Aug 28, 2015

Members’ News: September 2015

Aad van der Vaart receives Spinoza Prize

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Spinoza Prize is the highest Dutch award in science. This year, NWO awarded Spinoza Prizes to four leading scientists working in the Netherlands, including statistician Aad van der Vaart. NWO Spinoza Laureates perform outstanding and ground-breaking research, which has a large impact, inspiring young researchers. NWO awards 2.5 million Euros to each laureate for scientific research. More information at

Michael Waterman wins Dan David Award in Bioinformatics:

The Dan David Prize, managed by Tel Aviv University, annually awards three prizes of US$1 million for outstanding achievement in past, present and future time dimensions. The Dan David Prize awards prizes to individuals or institutions with proven exceptional, distinct excellence in the sciences, arts and humanities that have made an outstanding contribution to humankind. Among the three laureates for the Future Time Dimension in the field of Bioinformatics is Professor Michael Waterman, who “made seminal and influential contributions to biological sequence analysis. He developed an algorithm that is the basis for the database of DNA, RNA and protein sequences and developed the fundamental algorithms used for the mapping of sequence information in the Human Genome Project.” See

Stephen Fienberg receives NISS 2015 Jerome Sacks Award for Cross Disciplinary Research

The National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) has selected Stephen E. Fienberg to receive its 2015 Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research. The announcement was made by Dr. Nell Sedransk, Acting Director of NISS, during a reception at JSM. She said Fienberg received this award for “a remarkable career devoted to the development and application of statistical methodology to solve problems for the benefit of society, including aspects of human rights, privacy and confidentiality, forensics, survey and census-taking, and more; and for exceptional leadership in a variety of professional and governmental organizations, including in the founding of NISS.” Fienberg is Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science in the Department of Statistics, the Machine Learning Department, and Cylab, and co-Director of the Living Analytics Research Center at Carnegie Mellon University. He has authored more than 20 books and 500 papers and related publications. Fienberg’s interest in confidentiality and disclosure limitation ties both to surveys and censuses and also to categorical data analysis. It also led him to work on the “NISS Digital Government Project.”

Jiming Jiang NISS Former Postdoc Achievement Award

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, NISS created a new award to recognize the extraordinary achievements of some of its former postdocs—more than 70 since 1993. IMS Fellow Jiming Jiang, University of California, Davis, received this award together with Laura J. Steinberg, Syracuse University. Jiang’s award honored “his distinguished career and excellence in leadership through research, through education and through example as a role model for the profession of statistics.” Jiang has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and three books. He is known for his work on generalized linear mixed models, the subject of his first book. Other interests include small area estimation with applications to survey data, asymptotics and large sample statistics, and model selection. See

Janet L. Norwood Award for Judith Goldberg

Judith Goldberg, ScD, Professor of Biostatistics at NYU Langone Medical Center in the Department of Population Health, has been honored with the Janet L. Norwood Award. The award is presented annually by the School of Public Health at The University of Alabama at Birmingham to an internationally recognized woman statistician for outstanding achievement in the statistical sciences. Janet Norwood was the first woman commissioner of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Judith Goldberg is the director of the PhD program in biostatistics in the environmental health sciences at NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science; director of the Biostatistics Shared Resource of the NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center; director of the study design, biostatistics and clinical research ethics core of the NYU-HHC Clinical Translational Science Institute; and director of the environmental health statistics and bioinformatics facility of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center at NYU. She is also the principal investigator of the statistics and data management core of the NCI-funded Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Consortium and a co-investigator on numerous other collaborative research grants in clinical and translational research in oncology and other areas. She has over 125 publications in statistics and substantive journals. Dr. Goldberg was founding director (1999–2013) of the Division of Biostatistics at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Prior to joining NYU, Judith was vice president of biostatistics and data management at Bristol Myers Squibb, executive director of statistics and data management at Lederle Laboratories, associate professor of biostatistics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and a research statistician for the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York.

Judith is a fellow of the ASA and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has held numerous offices including President of the Biometric Society, chair of the ASA Fellows Committee, and chair of the Statistics Section U of the AAAS. Her research interests include survival analysis, clinical trials, methods for the analysis of screening and diagnostic tests, misclassification, methods for the analysis of observational data, statistical methods in epidemiology, and statistical genomics.

The Janet L. Norwood Award, “wishes not only to recognize Dr. Norwood’s achievements, but also to recognize the contribution of all women to the statistical sciences. It is noteworthy that women have been traditionally under-represented many fields of science, with the degree of under-representation greater for the quantitative sciences. This denies the field the benefit of the great contributions women are obviously capable of making to the statistical sciences.”

Dr. Goldberg will accept the award on September 9 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, where she will deliver a special lecture.

NISS Distinguished Service Awards

Dr. John Eltinge and Jamie Nunnelly were the recipients of the 2015 Distinguished Service Awards from the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS). Nell Sedransk, Acting Director of NISS, announced the awards on August 10, 2015 at the NISS/SAMSI (Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute) reception held at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle Washington. The NISS Distinguished Service Awards were established by the Board of Trustees in 2005 to recognize individuals who have given extraordinary service that significantly advances NISS and its mission.

Eltinge, who is Associate Commissioner for Office of Survey Methods Research for the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, received the award for bringing insight and implementing the vision for NISS as a multi-sector institute, especially through his leadership in the Affiliates Program. Before joining the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Eltinge served as an Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Statistics at Texas A&M University, specializing in sample design, survey nonresponse, measurement error, small domain estimation, quantile estimation and time series analysis. From June, 1999 to January, 2004, he served as the Senior Mathematical Statistician in the BLS Office of Survey Methods Research. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association; a member of the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology; an Associate Editor for Survey Methodology and Journal of Official Statistics; and a former Associate Editor for Journal of the American Statistical Association and The American Statistician. He received a PhD in Statistics from Iowa State University; an M.S. in Statistics from Purdue University; and a B.S. in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

Nunnelly, who is Communications Director for NISS and the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI), received the award for her role in dramatically increasing the visibility of NISS, for engaging the next generation of statisticians in NISS and for modernizing NISS communications, especially through design of the new website.

Xuming He and Danyu Lin receive ICSA Distinguished Achievement Award

Xuming He (Professor of Statistics at the University of Michigan) and Danyu Lin (Professor of Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) have received the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Chinese Statistical Association (ICSA). The award honors individuals for their distinguished achievements and leadership in statistics research, education, or applications. See



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