Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Research Design

Assistance with biostatistical analysis and study design

  • About BERD

BERD provides leadership in the development, coordination and delivery of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design expertise to investigators within CCTS. In addition to BERD’s active membership in the CTSA National Consortium, BERD has joined the network of outstanding biostatisticians, epidemiologists and research methodologists already working within the various academic components of the CCTS-affiliates (i.e., UTHSC-H, MDACC, MHHS). BERD aims to complement the existing talent pool by promoting novel opportunities for collaborative clinical and translational research and the development of innovative research methodologies.

If you are seeking BERD support, please complete and return this form: BERD Project Initiation Form

Additional Information

BERD Team

Meet the BERD Team

Faculty: Mohammad H Rahbar, PhD, Deborah del Junco, PhD, Monir Hossain, PhD, Dejian Lai, PhD, and Sanjay Shete, PhD.

Staff: Erin Fox, PhD, Sartaj Alam, and Nusrat Harun, MSPH.

Mohammad H. Rahbar, PhD

Mohammad H. Rahbar, PhD

Director, Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design Core,
Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences
Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics,
The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Education:

  • PhD in Statistics, Michigan State University (MSU), MI, USA, 1984-1988
  • MS in Statistics, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran, 1978-1980
  • BS in Statistics, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran, 1974-1978

Research Interests:

Statistical and Study Design Issues in Epidemiology; Autism Spectrum Disorders with a particular focus on Gene-Environment Interactions in relation to Autism; Developmental Disabilities; Global Health; Environmental Health with a focus on Toxic and Heavy Metals; Medical Informatics; Analytic Issues in Multicenter Studies; Data Mining; Sequential Procedures; Clinical Trials; Cost-Effectiveness Analysis; Survival Analysis

Contact information:

Phone: 713-500-7901
Fax: 713-500-0766
Email: Mohammad.H.Rahbar@uth.tmc.edu>

Office Address:
University of Texas Professional Building, Ste. 1100.05
6410 Fannin
Houston, TX 77030

Deborah del Junco, PhD

Deborah del Junco, PhD

Director of Outcomes Research
Center for Translational Injury Research (CeTIR)
Senior Epidemiologist

Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design (BERD) Core
Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS)
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Education:

  • Ph.D. in Epidemiology, The University of Texas school of Public Health Houston, TX, 1988.
  • M.S. in Medical Technology/Microbiology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 1980
  • B.S. in Medical technology, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 1974

Research Interests:

Epidemiology Methods;

Gene-Environment Interactions in Chronic Disease; Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology; Veterans' Health; Autoimmune Disease; Rett Syndrome.


Contact Information:

Phone: 713-500-7902
Fax: 713-500-0766
Email: Deborah.J.DelJunco@uth.tmc.edu

Office Address:
University of Texas Professional Building, Ste. 1100.27
6410 Fannin
Houston, TX 77030

Md Monir Hossain, PhD

Md Monir Hossain, PhD

Assistant Professor
Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design (BERD) Core
Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Education:

  • Ph.D. in Statistics, Institute of Statistical Mathematics (ISM), The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Tokyo, Japan
  • M.Sc. (Thesis) in Statistics, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • B.Sc. (Honors) in Statistics, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Research Interests:
Main research interests include the development of statistical methods in the following areas: Spatial-temporal Disease Cluster Modeling; Mixture Models; Inter-rater Reliability; Survival Function for Informative Drop-out; Multi-level Modeling; and Health Services Research

Contact Information:
Phone: 713-500-7964
Fax: 713-500-0766
Email: Monir.Hossain@uth.tmc.edu

Office Address:
University of Texas Professional Building, Ste. 1100.25
6410 Fannin
Houston, TX 77030

Dejian Lai, PhD

Dejian Lai, PhD

Professor, Biostatistics
School of Public Health
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Education:

  • Ph.D. in Statistics, University of Texas at Dallas
  • M.S. in Statistics, University of Texas at El Paso
  • Diploma in Demography, Munich Center for Advanced Training, Commission of the European Communities, Munich, Germany
  • B.S. in Computational Mathematics, Jiangxi University, Nanchang, China

Research Interests:

Biostatistics; chaos; demography; global health; life table; time series analysis; nonparametric methods; spatial statistics; statistical methods

SPH Profile

Contact Information:
Phone: 713-500-9270
Fax: 713-500-9442
Email: dejian.lai@uth.tmc.edu

Office Address:
UTHealth School of Public Health
1200 Hermann Pressler, Ste. W1006
Houston, TX 77030

Sanjay Shete, PhD

Sanjay Shete, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology,
Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences,
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Education:

  • PhD in Statistics, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
  • Master of Philosophy in Statistics, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India,
  • MS in Statistics, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India,
  • BS in Statistics, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information:
Phone: (713) 745-2483
Email: sshete@mdanderson.org

Office Address:
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Epidemiology, Unit 1340
1155 Pressler Blvd
Unit Number: 1340
Houston, TX 77030
Room Number: CPB4.3628

Erin E. Fox, PhD

Erin E. Fox, PhD

Project Coordinator
Prospective Observational Multicenter Massive Transfusion Study (PROMMTT)
Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) Core
Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Education:

  • Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, 2007
  • M.S., Epidemiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, 1999
  • B.S., Microbiology, University of Florida, 1994

Research Interests:

Epidemiologic Methods, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology, Cancer Epidemiology

Community of Science Profile

Contact Information:
Phone: 713-500-7965
Fax: 713-500-0766
Email: Erin.E.Fox@uth.tmc.edu

Office Address:
University of Texas Professional Building, Ste. 11.28
6410 Fannin
Houston, TX 77030

Sartaj Alam

Sartaj Alam

Graduate Research Assistant
Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design (BERD) Core
Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Education:

  • MS Biostatistics with minor in epidemiology and bioinformatics: School of Public Health, University of Texas-Houston (UTSPH) – (Expected, 2009)
  • Certificate Program in Statistics: Data Management, Analysis and Computer Software; Community Health Sciences (CHS), Aga Khan University, Karachi – (July, 2004)
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Advanced Course: Dept of Engineering and Technology – NED University, Karachi – (2002)
  • Microsoft Certified Solution Developer: Microsoft Technical Education Center (MS-TEC) - (1998)
  • Baccalaureate in Aerospace Engineering: College of Aeronautical Engineering (CAE) – (Graduated with Honors, awarded gold medal on merit – (1992)

Research Interests:

Statistical computing; multi-stage survey methods; longitudinal studies and time series analysis

Contact Information:
Phone: 713-500-7907
Fax: 713-500-0766
Email: Sartaj.Alam@uth.tmc.edu

Office Address:
University of Texas Professional Building, Ste. 1100 WS.18
6410 Fannin
Houston, TX 77030

Nusrat Harun, MSPH

Nusrat Harun, MSPH

Senior Statistician
Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design (BERD) Core
Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Education:

  • MSPH in Biostatistics, University of South Carolina
  • M.Sc. (Thesis) in Statistics, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • B.Sc. (Honors) in Statistics, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Research Interests:

Research Design in Clinical Trials, Analysis of Repeated Measures Data, Multi-state Disease Models, Survival Analysis, Bayesian Methods in Clinical Trials and Survival Analysis

Contact Information:
Phone: 713-500-7906
Fax: 713-500-0766
Email: Nusrat.Harun@uth.tmc.edu

Office Address:
University of Texas Professional Building, Ste. 1100.29
6410 Fannin
Houston, TX 77030

Parisa Assassi

Parisa Assassi, MPH, MSc

Research Coordinator II
Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design (BERD) Core
Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Education:

  • Masters in Public Health (Disease Control/Epidemiology) August, 2008, The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX
  • Masters in Public Health and Nutrition, June, 1998, The Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Bachelors in Nutrition Sciences, February, 1992, The Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Research Interests:

Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Nutrition, Obesity, Epidemiology of Cancer, International Health, and Social Determinants of Health

Contact Information:
Phone: 713-500-7961
Fax: 713-500-0766
Email: Parisa.Assassi@uth.tmc.edu

Office Address:
University of Texas Professional Building, Ste. 1100.19
6410 Fannin
Houston, TX

BERD Projects

Prospective Observational Multi-center Massive Transfusion study (PROMMTT-DCC)

The purpose of this project is for the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC-H) to serve as the Data Coordination Center (DCC) for a Prospective, Observational, Multi-center Massive Transfusion Trial (PROMMTT) which involves at least 10 major trauma research centers in the United States. The PROMMTT-DCC will provide comprehensive administration including the establishment and management of a Consortium of at least 10 clinical sites and the coordination of data collection, data management and statistical analysis activities to achieve the overall objectives of this project. Dr. MH Rahbar (PI), Dr. del Junco (Co-Investigator), Dr. Erin Fox (Project Coordinator), Dr. Md Monir Hossain (Co-Investigator/Statistician)

University of Texas Specialized Program in Acute Stroke (UT SPOTRIAS)- Data Core

This program is a renewal of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Specialized Program in Translational Research in Acute Stroke. This program includes implementation of two clinical trials in stroke patients. This program also includes 3 Cores (Clinical, Data, and Tissue) to support these clinical and translational studies, as well as a Career Development Program to train new investigators to carry out future translational studies.  Dr. MH Rahbar (PI of Data Core), Dr. Md Monir Hossain (Faculty Statistician), Nusrat Harun (Senior Statistician)

Data Coordinating Center (DCC) for Autism & Other Disabilities

The purpose of this CDC Cooperative Agreement is for the Michigan State University Data Coordinating Center (MSU-DCC) to serve as a data coordinating center for a multicenter study to support surveillance data and research data management related to developmental disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other Developmental Disabilities (DD). Dr. MH Rahbar is PI of UTHSC-H subcontract

Epidemiological Research on Autism in Jamaica (ERAJ)

The long term goal of this planning project is to develop capacity for conducting large scale population-based Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) studies in Jamaica. The partners in this project are experienced researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC-H) and Cure Autism Now (CAN)/Autism Speaks (AS), collaborating with a team of researchers in The University of West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, in Kingston, Jamaica. Dr. MH Rahbar (PI); Dr. del Junco (Co-Investigator)

BERD Collaborative Projects

Collaboration with UT-Brownsville Campus:
Center of Excellence for Diabetes in Americans of Mexican Descent, PI: Joseph McCormick
(MH Rahbar– Co, Investigator, Statistician; Monir Hossain- Statistician)

This project will conduct research on the physiological progression of diabetes and its complications among Mexican Americans and develop diabetes prevention strategies and test innovative approaches to effective intervention in minorities. This Center of Excellence aims to 1) understand the changes proximal to the development of overt diabetes, 2) understand the mental health impact of diabetes and the potential for early intervention, 3) utilize the strong family unit in the Mexican American population to reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes in children through parental intervention, and 4) understand how to use the successful technique of behavioral journalism and the media to change diet and physical activity behavior at the population level.

Collaboration with UT-Brownsville Campus:
Social Cogitative Disaster Preparedness Communications for Mexican-Americans PI: Belinda Reininger
(MH Rahbar– Co-Investigator, Statistician; Sartaj Alam- Statistician)

The purpose of this grant will be to identify the special needs population within Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy Counties in South Texas who will need assistance in being evacuated in case of emergency. The specific aims of this project include: 1) needs assessment and to determine the number of persons with special needs requiring assistance with evacuation in case of emergency; by level of need, census tract, and county based on two stage community survey; 2) needs assessment and to determine the number of persons with special needs based in institutions providing care such as nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospice, assisted living facilities, state schools and hospitals; requiring assistance with evacuation in case of emergency by level of need, census tract and county based on a self reported questionnaire; and 3) experimental methods will be incorporated to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of our disaster preparedness guidelines in order to enable this population to better deal with a potential disaster in future in more scientific way.

Other Collaborations:

Initiation of Colorectal Cancer Screening in Veterans, PI: Susan Vernon; (Deborah del Junco - Co-Investigator)

This is a nationwide, randomized, controlled intervention trial to increase the initiation of colorectal cancer screening in the population of male and female U.S. veterans between 50 and 64 years of age. The stepped intervention approach will use mailed intervention materials followed by telephone reminders comparing two different approaches: automated vs. live consultations that incorporate strategies from the field of motivational interviewing. This is a collaborative project with investigators at UTHSC-H, Duke University School of Medicine, the Durham VAMC and Washington University (St. Louis) School of Medicine.

Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education: Migrant Adolescent Health Research Study, PI: Sharon Cooper; (Deborah del Junco- Co-Investigator)

This is an epidemiologic study of the prevalence and incidence of early indicators of chronic disease (e.g., obesity and Type II diabetes) among farm worker adolescents (13-19 years of age) to support the prevention and comprehensive policy dimensions of NIOSH’s WorkLife initiative. This project is part of the current research program of the Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention, and Education at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler that sponsors research, education/outreach programs.

Center for Research Translation in Scleroderma, PI: Frank Arnett; (Deborah del Junco- Co-Investigator)

This Center focuses on molecular approaches to understand the pathogenetic mechanisms (including genetic factors) and predictors of outcomes in systemic sclerosis. The study aims to identify the cellular pathways leading to disease and optimal targets for effective therapy and prevention. The patient population includes three major ethnic groups. There are 3 projects: 1. Functional Genomics Approach to Systemic Sclerosis Pathogenesis, 2. Gene Expression as Predictors of Outcomes in the GENISOS (Genetics versus Environment in Scleroderma Outcomes Study) Cohort, and 3. Role of TGF3 and CTGF Signaling in Transgenic Mouse Models of Scleroderma.

Randomized Trial of Comprehensive Lifestyle Modification, Optimal Pharmacological Treatment and PET Imaging for Detection and Management of Stable Coronary Artery Disease (The Century Trial), PI: Sdringola/Gould; (Deborah del Junco- Co-Investigator)

The purpose of this randomized, controlled trial is to 1) evaluate the impact of stress perfusion imaging with SPECT or PET on post-test resource utilization and on risk stratification, and 2) assess whether a comprehensive program of lifestyle modification and lipid management, compared with standard therapy, reduces cardiovascular risk in patients with known disease or at high risk for coronary artery disease. Eligible patients are between 40 and 75 years of age and referred by their physicians to receive SPECT imaging. Participants are assigned randomly to receive either a comprehensive intervention program or standard follow-up care by their referring physician and are followed for five years to compare their post-intervention outcome scores on a standardized scale measuring cardiovascular risk factors and survival free of serious adverse cardiovascular disease events (e.g., myocardial infarction, stroke).

Training Excellence in Aging Studies (TEXAS) PI: Carmel Dyer; (Monir Hossain- Co-Investigator/Statistician)

TEXAS applies a competency-based approach to foster knowledge and skill acquisition in geriatrics at student, resident, faculty and practicing physician levels so that outcomes are realized at both organizational and individual levels. This program hopes to establish an innovative, high impact and sustainable geriatric education program for UTHSC-H students, residents and faculty and, ultimately, improve quality of care for the vulnerable elderly population.

BERD’s Mission Statement & Goals

Background:

The Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC-H) was one of 12 Centers funded in the 2006 inaugural round of the NIH/ NCRR CTSA Roadmap initiative to transform clinical research at academic institutions. Currently there are 38 funded CTSA programs. The goal of the UTHSC-H CCTS is to provide resources and expert advice to investigators in a manner that facilitates collaborative clinical and translational research across the CCTS institutional affiliates including the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and the Memorial Hermann Hospital System (MHHS).

Through the efforts of the recently established Consortium of CTSAs and NIH/NCRR representatives, the goal of the CTSA award program has been updated. In the most recent CTSA Strategic Plan Report (October 2008), the goal is stated as follows:

“The goal of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program is to transform the local, regional and national environment for clinical and translational science, thereby increasing the efficiency, quality and speed of clinical and translational research.”

Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design (BERD) component of CCTS: BERD provides leadership in the development, coordination and delivery of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design expertise to investigators within CCTS. In addition to BERD’s active membership in the CTSA Consortium, BERD has joined the network of outstanding biostatisticians, epidemiologists and research methodologists already working within the various academic components of the CCTS affiliates (i.e., UTHSC-H, MDACC, MHHS). BERD aims to complement the existing talent pool by promoting novel opportunities for collaborative clinical and translational research and the development of innovative research methodologies.

BERD Mission and Goals

BERD’s mission is to promote (within our CCTS-affiliated institutions as well as across CTSAs nationwide) innovative, state-of-the-art clinical and translational research of maximum public health benefit and scientific impact. CCTS-BERD provides the resources required to pursue the following objectives in support of the overall goals of the CCTS.

  1. Contribute to the enhancement and further development of the clinical and translational research infrastructure both within the CCTS and across CTSAs nationwide.
  2. Develop short term and long-term collaborations between clinical/translational investigators and members of our CCTS network of experts in biostatistics, epidemiology and research design.
  3. Contribute to the formal training of clinical and translational investigators in biostatistics, epidemiology and research design
  4. Contribute to methodologic advances in Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Study Design of benefit to clinical and translational research.

To achieve these goals, BERD will seize every opportunity (e.g., through informal consultations as well as classroom instruction) to develop a collaborative relationship with clinical/translational investigators (primarily within our CCTS-affiliated institutions) to promote the rapid development of innovative research ideas and the rapid dissemination of valid research findings. Typically, this is a long-term process that begins with providing study design, epidemiological, and statistical methods assistance in the development of a research proposal (known as pre-award phase), proceeding (most often iteratively) with the acquisition of funding, and, over the course of actually conducting the study, produces findings and publications (most often iteratively). The goals of BERD include collaboration with investigators to optimize the often complex trade-offs between the research innovation, its potential medical/public health impact, and the required investments of time and resources. BERD aims to reduce the number of iterations required to successfully obtain research funding and to publish research findings.

BERD Support Options

Research support through the CCTS-BERD is available in one or more of the following capacities: collaboration, consultation or fee-for service contract. A strong commitment to research quality and productivity is a basic premise for interaction with investigators in various CCTS-affiliated institutions, schools, and departments. An initial BERD consultation to assess an investigator’s research needs is offered free of charge. For projects (usually post-award) seeking an hourly “fee-for-service” arrangement, a written contract will be provided. Such projects typically require data management and statistical analysis. Whenever possible, we recommend a collaborative arrangement in which a fixed % effort of a BERD faculty member is budgeted on the funding application. This prospective arrangement has the advantage of assuring the investigator that the necessary resources have been pre-negotiated and will be available when the application is funded.

For pre-award and post-award support, the CCTS BERD encourages the Project’s Principal Investigator (PI) to confirm all negotiations with the BERD Director (or his/her representative). Please direct your request for the BERD support to Ms. Kari Bloom, at (713) 500-7932, via e-mail Kari.Bloom@uth.tmc.edu, or by filling out the BERD Project Initiation Form (below).

BERD Project Initiation Form

Investigators: Please fill out and submit the following form to Nicholas Bisase, by clicking on the link below and inserting her email address. Based on the information provided, our BERD Director, Dr. MH Rahbar or his designee, will assess your needs and assign a suitable BERD member to contact you and set up an initial consultation.

CTSA Consortium

The CCTS was one of 12 Centers funded in the 2006 inaugural round of the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Sciences Award (CTSA) Roadmap initiative to transform clinical research at academic institutions. Our CCTS partnership includes all component Schools of the UTHSC-H, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Memorial Hermann Hospital System. There are now 38 funded CTSA Centers nationwide and the number is expected to grow to 60 over the next few years. For more information about CTSA, visit the CTSA Consortium website.

A major goal of the CTSA initiative is to develop a national consortium of CTSA institutions that work together to transform the discipline of clinical and translational research across the country. CCTS-BERD Faculty help realize this goal through their participation in CTSA-BERD networks at the following national and regional levels:

CTSA-BERD Key Function Committee (KFC) serves as a forum for the exchange of information on current approaches to the integration of biostatistics, epidemiology, and research design into clinical and translational science research programs within and across CTSA institutions; encouraging the identification and implementation of best practices among institutions; and identifying existing barriers to major gains in efficiency in the national clinical research effort with development of strategic plan for overcoming those barriers. Plans may include development of new methodologies as well as novel educational approaches.

For more information about KFC, please read: ‘Role of the BERD Key Functions Committee in Support of the Overall Success of the CTSA Strategic Plan’ on which CCTS-BERD Faculty, Deborah del Junco, is co-author.

The CTSA– BERD Key Function Committee (KFC) has developed two subcommittees in which CCTS-BERD Faculty participate:

The Online Resources and Education Committee addresses areas including online repositories of historical collaborations and approaches, tools for overcoming less availability of face-to-face time for consultations, and common themes or modules for training and learning.

The Evaluation Committee utilizes the expertise of the BERD core to focus on the development of process and outcome measures. Dr. Deborah del Junco serves as chair of this committee beginning Spring 2009.

BERD Contact Information

BERD building

Please send inquiries to CCTS-BERD Administrative Assistant, Nicholas Bisase or call 713-500-7907.