September 1, 2002

Developing a test sample can be one of the most tedious aspects of a researcherâ??s work. Making sure a scientist has the right number of subjects to ensure the testing results are valid, and making sure the subjects are the right ones, can be a daunting task.

Karan Singh, PhD, chair of biostatistics, is hoping to make the process a little smoother. The School of Public Health has created a Center for Biostatistical Consulting to assist scientists in their research. The center is primarily focused on helping investigators in the fields of public health and biomedical sciences, Singh said.

â??Biostatistics, which includes design, data management and analysis of research studies, came to the forefront during the last three decades when the National Institutes of Health realized the field played an important role in designing and conducting sound scientific studies,â? Dr. Singh said.

â??The question is how many subjects do you need in a study â?? that is where the center comes in. If other people want to repeat what you have done [to test the study validity], they need to see the method of choosing subjects. It is justified through biostatistics,â? he said.

For example, if researchers wanted to survey Texans about their health attitudes, the center could provide biostatistical consulting to ensure that they were surveying a representative sample of the whole state, Dr. Singh said.

â??The CBC can assist researchers in designing and conducting studies of the highest quality,â? he said. â??In doing so, we will play a role in enhancing scientific literature in public health, biomedical sciences and health care delivery.â?

The CBC includes faculty with expertise in pre-clinical, clinical and observational trial design and analysis; data management, data monitoring and interim analysis; and evaluation of accumulating evidence of safety and efficacy.

â??Itâ??s a win-win situation,â? Dr. Singh said. â??We can help the investigators with their research, and the experience can help our students as they seek jobs in pharmaceutical companies, local governments and hospitals.â?


Diana Cervantes. Assistant Professor Biostatistics & Epidemiology
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