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YSPH appoints two new Biostatistics assistant professors

June 05, 2024
by Fran Fried

The Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) has announced the appointment of two new assistant professors, Lee Kennedy-Shaffer, PhD, and Qiao Liu, PhD, in the Department of Biostatistics.

Kennedy-Shaffer, BS ’13 (mathematics), joins YSPH from Vassar College, where he has been an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics since 2020. Prior to that appointment, he served as a postdoctoral researcher with the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard.

His research interests include the role of clustering and correlation in clinical trials and the design of clinical trials and epidemiologic studies for infectious diseases. This has led to various work on study design during the COVID-19 pandemic, including estimating epidemic trajectories and accounting for over dispersed transmission. He is also interested in the history of statistics – specifically, its role in regulation and the law, and the role of eugenics in the development of statistics.

These appointments underscore YSPH’s commitment to data-driven leadership as a central pillar for the future of public health.

Dean Megan L. Ranney, MD, MPH

Kennedy-Shaffer, who will officially join YSPH on July 1, earned his BS in mathematics from Yale College in 2013, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He earned an MA and PhD in biostatistics in 2018 and 2020, respectively, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Lee has extensive teaching and mentoring experience, and his expertise will strengthen our methodological and collaborative research in multiple areas – particularly, infectious diseases,” said Shuangge Steven Ma, department chair and professor of biostatistics.

Liu comes to YSPH from Stanford University, where he has been a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Statistics since 2021. earned a BS from ShenYuan Honors College at Beihang University in Beijing in 2016 and a PhD in Bioinformatics from Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2021. Since 2019, Liu has been conducting extensive research at Stanford Statistics, initially as a visiting PhD student, and later transitioning into a postdoc. His start date is pending – either Sept. 1, 2024, or Sept. 1, 2025.

Ma said Liu brings a unique interdisciplinary background to Yale, combining expertise in artificial intelligence, statistics, and computational biology. His primary research interests lie at the intersection of these fields.

“While still early in his career, Qiao has already made significant contributions in developing practical statistical and machine learning tools with importance in both statistical theory and applications,” Ma said. “He will play a pivotal role in our development of public health data science.”

YSPH Dean Megan L. Ranney, MD, MPH, said: “These appointments underscore YSPH’s commitment to data-driven leadership as a central pillar for the future of public health." She thanked the members of the search committee for Kennedy-Shaffer, led by Biostatistics Professor Denise Esserman; and the search committee for Liu, led by Hongyu Zhao, Ira V. Hiscock Professor of Biostatistics, professor of genetics, and professor of statistics and data science, for volunteering their time to help in the hiring process.

Submitted by Fran Fried on June 05, 2024