Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Center for Preventive Ophthalmology and Biostatistics (CPOB)

Biostatistical Consulting

The CPOB Consulting Service supports consultation and collaboration in the areas of biostatistics and epidemiology to Penn vision scientists.  These collaborations have yielded more than 50 publications in peer-reviewed literature over the past 5 years.

Description of the Service:

Biostatisticians and data management experts provide advice on study design, and offer services in sample size determinations, data management, data analysis, data interpretation, and data presentation.  They are active participants in the development and writing of grant applications and manuscripts.  Since 2000, collaborations between Penn vision scientists and the CPOB Consulting Biostatistical Service have yielded more than numerous publications in peer-reviewed literature.

Consulting personnel are members of the Center for Preventive Ophthalmology and Biostatistics within the Department of Ophthalmology.  In addition to their methodological and technical expertise, consultants are knowledgeable about ocular conditions under study in the Penn vision community, about the commonly used measures that are unique to vision research (visual acuity, refractive error, visual field indices, etc) and the specialized statistical analysis techniques required for many experimental designs used in vision research (correlated data techniques to handle appropriately data from two eyes of the same subject).

The service has been actively engaged with Penn investigators since 1995. The majority of the projects are patient-oriented researchers; however, the CPOB Consulting Service also works on data analysis with bench laboratory scientists.

Consulting Staff:

Gui-shuang Ying, PhD, Email:

Data Management Expert:
Mary Brightwell-Arnold, Email:

Maureen Maguire, PhD, Email:

Accessing the Service:

The CPOB Consulting Service is supported through the Penn Vision Research Center’s core grant from NEI and through funds from the Department of Ophthalmology.  Vision scientists who are members of the Vision Research Center and faculty, fellows, and residents of the Department are eligible for the free service.

Investigators should contact Dr. Ying so that he can determine the needs of the project.  Initial contacts are made either by telephone or e-mail. Consultations generally involve an introductory face-to-face meeting with the investigator followed by additional meetings, telephone calls, and emails as needed to keep the project moving efficiently. Investigators are charged with the responsibility of obtaining IRB approval for the studies and collecting the data into a database. The service staff can advise on the design of the data collection forms and the format of the database.

Consultations can be as short as a conversation about the appropriate choice of statistical analysis with the investigator implementing the analysis or as long as 1-2 years for projects evolving from concept and design to data analysis and interpretation. Projects usually are handled on a first-come-first-served basis; however, special priority is given to investigators who need to meet grant application deadlines.