA Section on Statistics in Epidemiology.
  • Fan Li joined the editorial boards of two major journals: Implementation Science and Implementation Science Communications.
  • A research article by Yale Biostatistics modelers was published in Science Advances:
Submitted by Sabrina Lacerda Naia dos Santos on January 12, 2023