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Conference to attract statistics experts

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
Statisticians from throughout South Carolina, the Southeast and beyond will converge on Charleston June 8-11 to participate in the Southern Regional Council on Statistics (SRCOS) Summer Research Conference. This year's annual conference is hosted by MUSC’s Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Epidemiology (DBB&E) on behalf of SRCOS and the American Statistical Association.
The conference, which is expected to attract more than 120 biostatistics experts, statistical educators and students, gathers in the Holy City for the first time in its 44-year-old history. Statewide statistics educators, biostatisticians and students from MUSC, University of South Carolina, College of Charleston and Clemson University also will attend the four-day event at the Embassy Suites-Historic Charleston hotel.
The event’s location in Charleston also is significant as it recognizes the 40th anniversary of DBB&E, an institution that has been a member of SRCOS organization for more than 38 years.
“I am especially delighted that we are hosting this long-standing summer research conference in this 40th anniversary year of our department at MUSC,” said Barbara C. Tilley, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor and DBB&E chair. “The keynote speakers are leaders in this research area and I am confident that the conference will foster a lively and productive exchange of ideas that will help to shape new research directions.”
The conference brings together statistical researchers from all levels interested in learning about investigation and trends in statistics and statistics education. The conference is divided into morning, afternoon and evening sessions and includes a June 10 poster session and banquet.
This year’s event features an array of keynote speakers from throughout SRCOS and outside the southern region who are considered international superstars in the field of statistics. They include Raymond J. Carroll, Texas A&M; Malay Ghosh, University of Florida; Michael Kosorok, UNC-Chapel Hill; Xihong Lin, Harvard; Thomas Louis, Johns Hopkins University; and Pranab K. Sen, UNC-Chapel Hill.
“The talks will focus on cutting-edge research presented by each of the speakers related to the conference theme on semiparametric methods,” said Elizabeth Slate, Ph.D., DBB&E professor and co-chair of the six-member team managing the conference’s scientific organizing committee.
In statistics, researchers rely on parametric or non- parametric methods to help understand and quantify an association between a predictor variable and a response. In applying the semiparametric approach, both models are brought together for interpretation.
“It’s believed that the semipara-metric method helps unfold different, complex and intricate relationships or data that unveil different relationships between predictors and responses,” said Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D., DBB&E assistant professor and event co-chair.
A June 9 panel session, featuring four leaders in this field, will focus on teaching semiparametric methods. All graduate students and junior faculty are invited to participate in the June 10 poster session where their work will be  judged by an anonymous panel with an awards presentation to follow. Awards will be presented for the Clint Miller Award (best poster) and other SRCOS named awards. Miller, a prominent statistician, was the founder of MUSC’s DBB&E in 1968. Additionally, Tilley will present a special new award for the Best Innovative Biomedical Application.
For information on the SRCOS Conference, visit

Friday, June 6, 2008
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