NHLBI CVD Genetics Epidemiology and Biostatistics Training Program
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Department of Biostatistics
Section on Statistical Genetics
Director: David B. Allison Ph.D.
Address, phone, e-mail
Co-Director: Varghese George, Ph.D.
Address, phone, e-mail
Recent advances in molecular biology, the vast data generated, and the complexity of the
phenotypes being studied have made the shortage of well trained statistical geneticists more acute. Our
structured but flexible training program offers 2-3 year fellowships to prepare postdoctoral scientists
for careers in statistical genetics, with an emphasis on heart, lung and blood (HLB) related phenotypes.
The program aims to develop independent and rigorous investigative skills. Training is provided in the
foundations of statistical genetics and state-of-the-art computational tools in genetic analysis. Applied
experience is provided via HLB-related investigative programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
(UAB). UAB recently invested heavily in development of a Section on Statistical Genetics and consequently
has an unusually strong consolidated concentration of statistical geneticists offering a unique training
environment. The proposed program has several notable strengths including: (1) A statistical genetics/genetic
epidemiology faculty that has expertise in topics spanning: (a) study design, (b) analysis of large and complex
pedigrees, (c) analysis of microarray data, (d) modeling of twin and family data, (e) analysis of complex and
quantitative traits, (f) mathematical/theoretical statistics, and (g) analysis of experimental crosses in model
organisms; (2) Close collaborative ties with applied HLB investigators who are producing or in possession of data
sets to which statistical genetic techniques can be applied; (3) A faculty with substantial enthusiasm and
experience in training at an advanced level; (4) Substantial support in both spirit and material at the
Department, School, and University level, creating a dynamic, positive, and well-provisioned research environment.
Trainees may elect to work with a core faculty in Statistical Genetics and be jointly mentored by a support faculty
in HLB research. Trainees will be physicians of Ph.D. (or other doctoral degree) recipients in disciplines including
(but not limited to) statistics, mathematics, computer science, epidemiology, genetics, biochemistry, psychology,
and physiology. Individual are selected based on demonstrated competence in graduate school, previous faculty recommendations,
and the extent to which their interests fit with those of the faculty and ongoing research programs.
Areas of Special Emphasis
Association and linkage disequilibrium analysis of Complex Traits, Analysis of large complex pedigrees,
Microarray analysis, Bayesian methods in gene mapping, Admixture mapping, Analysis of experimental crosses.
Number of Trainees Per Year (Postdoctoral Program)
Postdoctoral 2003 : 4
Position Taken by Recent Graduates
N/A (program just initiated)
Key Faculty Available as Preceptors
Name; Primary Appointment (Joint Appointment); Statistical Genetics Interest
David B. Allison, Ph.D., Biostatistics (Nutrition Sciences, Medicine)
Association, Linkage Disequilibrium, Microarrays, Obesity, Empirical Bayes
T. Mark Beasley, Ph.D., Biostatistics
Admixture, Association and Linkage, Variance Components, Non-parametric Methods
Jose R. Fernandez, Ph.D., Nutrition Sciences (Biostatistics)
Admixture mapping, Genetics of Obesity
Varghese George, Ph.D., Medicine (Biostatistics)
Family-based association, Linkage Disequilibrium, Ascertainment, Bayesian Methods
Rodney Go, Ph.D., Epidemiology
Genetic Epidemiology, Population Genetics, Alzheimer's disease
Grier P. Page, Ph.D., Biostatistics
Microarrays, Proteomics, Linkage, Disequilibrium, Bioinformatics
Hemant K. Tiwari, Ph.D., Pathology (Biostatistics)
Association, Linkage, Admixture, Molecular Evolution, Bioinformatics, DNA Pooling
Nengiun Yi, Ph.D., Biostatistics
Experimental Cross, Mapping using Bayesian Methods, Variance Components
Selected Publications of Trainess in the past 3 years
Beasley, TM, Page GP, Brand JPL, Gadbury GL, Mountz JD, and Allison, DB, (2003).
Chebyshev's Inequality for Non-parametric Testing with Small N and & in microarray research. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, In Press.
Brand JPL, Buuren van S, Oudshoom K (2003). A toolkit in SAS for the evaluation of multiple
imputation methods, Statistica Needrlandica, 57: 1-10.
Lee CK, Allison DB, Brand JPL, Weindruch R, Prolla TA (2002). Transcriptional profiles
associated with aging and middle age-onset caloric restriction in mouse heart. PNAS, 99:14988-14993
Page GP, Edwards JW, Barnes S, Weindruch R, Allison DB (2003). A design and statistical perspective
on microarray gene expression studies in nutrition: The need for playful creativity and scientific
hard-mindedness. Nutritional Science, In Press.
Edwards JW, Lamkey KR (2003). Dominance and Genetic Drift: Predicted
Effects of Population Subdivision in a Maize Population. Crop Science, In Press
Edwards JW, Lamkey KR (2002). Quantitative genetics of inbreeding in a synthetic
maize population. Crop Science, 42:1094-1104.
Edwards JD, Stoltzfus D, Peterson PA (2001). The C1 locus in maize
(Zea mays L): Effect of gene expression. theor Appl Genet, 103:718-724.
Yang D, Fontaine KR, Wang C, Allison DB (2003). Weight Loss Causes
Increased Mortality: Cons. Obesity Review, 4:9-16.
Zakharkin SO, Headley VV, Kumar NK, Buck NA, Wheeler DE, Benes H (2001).
Female-specific expression of a hexamerin gene in larvae of an autogenous mosquito. European Journal of Biochemistry, 268:5713-5722.
Last updated: August, 2004