Biostatistics & Informatics
Indispensible to improving health and reducing illness
Though commonly known for crunching numbers and creating complex databases, biostatisticians are indispensible for improving health and reducing illness in communities locally, nationally and globally.
Without biostatisticians like Associate Professor Dr. Katerina Kechris, studies for determining major risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and cancer could not be developed and environmental factors harmful to human health could not be evaluated.
“Biostatistics is an important component of public health research,” Dr. Kechris says. “This is even more evident as biomedical and clinical studies are now generating large data sets at a faster rate than the methods needed to analyze them.”
As a biostatistician, Dr. Kechris has been able to merge her interest in biology and medicine with her mathematical and computational skills to provide statistical expertise and develop new statistical methods for biomedical investigators, she says. “One of the rewarding aspects of my work is the collaboration with biomedical researchers,” expresses Dr. Kechris.
“Research is important to public health in many different aspects including studying the genetic and molecular basis of disease, identifying effective monitoring, treatment and prevention strategies, understanding disease risk factors and studying the effectiveness of health interventions,” Dr. Kechris says.
Dr. Kechris develops and applies statistical methods to analyze genomic data while collaborating with biomedical researchers to study a variety of topics including the genetics of alcohol addiction, developmental biology and pulmonary disease. Statistical methods in genomics research are becoming widespread for systematic studies of the genetic and molecular basis for many disorders.
In addition to research, Dr. Kechris teaches classes that cover the statistical analysis of genomic data from emerging new technologies applied in biological and clinical studies. Students study the statistical theory for genomic data analysis, extract and analyze data from existing databases and learn to be a part of interdisciplinary teams for conducting medical and public health research.
“What I enjoy most about teaching is observing students' progress as they learn new topics, improve their skills and engage themselves in novel areas of research,” Dr. Kechris says.
As the Rocky Mountain region’s population grows, Dr. Kechris hopes she can prepare her students to address the emerging public health demands after receiving a “first-rate education” from CSPH.
“Colorado School of Public Health is an ideal environment for intellectual pursuits, challenging courses and stimulating hands-on experiences, with great outdoor recreation nearby for your spare time,” she says.