The Department of Statistics at North Carolina State University (NCSU), the Department of Biotatistics and Bioinformatics at Duke University, and the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) at Duke University administer this integrated program for predoctoral training in biostatistics to prepare trainees for careers in biomedical 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 or a Ph.D. in Biostatistics at Duke 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 health sciences research. Trainees receive training in foundations of and new developments in biostatistical theory and methodology in their home departments and work with leading researchers at DCRI 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 detail.
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 NCSU and Duke, which provides trainees with the opportunity for outstanding theory and methods training and to work with internationally-known researchers at the forefront of CVD research. Trainees will 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 in the student's home department on foundational statistical theory, including probability, inference, linear and other statistical models, measure theory and advanced probability, and advanced statistical inference; and on statistical methods, including clinical trial design/analysis, longitudinal data analysis, survival analysis, epidemiology, causal inference, machine learning, and high-dimensional data analysis; and exposure at DCRI to fundamental aspects of CVD medicine, working with large, complex biomedical data, and research responsibility and ethics considerations. 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 substantial 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 reserach, 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.