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NHLBI CVD Genetics Epidemiology and Biostatistics Training Program

University of Alabama at Birmingham
Department of Biostatistics
Section on Statistical Genetics of external icon

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

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