Training Program in Biostatistics

Faculty members from the MD Anderson Cancer Center regularly teach courses in the collaborative program and direct student research. The collaborative program is partially supported through a prestigious NIH/NCI T32 pre-doctoral training grant in Biostatistics for Cancer Research.

  • Marek Kimmel (Rice), PI/PD
  • Ying Yuan (MDACC), co-PI/PD

Multidisciplinary research teams are at the heart of modern approaches to fighting cancer, and biostatisticians and other quantitative scientists are an 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 develop a unique program that combines their respective strengths to train biostatisticians in cancer research.

Program Goal

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.

Program Faculty

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.


  • Marek Kimmel, Professor and Associate Department Chair, Rice University Department of Statistics

Rice University, Department of Statistics

  • Dennis Cox
  • Rudy Guerra
  • Marek Kimmel
  • Marina Vannucci

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Biostatistics

  • Keith Baggerly, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Bioinformatics & Computational Biology
  • Donald A. Berry, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biostatistics
  • Kim-Anh Do, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biostatistics
  • J. Jack Lee, Ph.D., D.D.S., Professor, Department of Biostatistics
  • Jeffrey S. Morris, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biostatistics, co-Director of this Training Program
  • Yu Shen, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biostatistics
  • Peng Wei, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Other Departments

  • Ken Chen, Ph.D., Associate Professor Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • Guillermo Garcia-Manero, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Chief of Myelodysplastic Dysplastic Syndromes Section, Department of Leukemia
  • Ralf Krahe, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Genetics
  • Sanjay Shete, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Epidemiology
  • Wenyi Wang, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • Xifeng Wu, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology

Baylor College of Medicine

  • Katherine King, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pediatrics-Infectious Disease
  • Pavel Sumazin, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pediatrics
  • Chad Shaw, Ph.D., Professor, Molecular and Human Genetics
  • Sharon Plon, Ph.D., Professor, Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics and Human Genome Sequencing Center
  • Oliver Lichtarge, Ph.D., Cullen Chair and Professor, Molecular and Human Genetics

University of California Irvine, Department of Statistics