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​Government Scientist with Breadth of Research Expertise to Lead Pitt’s Department of Biostatistics

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PITTSBURGH, Sept. 1, 2017 – Shyamal D. Peddada, Ph.D., starts today as the new chair of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics. He most recently was the acting branch chief of the Biostatistics & Computational Biology Branch and senior tenured investigator at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
Pitt Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics is internationally recognized for its research efforts and graduate student programs, particularly in emerging data science fields dealing with big biomedical data, such as genetics, genomics, mobile health, neuroimaging and electronic data collection in clinical trials, which have increased demand for trained biostatisticians. Department faculty participate in research ranging from national phase 3 clinical trials to international studies evaluating health outcomes from environmental and occupational exposures.
“Dr. Peddada’s research is at the intersection of several fields of public health, including computational biology, genomics and epidemiology, making him an excellent fit to lead the department,” said Donald S. Burke, M.D., Pitt Public Health dean and UPMC-Jonas Salk chair of global health. “He focuses on developing statistical methods that creatively use data to make public health discoveries that change how we prevent and treat a range of health conditions.”
Peddada takes over leadership of the department from interim chair Jong H. Jeong, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics at Pitt Public Health. Jeong was acting chair following last year’s departure of Sally C. Morton, Ph.D., who accepted a position as dean of the College of Science at Virginia Tech.
“Leading Pitt Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics is an exciting opportunity,” said Peddada. “The department has outstanding faculty who are engaged in fascinating work, so it will be fun to work in such a strong department. The need for biostatistical expertise has grown substantially in recent years within academic, government and industry settings, as well as in private health and research organizations, so it is a wonderful time to be joining such a robust academic research institution helping to educate the next generation of public health scientists.”
Prior to joining the NIEHS, Peddada was a faculty member in the Department of Statistics at the University of Virginia, where he rose to become a tenured professor. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in statistics from the University of Pittsburgh.
Peddada has authored or co-authored more than 75 peer-reviewed papers, collaborated on more than 60 papers and has actively served as an academic editor of the journal PLOS ONE since 2012. Previously he served as an associate editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association and Statistics and Probability Letters.
He is a member of the International Statistical Institute and an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association.