Department News


2017 MS Graduates


Congratulations to our MS graduates (Class of 2017, December).  A number of our recent graduates returned to DC to participate in the Georgetown University Commencement Ceremony in May 2018.  Afterwards, the Department held it's annual Graduation Dinner to celebrate and reconnect faculty with our newest MS alumni at the Capitol City Brewery. 

In May 2018, Kepher Makambi, Ph.D. was awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to travel and work as a Visiting Scholar at Machakos University in Kenya.  During the summer, Dr. Makambi will work with Professor Peter Mwita.  His project will focus on Curriculum Co-development and Postgraduate Program Capacity Building for Employable Skills in Public Health Courses. 

Dr. Makambi will lead and facilitate initiatives to review and reform curriculum content with regard to quality and relevance of courses and programs is the Schools of Health Sciences and Pure Applied Sciences. The aim is to enhance the competencies and employability of Machakos University graduates by bridging curriculum deficiencies. Dr. Makambi will work with Prof. Mwita to train junior faculty on competence-based learning and content delivery skills with the aim of enhancing best classroom practices, improving mentoring and advisory skills, and enhancing commitment to the core values and objectives of higher education. Dr. Makambi will also rekindle ongoing research collaboration and graduate student mentoring efforts with Prof. Mwita with aim of assisting Machakos University increase its pool of PhD holders in statistics among faculty.

The program is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi, Kenya.  Designed to increase Africa’s brain circulation, build capacity at host institutions, and develop long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Africa and the United States and Canada.

"MEMOIR OF A NUMBER DOCTOR" by Edmund A. Gehan, Ph.D.

Dr. Gehan's memoir photo

Edmund A. Gehan, Ph.D., a Professor Emeritus of Biostatistics, is happy to share his anticipated book, "Memoir of a Number Doctor" published in late 2017.  This memoir represents a lifelong project and dream of his.  Dr. Gehan has written a highly personal memoir about growing up in New York, his research accomplishments, family life, and varied experiences in running, trekking, skiing, travel and humor.  If interested in reading his memoir, he has graciously made an e-book available for download.

Summary from Back Cover:
Edmund A. Gehan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1929, majored in mathematics at Manhattan College and received a Ph.D. in Experimental Statistics and Public Health in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina. His career was spent as a biostatistician in cancer research at the National Cancer Institute, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center of Georgetown University.  He held fellowships at Birkbeck College (London) and the University of Paris.

Dr. Gehan met and married Brenda McKeon in 1962 and they raised five children, James, Laura, Carole, Diane and Margery.  He has written a highly personal memoir about growing up in New York, his research accomplishments, family life, and varied experiences in running, trekking, skiing, travel and humor. His objective is to live a fulfilling life and communicate in this book, a sense of excitement about the journey.

M.S. in Biostatistics Program Celebrates 10 Years in 2017!

The year 2017 marks the 10-Year Anniversary of the M.S. program in Biostatistics at Georgetown University and the M.S. Research Practicum Defense.  Our first class of M.S. students enrolled in the Fall of 2006 academic year.  These first students successfully defended their Research Practium projects and graduated in December of 2007.  As we celebrate reaching this significant milestone, we look forward to the next 10 years as we continue to grow our department and graduate programs.


In December 2017, we hosted yet another successful Research Practicum Defense poster presentation in McShain Lounge. The defense is the culmination of our MS students' year long work on a research project mentored by our faculty. In the course of their projects, students learn advanced tools and techniques and apply them towards solving a practical problem from biomedical fields, thus contributing to scientific advancements. There were 25 quality research projects presented at our 10th Annual Practicum. 

2017 Practicum Dept Group Photo

Graduating MS students (Practicum presenters), first-year MS students and Ph.D. students pose with Faculty and Staff for our Annual Research Practicum Defense.


We welcomed students starting the Masters in Biostatistics program in Fall 2017!

MS Class (entering Fall 2017)


Inaugural class of PhD students (starting 2017)

2017 Inagural Class (Tengfei Li, Shilan Li, Yizhao Zhou & Bingsong Zhang)

We welcome the inaugural class starting the Doctorate in Biostatistics program in Fall 2017!  The department is happy to celebrate the kickoff of Georgetown University's newest Ph.D. program that has been many years in the making. Our Doctorate program in Biostatistics  joins our established Masters program.  It gives future Ph.D. students, who already hold an M.S degree, the opportunity to further their education with an in-depth focus on statistical methods and statistical methoodological  research.

Xue Geng, M.S., joined the department in September 2017 as a Junior Biostatistician. She received her Masters in Biostatistics from Georgetown University and her B.S. in Biological Engineering at Shanghai University, China. Ms. Geng provides consulting services for medical students' Independent Study Projects, a requirement for graduation. In addition, she collaborates with medical doctors and scientists for their funded research, grant applications, and clinical trials protocols and analysis plans.

In September 2017, Ming T. Tan, Ph.D.,  gave a keynote presentation at the 3rd International Forum on Drug Safety and Policy, as part of the 2017 Belt and Road Initiative Global Health International Congress on Big Data and Innovation in New Drug Development & Evaluation.  Approximately 400 delegates from 29 countries attended this year's Global Health Congress in Xi'an, China. 

Xian Forum 2017

In 2017, Ruzong Fan, Ph.D. presented at 10 invited talks and seminars about his research on "Functional Regression Models for Gene-based Association Studies of Complex Traits". Dr. Fan presented at the Joint Statistical Meeting (JSM) in Baltimore, the International Chinese Statistical Association (ICSA) Conference with Focus on Lifetime Data in Jilin, China, and the ICSA Applied Statistics Symposium in Chicago. He was an invited speaker at several academic institutions in both China and the US.  These included the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, Yunnan University in Kunming, Jilin University in Changchun, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Univerity of Maryland College Park.

Kepher Makambi, Ph.D. was invited to present at the 4th Strathmore International Mathematics Conference (SIMC 2017) in Nairobi, Kenya from June 19-23, 2017.  The theme of the conference was "Enhancing Collaborative Research in Mathematical Sciences".  Dr. Makambi's presentation was titled "A Joint Assessment of Outcomes in Quantitative Evidence Synthesis".

Kepher Makambi @ 4th SIMC 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya

Ming Tan, Ph.D. was invited to present at the Chinese Academy of Sciences - State Laboratory of Random Complex Structure and Data on May 16, 2017.  His presentation title was "Design and Analysis of Multidrug Combinations: Reducing Big System Data for Experiments".

DBBB Group Practicum 2016

Another successful Research Practicum Defense poster presentation in December 2016!

On November 17, 2016, during the 9th Annual GUMC Convocation, Dr. George Luta has received the GUMC Research Recognition Award for outstanding achievement in research. The picture shows Dr. Luta receiving the award from the Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. Dr. Luta is the first faculty from our department to receive this award, and we congratulate him for being recognized for his outstanding research.

2016 GUMC Research Recognition Award - George Luta

Ruzong Fan, Ph.D., joined the department in October 2016 as a Professor. Ruzong came to us from NIH where he was investigator (2011-2016). He was previously a faculty member in the Department of Statistics at Texas A&M University (2001-2011), rising from assistant professor to Associate Professor (tenured).  He was a visiting professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center (2008-2009).  He has published extensively in probability and statistics journals, human genetics and genetic epidemiology. His research interests include Statistical Genetics and Genomics, Stochastic Modeling, Stochastic Processes and Applications, focusing on developing novel statistical methodology to analyze biomedical data and to increase understanding of biological architecture of complex diseases with applications to public health. Besides his independent research in statistical genetics, he will collaborate with Lombardi and GU investigators, and participate in research and education in biostatistics and bioinformatics. 

Ming T. Tan, Ph.D.,  presented as a keynote speaker Robust Subgroup Analysis in Clinical Trials at the annual Chinese Biostatistics Conference in Tianjin July 28, 2016. This is the primary biostatistics conference in China with over 600 attendees this year.

Junrui Di, 2013 alumnus, published an original paper: Determining Survery Satisficing of Online Longitudinal Survey Data in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study: A Group-Based Trajectory Analysis with Michael Plankey, Ph.D, as the corresponding author. 

Ming T. Tan, Ph.D., presented an invited talk at the 2016 AHA/ASA International Stroke Conference, held February 16th-19th at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Designing the Next Generation of Rehabilitation Clinical Trials: Learning from Cancer in Early Stage Trial Designs and Predictive Analysis 

In December 2015 we hosted yet another successful Research Practicum Defense poster presentation. The defense is the culmination of our students' year long work on a research project mentored by our faculty. In the course of their projects, students learn advanced tools and techniques and apply them towards solving a practical problem from biomedical fields, thus contributing to scientific advancements. This year, there were 24 high quality research projects, with topics ranging from methods in next generation sequencing analysis to adaptive clinical trial design to epidemiological studies of congenital defects. The quality was praised by everyone involved, including our external collaborators.

DBBB Group Photo Practicum 2015   

Ling Cai, Ph.D., has been promoted to Senior Biostatistician. Dr. Cai has been a biostatistician within our department since 2013. She received both her Ph.D. in chemical physics and Master's degree in mathematical statistics from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2009. Dr. Cai provides consulting services for medical students' Independent Study Projects, which is required for their graduation. She also collaborates with medical doctors and scientists for their funded research, grant applications, and clinical trials protocols and analysis plans; and supports the departmental teaching activities.

Ao Yuan, Ph.D., was recently promoted from Senior Biostatistician to Associate Professor. Dr. Yuan received his Ph.D. in statistics from University of British Columbia. Before joining the department in June 2014, he worked at Howard University National Human Genome Center as a research biostatistician for about 14 years, where he conducted research in biostatistics, clinical trials, empirical methods, and Bayesian methods.

Xiaogang "Simon" Zhong, Ph.D., was recently promoted to Assistant Professor.  Dr. Zhong's research focuses on developing statistical methods and tools for analysis of high-throughput genomic and epigenomic data. He have worked extensively on gene expression microarray data from various technology platforms, genome-wide association studies of SNPs and copy number variants, enrichment of molecular pathways, impact of structural variants in the evolution of pathways and next generation sequencing data.

Between May 25 and June 8, 2015, Professor Kepher Makambi was a guest lecturer at Pan African University Institute of Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI) near Nairobi, Kenya. He gave two talks, titled "Data Science, Big Data and High-D Data: Is the Future of Statistics Threatened?" and "An Overview of Quantitative Data Synthesis". Above, he is pictured with PAUSTI faculty and students.

Professor Emeritus Ed Gehan was one of the invited speakers at the Fraud in Clinical Trials seminars held in Brussels, Belgium on April 20. He presented "Fraud in Clinical Trials: The Krebiozen story." Professor Ming Tan presented an invited talk on design and analysis of multidrug combination studies and Phase I Clinical Trials at the Paris Symposium on Early Phase Clinical Trial Methodology on April 16, 2015. 

Robert Beckman, M.D., is currently Professor of Oncology and of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics at Georgetown University Medical Center, as well as a faculty member of the Innovation Center of Biomedical Informatics. Dr. Beckman is an oncology clinical researcher and mathematical biologist, whose goals are to develop cancer therapies and to improve the way cancer therapies are developed and deployed in patients, with emphasis on personalized medicine, tumor heterogeneity, and tumor evolution. Together with the department, he will work on drug discovery and quantitative oncology.

Simina Boca, Ph.D., joined the department in April 2015 as a secondary appointment. Dr. Boca received a Ph.D. in Biostatistics and an M.H.S. in Bioinformatics from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2011. She then held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Biostatistics Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute. She is a faculty member in the Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics, holding a primary appointment in the Department of Oncology. Dr. Boca is also a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program within the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research primarily focuses on the development of methods and tools for the analysis of "omics" data, including genomics and metabolomics, especially as they relate to cancer. Further areas of substantive interest include cancer epidemiology and population genetics. Her research in oncology includes work on identifying genes and gene sets that are drivers of tumor development and on the link between diet, metabolites, and cancer risk. Her statistical interests include set-level analysis, multiple testing approaches, permutation methods, and meta-analysis.

Newsletter Archive:

Fall/Winter 2017 Newsletter

Summer 2017 Newsletter

Fall 2016 Newsletter

Summer 2015 Newsletter