Gillings School Directory
John S. Preisser PhD

John S. Preisser, PhD

Research Professor
Department of Biostatistics
  • 3105-F McGavran-Greenberg Hall
  • CB #7420
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599
  • USA

John Preisser, PhD, is a research professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and deputy director of the biostatistics service with the North Carolina Translational & Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS) where he directs biostatistics collaboration.  He is a research fellow in the program on Aging, Disability, and Long-Term Care in the UNC Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research where he collaborates with experts in the field to conduct research that improves the care of the elderly in nursing homes and residential care facilities. Dr. Preisser is also deeply engaged in oral health research in the UNC School of Dentistry.  These vibrant, multi-disciplinary, collaborative research environments motivate him to develop new statistical models and methods, and to promote state-of-art statistical analysis techniques that improve human health and welfare.

Honors and Awards

Elected Fellow

2010, American Statistical Association

Elected Member

2006, International Statistical Institute

Research Fellow of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research

2006-2016, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

James E. Grizzle Distinguished Alumnus Award

2001, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Student Travel Award Recipient

1995, Biometric Society, Eastern North American Region


1994-1995, U.S. Public Health Service

Environmental Traineeship

1990-1994, National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS)

Cobb Whitfield Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior

1986, Department of Statistics, Virginia Tech

Representative Courses

Models and Methodology in Categorical Data (BIOS 765), 2006-2016 (even years)

Research Activities

Dr. Preisser conducts statistical methods research in the general area of regression analysis for correlated data. He is interested in the analysis of clustered and longitudinal data, methods for count data including zero-inflated Poisson and negative binomial regression models, statistical methods for missing data, and the design and analysis of cluster intervention trials.

Dr. Preisser and his collaborators and students have recently introduced marginalized two-part regression models that have regression coefficients with interpretations for the effect of exposures or treatments on the overall mean response like that of one-part models. These models account for the large amounts of zeros that often arise in semi-continuous or count response data such as medical costs, the number of dental office visits, or dental caries counts. Unlike traditional two-part models, whose regression coefficients have hurdle or latent class interpretations, marginalized models don’t require post-modeling calculations or recycled predictions to obtain the overall effects often of greatest interest to researchers. Thus, not only are marginalized models widely accessible to research analysts but the results they produce are less prone to misinterpretation than traditional two-part models.

Dr. Peisser applies principles of experimental design, clinical trials, epidemiology, health services research and survey sampling methods in his work.

Service Activities

2014-2015 Served as reviewer for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Chair, Pranab K. Sen Visiting Professorship Committee, Department of Biostatistics, UNC-Chapel Hill
2010 Provided oversight to the production of YouTube video interviews with two biostatistics professors, Gary Grove Koch and Pranab Kumar Sen
2010-2011 Guest Editor for special May 2011 issue of Statistics in Biopharmaceutical Research on the occasion of a Festschrift in honor of Professor Gary G. Koch
2009-2010 Chair of Gary G. Koch Festschrift Subcommittee, member of 60th Departmental Anniversary Committee, UNC-Chapel Hill
2008-2011 Associate Editor (Co-editor), Sankhya, Series B, (Indian Journal of Statistics)
2007-2009 International Biometrics Society, ENAR Regional Advisory Board
2006-2009 Served on Doctoral Examinations Committee, Department of Biostatistics, UNC-Chapel Hill
2006 ENAR 2007 Spring Meeting Program Committee, Representative of the Biometrics Section of the American Statistical Association
2005 Reviewer for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
2005 Member of Nathan Mantel Award Selection Committee of the Section on Statistics in Epidemiology of the American Statistical Association
2004-2006 Officer, Section on Statistics in Epidemiology of the American Statistical Association (2004 chair-elect, 2005 chair, 2006 past-chair); member of the section’s Young Investigator Award Committee

Key Publications

Optimal allocation of clusters in cohort stepped wedge designs. Fan Li, Elizabeth Turner, John Preisser (2018). Statistics & Probability Letters, 137(2018), 257-263.

Two parts are better than one: modeling marginal means of semi-continuous data. Valerie Smith, Brian Neelon, Matthew Maciejewski, John Preisser (2017). Health Services Outcomes and Research Methodology, 17(3-4), 198-218.

Matching the statistical model to the research question for dental caries indices with many zero counts. John Preisser, D. Leann Long, John Stamm (2017). Caries Research, 51(3), 198-208.

A new way to estimate disease prevalence from random partial-mouth samples. John Preisser, Sarah Marks, Anne Sanders, Aderonke Akinkugbe, James Beck (2017). Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 44(3), 283-289.


PhD, Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1995

MA, Statistics, Pennsylvania State University, 1988

BS, Statistics, Virginia Tech, 1986

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