Departments & Centers

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Research, Instructional, and Service Projects

In addition to offering a variety of courses and degree programs, the department is involved in a number of innovative research and service projects including:

Diabetes, Diabetes Treatment and Breast Cancer Prognosis (funded by NIH) Type 2 Diabetes and breast cancer are common diseases with tremendous worldwide health impact. This project uses the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a large prospective cohort study, to assess the influence of pre-existing diabetes on prognosis of patients with breast cancer. The project will also examine the influence of the drug metformin on breast cancer prognosis. Metformin is used to treat diabetes but is attracting interest for its potential anticancer effects. We expect the study to advance understanding of whether and how pre-existing diabetes and diabetes treatment influence breast cancer survival. Improving knowledge of the effects of diabetes and diabetes treatment in relation to breast cancer prognosis will inform proper care not only for women who have diabetes and breast cancer, but also for women who have diabetes in general.

Trace Element Levels and Risk of Stroke (funded by NIH) Despite minor geographic shifts, the “Stroke Belt”, a region of highest stroke mortality in the Southeastern US identified a half century ago, still persists today. For decades, it has been demonstrated outside the US that geographic variations in trace elements may play critical roles in the development of cardiovascular diseases. However, the geographic variation of trace element levels in relation to stroke risk remains unclear. The overall objectives of this project are to examine the associations between trace element levels and stroke risk and to investigate whether geographic variation of trace element levels is related to the “Stroke Belt”. This research will help identify at-risk individuals for stroke, thus providing important data identifying whether stroke risk can be reduced by dietary, supplemental, lifestyle or environmental interventions that modify trace element patterns.

Longitudinal Study of Caucasian and African American Colon Cancer Survivors (funded by American Cancer Society) The overall health and well-being of the growing number of cancer survivors increasingly requires attention. Cancer survivors are at elevated risk for recurrence, second cancers, and other forms of co-morbidity (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis), and there are racial disparities in colon cancer prognosis and survival. Health behaviors may be associated with colon cancer prognosis and survival; however, little is known about patterns of health behaviors among persons diagnosed with colon cancer, and there is no data on possible racial differences. The purposes of this study are to quantify the extent to which health behaviors (e.g., diet, physical activity, and dietary supplement use) change following a diagnosis of colon cancer and possible racial differences. We will also examine whether colon cancer prognosis may be related to these modifiable health behaviors in both African American and White colon cancer patients.

Study Design and Data Analysis Consulting Center The Study Design and Data Analysis Consulting Center (SDDACC) in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics provides a wide range of support and services through collaborative research, including biostatistics and epidemiology consulting to faculty, staff, and students within and outside the School of Public Health. Our mission is to provide our biostatistics and epidemiological expertise to support health-related research. Our team has expertise in a wide range of statistical/epidemiological methods, including study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation.

Academic Bulletins