Skip to main content

Biostatistics and Informatics Core Opens

Aug 22, 2023, 16:38 PM by Nyla Sauter

Shared resource at Cancer Center brings specialized expertise to support researchers’ publication and grant applications. 

The University of Cincinnati Cancer Center opened its new Biostatistics and Informatics Shared Resource in 2022, with the recruitment of Shesh N. Rai, PhD, a fellow of the American Statistical Association, as the core director. The shared resource provides expertise and support to advance research across the Cancer Center’s basic, clinical and population research. 

Before joining the Cancer Center, Rai served as director of the Biostatistics Shared Facility at the University of Louisville JG Brown Cancer Center. While there, he led work to support numerous grants in varied areas, including cancer immunology and immunotherapy, functional microbiomics, diabetes and obesity research, and environmental exposure of superfund sites for cardiometabolic disease. “I came to the Cancer Center for the opportunity to assist in building a top-notch facility and obtaining NCI designation,” says Rai, who is also director of the Cancer Data Science Center at the UC College of Medicine Department of Environment and Public Health Sciences. 

In addition to Rai, four biostatisticians were recruited to staff the program, and the Cancer Center expects to add to that team. The team has special expertise in preclinical and clinical studies, survival analysis, mixed effects (hierarchical) models, sample survey, bioinformatics and health informatics. Since starting in October 2022, the team has assisted in designing clinical studies and providing analyses for preclinical and clinical studies in multiple labs studying leukemia, glioblastoma multiforme, head and neck, anal, pancreatic, and oral cavity cancers, as well as clinical trials on cognitive improvement in long-term cancer survivors, a population-based study on uranium exposure and lung cancer, and two hypothesis-driven studies based on the National Cancer Institute database data. 

“Biostatistics is absolutely critical for any of the clinical trials and the research associated with a cancer center,” says Ken Greis, PhD, associate director for shared resources. “This was an area where our investigators didn’t have routine access to these capabilities and were sometimes forced to do it on their own. Now they will have direct access to dedicated biostatistics and bioinformatics professionals to support their research projects, which will lead to greater levels of data to support grants and publications.”