Biostatistics department presents Grizzle Distinguished Alumnus Award

April 22, 2016

Left to right: Michael R. Kosorok, W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor and chair of the biostatistics; Michael L. Pennell, PhD, Grizzle Award Winner; James E. Grizzle, PhD, former chair of biostatistics

Left to right are Drs. Michael Kosorok, Michael Pennell and James Grizzle.

On Thursday, April 21, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics presented the 2016 James E. Grizzle Distinguished Alumnus Award to Michael L. Pennell, PhD, associate professor of biostatistics at The Ohio State University. At the awards ceremony, the department also announced the recipients of several other student, faculty and alumni awards for the 2015 to 2016 academic year.

Pennell, a 2002 graduate of the biostatistics master’s program and a 2006 graduate of the doctoral program, completed his thesis and dissertation on methods for environmental data. He is a nationally-recognized biostatistician in the areas of toxicological risk assessment, survival analysis and group randomized trials.

A 2014 recipient of The Ohio State University’s Excellence in Teaching Award, Pennell’s research with students has been particularly impressive. In the past couple of years he has published four papers in statistical literature, with doctoral and master’s students as first authors. In addition, he has been an incredibly productive collaborator, publishing more than 45 papers in public health, medical and veterinary medicine journals.

Dr. Pennell presents the 2016 Grizzle Lecture.

Pennell has served on two prestigious scientific advisory boards for the Environmental Protection Agency: the Trichloroethylene Scientific Advisory Board Panel in 2010 and the Libby Amphibole Asbestos Scientific Advisory Board Review Panel in 2012. His contributions to both statistical methods and applications are evident in his service as statistical consultant for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine from 2013 to 2014 and in his current position as associate editor of Lifetime Data Analysis.

In addition to the Grizzle Distinguished Alumnus Award, the following awards and recognitions were presented:

Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 Fellowships and Scholarships

Sarah Reifeis, The Graduate School’s Royster Society of Fellows Five-Year Fellowship

Sarah Reifeis, John and Diane Fryer Fellowship

Jipcy Amador Sulbaran, Smith Anderson Fellowship

Bridget Lin, Annual Fund Scholarship

Ilana Trumble, Annual Fund Scholarship

Ilana Trumble, Gillings Merit Scholarship

Remli Sengupta, Bernard Greenberg Scholarship

Pedro Baldoni, Max Halperin Award

Kevin Donovan, Hardison Scholarhip in Bioinformatics

Bryan Blette, Mohberg Scholarship

2015 to 2016 Delta Omega Inductions and Awards

Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health Inductees

  • Thomas Conrad
  • Ai (Andy) Ni
  • Rongrong Qu
  • Pourab Roy
  • Ran Tao

Yue (Annie) Shan, Delta Omega Academic Excellence Award

Larry Han, Delta Omega Undergraduate Award of Excellence

James Xenakis, Delta Omega Service Award

Natalie Cheung Rotelli, MPH, Delta Omega Alumni Award

Delta Omega Faculty Member Award
David Couper, PhD, clinical professor of biostatistics and deputy director of the Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center

Departmental Awards

2015 Regina C. Elandt-Johnson Best Master’s Paper Award
Bradley Saul, MS, for his paper, “Inferference: Causal Inference with Interference in R”

2015 Larry Kupper Dissertation Publication Award
Ran Tao, for his paper “Analysis of Sequence Data Under Multivariate Trait-Dependent Sampling”

2015 Barry H. Margolin Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research
Ai (Andy) Ni, for his paper “Variable Selection for Case-Cohort Studies with Failure Time Outcome”

See more photos from the event on Flickr.


Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or