Starting in May 2006, the Department of Statistics at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) at Duke University are jointly administering an integrated program for predoctoral training in biostatistics to prepare trainees for careers in medical research, with a focus on cardiovascular disease (CVD) research. The goal of the program is to prepare graduate students studying for a Ph.D. in Statistics at NCSU to excel as both biostatistical methodologists and biostatistical collaborators, preparing them to conduct state-of-the-art biostatistical research relevant to important problems in CVD and other medical research. Trainees receive training in foundations of and new developments in biostatistical theory and methodology and work with leading researchers on cutting-edge issues in CVD science to which they apply their statistical training.
The training program is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and includes a stipend and tuition and fees. Please see below and the links above for more details!
The shortage of skilled biostatisticians equipped to address emerging challenges in this exciting new era of CVD research calls for training that formally integrates (i) in-depth experience in collaboration in a multidisciplinary environment, (ii) mastery of the theoretical underpinnings of statistics required for valid application of sophisticated biostatistical techniques and for research on development of new methodology, and (iii) emphasis on communication and leadership skills. The program capitalizes on the long-standing partnership between one of the largest graduate programs in statistics in the world (NCSU) and a research institution that is the largest of its kind and home to internationally-known researchers at the forefront of CVD research (DCRI). This partnership affords trainees the unique opportunity to develop all of these skills through interaction with faculty at both universities, who themselves have a history of inter-institutional collaboration and research and who have extensive experience in training and mentoring.
The training involves formal coursework at NCSU on statistical theory, including probability, inference, linear and other statistical models, measure theory and advanced probability, and advanced statistical inference, and statistical methods, including clinical trials design/analysis, longitudinal data analysis, survival analysis, epidemiology, and cutting-edge special topics, such as causal inference; and at DCRI in fundamental aspects of CVD science and in research responsibility and ethics. There is also extensive formal and experiential training in communication and leadership skills at both institutions. Trainees are introduced to DCRI CVD research gradually and will evolve over their tenures to holding full collaborative apprenticeships in which they are fully integrated as functioning members of DCRI project teams. The apprenticeships will provide trainees with extensive working knowledge of CVD science, the opportunity to develop collaborative skills, and the recognition of how new biostatistical methods development follows from challenges encountered in the collaborative context. This last point will be emphasized through mechanisms under which statistical methodological challenges arising in trainees' apprenticeships will lead to doctoral dissertation research in biostatistics.