Dr. Michael Kosorok

Michael R. Kosorok, PhD

W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor
Department of Biostatistics
Department of Statistics and Operations Research
3101 McGavran-Greenberg Hall
CB #7420
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Michael R. Kosorok, PhD, is W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biostatistics and Professor of Statistics and Operations Research at UNC-Chapel Hill.

His research expertise is in biostatistics, data science, machine learning and precision medicine, and he has written a major text on the theoretical foundations of these and related areas in biostatistics (Kosorok, 2008, Springer) as well as co-edited (with Erica E. M. Moodie, 2016, ASA-SIAM) a research monograph on dynamic treatment regimes and precision medicine.

He also has expertise in the application of biostatistics and data science to human health research, including cancer and cystic fibrosis. In particular, he is the contact principal investigator on an NCI program project grant (P01 CA142538), which focuses on statistical methods for novel cancer clinical trials in precision medicine, including biomarker discovery and dynamic treatment regimes. He has pioneered machine learning and data mining tools for these and related areas.

Michael Kosorok in the Gillings News

Honors and Awards

Honorary Fellow
2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Medallion Lecturer
2015, Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Honorary Fellow
2007, Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Honorary Fellow
2006, American Statistical Association

Honored Alumni, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
2004, Brigham Young University

Teaching Interests

Principles of Statistical Inference (BIOS 600), Fall 2015

Advanced Probability and Statistical Inference I (BIOS 760), Fall 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2017

Empirical Processes and Semiparametric Inference (BIOS 791), Spring 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016

Research Activities

Biostatistics, Data Science, Machine Learning, Precision Medicine

Service Activities

2015-present, Associate Editor, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B
2011-present, Associate Editor, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Theory and Methods
2004-present, Associate Editor, Annals of Statistics
2005-2014, Associate Editor, International Journal of Biostatistics
2007-2009, Associate Editor, Electronic Journal of Statistics
2007-2009, Associate Editor, Probability and Statistics Letters
2007-2009, Associate Editor, Statistics Surveys

1999-2006, U.S. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Data Safety Monitoring Board
2001-2006, U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Chair, Intramural Data Safety Monitoring Board
2003-2009 University of Wisconsin Postpartum Depression Treatment Study, Chair, DSMC
2004-2005 GlaxoSmithKline Study CKA20001, DSMC

2016-present, COPSS Awards Committee
2011-2017, BMRD Study Section, National Institutes of Health
1997-2002, U.S. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Clinical Research Committee

Key Publications

Personalized dose finding using outcome weighted learning (with discussion and rejoinder). G. Chen, D. Zeng, M.R. Kosorok (2016). Journal of the American Statistical Association, 111(516), 1509-1547.

Reinforcement learning trees. R. Zhu, D. Zeng, M. R. Kosorok  (2015). Journal of the American Statistical Association, 110(512), 1770-1784.

Biclustering with heterogeneous variance. G. Chen, P. F. Sullivan, M. R. Kosorok  (2013). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(30), 12253-12258.

Estimating individualized treatment rules using outcome weighted learning. Y. Q. Zhao, D. Zeng, A. J. Rush, M. R. Kosorok  (2012). Journal of the American Statistical Association, 107(499), 1106-1118.

Reinforcement learning strategies for clinical trials in non-small cell lung cancer. Y. F. Zhao, D. Zeng, M. A. Socinski, M. R. Kosorok  (2011). Biometrics, 67(4), 1422-1433.

Staff/Administrative Duties

2006-2016, 2017-present, Chair of Department of Biostatistics

2008-present, Director of NC TraCS (CTSA) Biostatistics Core

Served on numerous student thesis committees for the Department of Biostatistics and for other departments


  • MM, Music Composition, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999
  • PhD, Biostatistics, University of Washington, 1991
  • MS, Biostatistics, University of Washington, 1991
  • MS, Statistics, Brigham Young University, 1988
  • BM, Music Composition, Brigham Young University, 1988