Welcome to the BiosBeat communication tool for the Department of Biostatistics at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health! Here you will find a collection of the latest department news, special features, dates to save, and much more. So, read on, enjoy, and be sure to regularly check back for updates!

In this edition:

UNC CFAR Biostatistics Core develops software tool to assist HIV researchers
Spring Break Short Course – Power Sample Size for Multilevel and Longitudinal Study Designs
Statistician Makes Global Imprint on Heels of Visiting Professorship
Dr. Sen is now Professor Emeritus
Professors Li, Loop and Rashid Awarded IBM Junior Faculty Support
Important Dates


BSA end-of-2017 holiday potluck group picture

UNC CFAR Biostatistics Core develops software tool to assist HIV researchers

Journal of Immunological Methods

UNC Center for AIDS Research Biostatistics Core graduate research assistant Ilana Trumble and former Core GRAs Andrew Allmon, Owen Francis, Pedro Baldoni, alumnus Dr. Joseph Rigdon, and Core Director, Prof. Michael Hudgens published a research paper in the November 2017 issue of the Journal of Immunological Methods, titled “SLDAssay: A software package and web tool for analyzing limiting dilution assays”. In current HIV research, dilution assays are used to investigate strategies for eradicating the virus from latently infected cells in HIV positive individuals. This software package aids in the detection of the latent HIV reservoir by providing tools for analyzing data from dilution assays. The R-package is found at: .


Spring Break Short Course – Power Sample Size for Multilevel and Longitudinal Study Designs

Gillings School of Global Public Health Department of Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is co-sponsoring this short course in conjunction with  North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute and the University of Florida’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. UNC students can contact Ms. Melissa Hobgood via email, to register. The course runs from Tuesday, March 13th through Thursday, March 15th. Course registration ends March 1, 2018. UNC affiliates and non-affiliates should register and pay the registration fee of $1,000 by this link Questions regarding the meeting content or general inquiries can be addressed to Sandra Salloum at 352-294-1701. Visit the website for more detailed information:  .

Statistician Makes Global Imprint on Heels of Visiting Professorship

Dr. Gul Inan now teaches in Ankara, Turkey

Gul Inan traveled the globe in the summer of 2017 presenting research she initiated in Chapel Hill from mid-April 2016 to mid-June 2016 as the P. K. Sen Distinguished Visiting Professor in the UNC Department of Biostatistics. A statistician from Turkey, Inan joined the Department upon completing a year as a visiting scholar at the School of Statistics, University of Minnesota. She has been working as a part-time lecturer at Middle East Technical University in Ankara since returning to Turkey in the summer of 2016.

The visiting professorship is named for Pranab Kumar Sen, PhD, a UNC faculty member for more than 50 years. Sen is the Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor in the Gillings School’s Department of Biostatistics and also teaches in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Statistics and Operations Research. The professorship recruits aspiring scholars in statistical science from countries broadly defined as “developing” with respect to their statistics and biostatistics workforce.

During her 2-month visit to the UNC Department of Biostatistics, Inan collaborated with Professor John Preisser on the development of a score test for testing a marginalized zero-inflated Poisson regression model against a marginalized zero-inflated negative binomial regression model. The modeling approach, which estimates overall exposure effects on zero-inflated count outcomes, was introduced by Leann Long, department alumnus and Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. While two months is a short time to conduct research, Inan completed the methodological part of the project in Chapel Hill and then continued the work upon returning to her country. The manuscript based on this study was published in the Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics in collaboration with Preisser and Professor Kalyan Das from the Department of Statistics, University of Calcutta, India, another former P.K. Sen Visiting Professor (2013).

In the summer of 2017, Inan, who received her PhD in Statistics from Middle East Technical University in Ankara three years earlier, received several junior researcher travel awards to present her research on the score test. She presented her study at the 9th EMR-IBS and Italian Region Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece via International Biometric Society travel grant and at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Baltimore, MD via Institute of Mathematical Statistics travel award. She also gave invited talks at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, in Melbourne, Australia and at the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics in Bilbao, Spain.

Inan is also collaborating with Preisser on developing a criterion for selection of a working correlation structure in generalized estimating equations.  She presented this work at the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics, in Vigo, Spain via the conference travel grant; a third collaborator on this project is former P.K. Sen Visiting Professor (2013) A.H.M. Mahbub Latif of the Institute of Statistical Research and Training, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The list of  former P.K. Sen professors is completed by the first such visitor, Aluiso Pinheiro, University of Campinas, Brazil (2012) and the most recent, Sebastian George, St. Thomas College Pala, Kerala, India (2016).

Inan says that she loves statistics and traveling so much that 2017 was a very rewarding year. Working on zero-inflated (or zero-augmented) models lead her to be interested in statistical problems arising in diverse biometrical settings such as agriculture, botany, ecology, forestry, and medicine. Finally, she says she owes all these opportunities to her visit to the UNC Department of Biostatistics. She is very happy to have met UNC Biostatistics faculty, staff and students and to have enjoyed the beautiful campus in Chapel Hill.

Congratulations Dr. Sen!

Dr. Sen transitioned to Professor Emeritus on January 1, 2018. We are grateful for his past 50 years of service to the state and the University through excellence in biostatistics and statistics, including expansive, pioneering research and prolific publications, dedicated teaching and advising of doctoral students, membership in and service to professional societies and much more. Dr. Sen was recognized and respected in the U.S. and globally for his groundbreaking research and applications, and his students went on to acclaim around the world.

Professors Li, Loop and Rashid Awarded IBM Junior Faculty Support

Three of the Department’s newer faculty members were recently honored with extra support for their research and scholarly projects. The prestigious awards are administered through the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.


Important Student Date Reminders

Friday, February 16, 2018-Last day for Graduate and Professional students to file an application in ConnectCarolina for degree to be awarded in May.

 Wednesday, March 7, 2018-

  • Last day for all undergraduate students to drop courses online.   Drop transactions processed between weeks 3‐8 will remain on the student’s record with a grade of W (Withdrawal by Choice notation).
  • Last day for all non‐First Year Undergraduate students admitted prior to Fall 2016 (Old Drop Rules) to drop courses.  Drop transactions processed up to this date will not remain on the student’s record and there will be no grade recorded.
  • Last day for graduate, post‐baccalaureate, and professional students to drop a course using the web registration system.
  • Last day for Graduate and Undergraduate students to submit Pass/Fail Declarations.
  • Incompletes (IN’s) from prior term (Fall 2017) change to F* for Undergraduates Students.

Friday, March 9, 2018 Monday, March 19, 2018- SPRING RECESS – Instruction ends 5PM. Instruction resumes 8AM

Wednesday, March 14, 2018- Last day to withdraw for credit on student’s financial account.   (Tuition and fees prorated over nine weeks.)

For more Gillings School events, view the school’s event calendar.