Funded by NIH/NCI
Marina Vannucci (Rice), PI/PD
Jeff Morris (MDACC), co-PI/PD
Multidisciplinary research teams are at the heart of modern approaches to fighting cancer, and biostatisticians and other quantitative scientists are increasingly crucial part of such teams, given the fundamental quantitative nature of many of the modern biomedical research challenges. Effective biostatistical collaboration thus requires broad training in statistics, probability and computational methods, as well as cancer biology and medical ethics. The Department of Statistics, Rice University, and the departments in the Division of Quantitative Sciences at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have joined forces with their collaborators in the clinical and basic sciences to developed a unique program that combines their respective strengths to train biostatisticians in cancer research.
The goal of the program is to prepare a new generation of biostatisticians who will work side-by-side with biomedical investigators in modern cancer research.
Our program aims to provide trainees with:
Rigorous training in statistics and probability
Practical experience in basic and clinical cancer research
Training in biological aspects of cancer and medical research ethics
Students in this program follow a standard course of study expected of Ph.D. students in the Department of Statistics at Rice, with additional coursework in biostatistics, biology and ethics, as well as special seminars and workshops at both institutions. Specifically, for trainees in the Biostatistics program, the 36 hours (12 courses) of approved non-thesis credit required of all Ph.D. students in Statistics must include two courses from outside the department on aspects of cancer biology and on computational biology. Students’ plans of study must be approved by the Biostatistics graduate advisor.
With faculty expertise in Bayesian methods, decision theory, cancer clinical trials, cancer screening, survival analysis, statistical genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, and statistical computing, trainees will receive a broad background in Biostatistics necessary for modern cancer research. Summer internships and laboratory rotations provide practical experience in the students training.
Combining the educational resources available at Rice University and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center with practical experience will enable trainees, upon completion of the program, to make fundamental contributions to cancer research working alongside biomedical investigators. Such close collaboration will lead to more efficient study designs and data analysis, allowing translation of therapeutic theories to clinical application more quickly.