Alumni & Careers

As a member of the Biostatistics alumni family, you are vitally important to the quality of our programs and to the success of our graduates. Alumni regularly visit the department, serve as guest lecturers or adjunct instructors on timely topics, and collaborate with faculty on research projects. They often serve as summer internship hosts and turn to us when recruiting permanent professional employees.

Mental Edge of Michigan Training Set Alum up for Success
Rena Sun, PhD '12, Biostatistics; Director, Strategy Insights & Analytics, Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Kenneth J. Woodside, MD, MS.
Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Michigan
Graduation Year: 2015
"OJOC was a game-changer.  With the statistical training, I was able to reinvent and reinvest in my academic career, and now I am an active investigator with the USRDS."

Julajak Limsrivilai, MD., MS
Assistant professor, Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Siriraj hospital, Bangkok,  Thailand
Graduation Year: 2017
"This program has increased my skill in conducting research a lot. Now I am able to continue my work well because I can design do research and solve the problems I have in my clinical practice by myself".

asanoEishi Asano, MD., MS.
Professor, Pediatrics & Neurology, Wayne State University. Director, Neurodiagnostics, Children's Hospital of Michigan.
Graduation year: 2007.
The statistical skills acquired in the OJOC CRDSA program at the University of Michigan has helped me a lot in securing research funding for the past decade. The lectures on analysis of repeated measurements' provided me, a physician-neuroscientist, with the knowledge needed for generation of our novel multi-dimensional functional brain maps, which animate the neural dynamics supporting cognitive functions.

Adeeb Bulkhi, MD., MS.
Assistant professor  at Department of Internal Medicine, Umm Al Qura University, Mecca, Saudi Arabia and adjunct faculty at Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Allergy and Immunology, University of South Florida.
Graduation year: 2017
"OJOC took me to the next level of research from just a participator to designer and analyst. Its flexibility made it possible even with busy working schedule".

Kate Maturen, MD., MS.
Associate Professor of Radiology and Abdominal Radiology Fellowship Director, University of Michigan
Graduation Year: 2015
"OJOC was transformative for my career.  As a philosophy major in college, I had no quantitative background for clinical research and after a few years on faculty I was very frustrated by the quality of my output.  OJOC enabled me to design studies more appropriately, perform my own analysis for most projects, and now mentor and consult with others on statistical methods relevant to imaging research.  It was a challenge to make the time to do it, but I am extremely glad that I did!  I would recommend OJOC to anyone who is serious about deepening their understanding of clinical research methods and gaining facility with biostatistics".

raoKrishna Rao, MD., MS.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan
Graduation Year: 2015
"OJOC gave me the solid foundation in biostatistics and clinical research design that I needed to progress in my career. Because of what I learned in OJOC, I was able to design and conduct the analyses for my own clinical studies, and I was able to write the grants to support them. Now I am an independently-funded, tenure track junior faculty member that is primarily a team scientist, where I bring the clinical research expertise I learned in OJOC to the team. For various projects, I lead teams of microbial ecologists, data scientists, clinicians, and/or trainees at various levels to develop biomarker-based predictive models of infections, better understand the gut microbiome, and conduct clinical trials testing different treatment approaches".

malaniPreeti Malani, MD., MS.
Infectious diseases, Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, University of Michigan
Chief Health Officer
Associate Editor, JAMA
Graduation Year: 2007
OJOC was busy and rigorous but I learned skills I could not have any other way. The solid foundation in clinical trials design, biostatistics and epidemiology has served me well as a researcher and an editor.  OJOC is an investment that continues to pay dividends--one of the best professional decisions I've made.

The following are examples of the types of careers UM Biostatistics graduates have pursued. You can find out more information about careers in Biostatistics and other SPH departments by visiting the SPH Career Services Page.

segalBrian Segal, PhD - Flatiron Health, New York City
Every morning, Brian bikes from his home in Brooklyn to Manhattan. He describes this commute over the bridge as his favorite part of New York City, culminating in his arrival at a job that he enjoys. Brian works for Flatiron Health, a tech company that he says, "works on cancer instead of advertising." Via a combination of technology and medical reviewers, the company extracts information on cancer treatment from electronic health records. Pharmaceutical companies use this data to determine the efficacy of cancer medications and patient care in the real world. Flatiron's role in this real-time data analysis is exciting, Brian explains, because it's "leading the way in the industry as far as using real world data as opposed to clinical data." Brian's job includes designing statistical analyses to assess how well the company extracts information from health records. He focuses on the reliability of information pertaining to disease progression, consensus on data interpretation, and the ability to predict downstream events. The tricky part, Brian explains, is the complexity of the health records – they contain valuable information, but getting to that information is a challenge.

bin zhuBin Zhu, PhD – National Cancer Institute, Washington, D.C.
As an intramural biostatistician at the NCI, Bin Zhu's main job is research. His work focuses on cancer genomics and all the factors that influence the development of tumors, including genetics, somatic mutations, smoking, drinking, and age. But the difficultly with cancer research, Bin explains, is that scientists still have very little idea what's going on in cancer tumors. Much of Bin's work is exploratory, trying to understand the complexity of cancer's development so that he and other researchers can begin treating the problem. "I need to find the right question to work on," Bin says. "That takes me lots of time." Bin compares the complexity of cancer to a "Pandora's Box." Cancer genomic data is messy and versatile – almost every cancer is different, with its own profile and weak points. It's the heterogeneous nature of cancer, Bin explains, that is largely driving the move into precision medicine. With every person exhibiting different cancer development, it's vital to tailor care to the individual.  Evaluating data on an individual basis, however, is perhaps more complicated than it sounds. To properly analyze each person's data, Bin needs to know where the information comes from.  "We have more data in all areas, so we need to know the context of the data: how we generate it, why we generate it, what's the scientific interest of those data."  He also needs to understand the context of cancer, which means delving deep into the field of oncology. Bin enjoys this aspect of his job, where he essentially gets to play in the backyards of other disciplines. In practice, however, it means that he must expertly navigate through a jungle of medical information and context that are periphery to his training in statistics. The backyard, Bin says, is getting more and more like a "maze." Bin explains that to keep up with the vast amount of information relevant to his work, he must "keep learning along the way, keep transforming. It's a nonstop process." While Bin enjoys the scientific aspect of his work, it's the potential to improve people's lives that motivates him. "We can make a real-life impact because what we learn can actually be applied to future patients," Bin explains. "To me, every data point is not a data point; it is a family's stories." It is these people - the individuals behind the data - that inspire Bin as he conducts his daily research. Bin sums up the importance he finds in his work with a simple, poignant statement: "I think my work will help people fight with cancer."

sarah worleySarah Worley, MS – Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Sarah Worley is a collaborative biostatistician at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the top specialty hospitals in the nation. Sarah works in pediatrics, where she joins forces with physicians to study serious maladies affecting children. Many of the study questions Sarah tackles originate in the hospital itself as clinicians treat their patients; these include investigations in the fields of oncology, gastro neurology, cardiology, transplants, etc. "I like that there's a variety of things," Sarah says of her work. "Pediatrics is interesting because we have both general practice and we have specialties." Sarah describes a typical day at the Cleveland Clinic as a mixture of meeting with investigators, researching the best statistical analyses and software available for projects, collaborating with coworkers, and generating the computer programs, plots, and reports essential for statistical analysis. During her sixteen years at the Cleveland Clinic, Sarah has produced around sixty publications. "Doing quality publishable work in every project that comes our way is where I take pride," Sarah says. Research in specialty pediatrics poses a unique challenge in the limited number of individuals available for study. Sarah explains that much of her job is dedicated to "finding statistical analysis that works with the limitations of the smaller sample size." Big data may be trendy, but it's not relevant for Sarah's work with rare diseases at the Cleveland Clinic. "If you don't come up with a method that works and all you care about is shoving your big sample method at it, the problem isn't going to get studied," she explains. "So that's where we apply a little creativity. What can we say and what can we do with the data that we have? It's what we have. We can't make more samples."  Sarah's work not only requires a deep understanding of statistical methods and their applications, but also a grasp of the medical fields she encounters in her research. Because she works primarily with clinicians who do not have a background in research, Sarah acts both as a study designer and a resource for which statistical investigations are appropriate. She is often the only statistician on her projects, and she loves the independence this position provides. Sarah considers herself and the other masters-level statisticians at the Cleveland Clinic as true research collaborators: "Here because we have a large number of people with masters degrees who are working independently, we view ourselves as professionals. The masters degree isn't a stepping stone to something else." The pride Sarah takes in her work coupled with the end product of helping children have healthier lives makes for a satisfying profession. "I think it's a great career choice," Sarah says. "I'm really happy I picked it."