Feb 15, 2014

Members’ News: March 2014

Susan Holmes receives $6.2M NIH Transformative Research Award

Susan Holmes, Professor of Statistics at Stanford University and director of the Mathematical and Computational Science Program, has received a substantial NIH award. Together with David Relman, MD, she received a Transformative Research Award from the US National Institutes of Health on September 30, 2013. “These awards recognize and support the kind of creative thinking that has put Stanford on the map as the epicenter of innovation,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. The team will use their $6.2 million in funding to examine the effects of perturbations in humans’ microbial ecology.

Using novel statistical approaches that incorporate sparse multi-table data, this project aims to integrate the metabolic, transcriptomic and ecological community information to predict resilience in the human microbiome.

Humans have co-evolved with complex, dynamic internal microbial communities that play essential roles in nutrition, metabolism, immunity and numerous other aspects of our physiology. Exposure to antibiotics or other chemicals, as well as dietary shifts, can disturb or destabilize the microbial communities that dwell in the gut, with potentially severe and sustained negative impacts on health, including allergic disease, pathogen invasion, obesity and various chronic inflammatory disorders.

The investigators will monitor the microbial ecosystems of healthy humans before, during and after several types of planned disturbance, such as changes in diet or antibiotic administration. They will apply novel mathematical methods to the data generated from these clinical experiments and identify features associated with future stability or recovery from these disturbances, with the goal of predicting disease and restoring health. For more information, see here.

C R Rao Gallery opened in Hyderabad

The CRRao Gallery, depicting the life in statistics of C.R. Rao over a period of 65 years (40 years at the Indian Statistical Institute and 25 years in the USA, at Penn State and University of Pittsburgh) was inaugurated by Dr. V. Ramakrishnan, Nobel Laureate, FRS, Kt., at the end of the International Year of Statistics on 22 December 2013, in the C.R.Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science at Hyderabad, India. The gallery is open to the public, and aims to encourage students to do research in statistics to meet the increasing demand for statisticians for wise decision making under uncertainty in all areas of human endeavor.

Honorary Doctorate for Klaus Krickeberg

IMS Fellow Klaus Krickeberg has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh-City for contributions to the statistical sciences and public health in Vietnam.

Jim Pitman honored with birthday conference

David Aldous is organising a conference in celebration of former IMS President Jim Pitman’s 65th birthday: Combinatorial Stochastic Processes (June 20–21, 2014, at UC San Diego, California.) See the full announcement in the March 2014 Bulletin (page 20) or read details at the meeting’s website.

Peter Hall becomes Doctor Honoris Causa in the University of Cantabria, Spain

The University of Cantabria, Spain, organized a series of events throughout 2013 to commemorate the International Year of Statistics, including a lecture series in the fall, a forthcoming book dedicated to the dissemination of statistics and its applications, and the elaboration of a series of video clips for the Spanish Statistical and Operational Research Society, SEIO.

To culminate these events, the University of Cantabria decided to award an honorary doctorate to Professor Peter Hall, University of Melbourne. Peter is well known within our community. Many of his more than 600 publications are among the most cited in the field. In addition, Peter was listed among the ten most cited scientists in Mathematics (in all reports by in-cites, until they stopped running in 2008). Peter Hall, an IMS Fellow and former President, has received honorary doctorates from the universities of Leuven, Glasgow and Sydney. Last year he was elected a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences and an Officer of the Order of Australia. The investiture ceremony took place January 27. During his stay at the University of Cantabria, Peter gave two talks that can be viewed at http://youtu.be/TLoxdL2XRBo and http://youtu.be/1r6lGiAnf60.


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