Biostatistics and Epidemiology Research Design Core

The Biostatistics and Epidemiology Research Design (BERD) core brings together expertise in biostatistics and epidemiology, particularly expertise needed to plan and conduct translational health research.  This includes study design (particularly but not solely for clinical trials), data (quantitative/statistical) analytic methods, database development and management, statistical genetics methods, geocoding, health economic analyses, and psychometric assessment. BERD personnel are active researchers in a wide range of clinical, translational, basic, and population-based research across WSU. BERD personnel are thus well prepared to contribute to all phases of study design, operation, data management, statistical analysis, and manuscript preparation.

The current BERD core faculty and support staff includes three PhD statisticians, one PhD epidemiologist, one PhD demographist, one PhD health economist, one clinician-scientist with extensive biostatistical expertise, two Master's level biostatisticians, and two database managers. We have broad experience for assisting and collaborating with principal investigators (PIs) on a range of topics: design and analysis of observational studies; design and analysis of intervention/clinical trial studies; design and evaluation of forms and survey questionnaires to be used in collecting study data; graphically summarizing data; power analyses and sample size assessment; analysis of high-dimensional data; analysis of genomic data (next-generation sequencing, microarrays); analysis of longitudinal and survival data; methods related to missing data, biased sampling, and causal inference; analysis of spatial and geographical data; prediction and forecasting; data mining. BERD staff work with PIs in all phases of research studies including planning studies, preparing grant applications, analyzing data, and presenting data.

A key feature of the epidemiology effort will be to collate and curate data and reports specific to health in Detroit and the region as well as offer such reports on demand for available data.  This will provide critical and validated data for WSU faculty grant applications and papers.  BERD faculty and staff have a wealth of computational resources available that includes high-end desktops (Xeon-based workstations), low level programming language (C++/VC++/FORTRAN), and access to the high-performance computing grid.  BERD faculty and staff also have experience with an array of software (e.g., SAS, R, SPSS, STATA, Matlab) and expertise with development, maintenance, and curation of REDCap and OnCore databases.

Successful clinical and translational investigations rely upon sound study design and careful statistical analysis. The BERD resource will provides biomedical researchers at IBio, and across the WSU campus with both a primary source for biostatistical and design assistance from unit personnel, as well as a referral and facilitating resource to identify biostatistics and epidemiology collaborators more broadly. Key objectives and services for this initiative include the following.

  1. Provide study design and statistical analysis collaborative support for Center related projects and investigators, especially pilot studies and researchers early in their careers.
  2. Facilitate availability of appropriate biostatistical and epidemiological expertise from a common supporting unit for more complex or nonstandard methodological problems, and to generate innovative methods and models in support of integrative research projects.
  3. Forge partnerships and collaborations with other clinical and translational sciences awardees nationally by sharing resources to facilitate large-scale epidemiologic and clinical investigations, and adopting best practices.
  4. Develop a data repository and summary data information drawing from: a) existing state and national data on Detroit and the region; b) sharing of data collected by investigator initiated studies in Detroit and the region; and, c) collection of new data from surveys conducted by the Center.