Epidemiology & Biostatistics (GGEB)
Please join us in our celebration as we highlight our GGEB graduates.
The profiles are sectioned by degree type:
Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Title: Addressing Disparities in Pertussis Epidemiology
Research and Lab Description: My dissertation, completed in collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, comprehensively investigated sociodemographic and neighborhood-level risk factors for pertussis and delayed pertussis vaccination in order to effectively target prevention efforts, improve timely pertussis vaccination, and eliminate pertussis-related disparities.
Post PhD Plans: Epidemiology Manager at GSK
Mentor Comment: I was fortunate to get to work with Tirza as an MPH student and again during her PhD program. Tirza’s ability to work at the intersection of passion, skill, and focus is unique and powerful. Her dissertation project on pertussis risk and vaccine services delivery was a terrific example of this. GSK is lucky to have her on board and I look forward to following her career and future successes.
Thesis Title: Measurement Error and Missing Data Methods in Biomarker Research
Research and Lab Description: Carrie’s dissertation focused on improving statistical methods to adjust for covariate measurement error in the presence of competing risks in survival analysis as well as missing outcome data in longitudinal analysis, with applications to neurodegenerative disease research.
Post PhD Plans: Principle Statistician at GSK
Mentor Comment: Carrie is highly motivated, creative, energetic, and efficient. She has amazing skills in statistical theory and applications. She has made a significant impact on statistical method development for analyzing biomarker data. I am so proud of Carrie! Congratulations!!!
Thesis Title: EHR Data+X: Expanding the Reach of EHR Through Data Integration
Research and Lab Description: My thesis research focused on developing statistical and computational methods for integrating data and evidence from multiple electronic health records databases and other healthcare data sources, in order to extract more reliable evidence that can be used to accelerate knowledge discover and enable better clinical decision making. The PennCIL lab led by Dr. Yong Chen works on developing, applying and disseminating novel methods and software for synthesizing evidence from clinical trial data and real world data, and for dealing with suboptimal quality issues of observational data.
Post PhD Plans: Accepted tenure-track position at Harvard
Mentor Comment: Rui is extremely mathematically talented, curiosity driven, patient and sharp. She has made significant impacts on evidence synthesis and data integration, statistical inference for multiple testing, statistical methods for real world data analysis, and pharmacovigilance. I am really proud of Rui! Congratulations!!!
Thesis Title: Drug-Drug Interactions and Kidney Disease in Hospitalized Patients
Post PhD Plans: Instructor of Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania
Mentor Comment: Todd is relentlessly upbeat and enthusiastic. If he’s ever had a bad day in the years I’ve known him, I couldn’t tell. He is insightful, generous, and a gifted and hardworking teacher. He’s also a southern boy to the core, as was obvious from the tears that streamed down his face during a bluegrass show that we took in together. Todd is a devoted husband, and a doting father to his two daughters. I feel very lucky that we’ve been able to entice Todd to stay at Penn, and relish the opportunity to work with him in the years to come.
Thesis Title: Knowledge-Guided Bayesian Support Vector Machine Methods for High-Dimensional Data
Mentor Comment: Wenli is a very thoughtful and motivated student. She is very generous in assisting others and is a delightful person to work with. She will continue to do well in her future endeavors.
Thesis Title: Statistical Methods for Censored and Missing Data in Survival and Longitudinal Analysis
Post PhD Plans: Senior Scientist at Merck
Mentor Comment: Leah has an excellent scientific sense and superb computing skills. She is creative, efficient, and hard working. She has made a significant impact on statistical method development for missing data in longitudinal data analysis and lifetime data science. I am so proud of Leah! Congratulations!!!
Thesis Title: Statistical Methods for Analyzing the Electronic Health Records Data
Post PhD Plans: Machine Learning Engineer at Adobe, Inc.
Mentor Comment: Lu Wang graduated in June 2019 and currently is a data scientist at Adobe. Her dissertation work was on novel bias correction methods that address phenotyping inaccuracy in clinical and translational studies utilizing electronic health record data. She has published one paper in Biometrics and one in Genetic Epidemiology. She was hard working, independent and devoted in her research, and also a very helpful mentor to junior students.
Thesis Title: Identifying Signals of Potential Drug-Drug Interactions Involving Oral Anticoagulants Using Real World Clinical Data
Research and Lab Description: We conducted three high-throughput pharmacoepidemiologic screening studies in parallel using a large US healthcare claim database, examined all oral medications co-prescribed with five oral anticoagulants, and identified over 150 signals of potential oral anticoagulant drug interactions leading to serious bleeding, thromboembolic events and/or changes in INR (a quantitative biomarker of warfarin-induced anticoagulation). I worked in Dr. Sean Hennessy’s research group. He leads Penn's Center for Pharmacoepidemiology Research and Training (CPeRT) and conducts research in the field of pharmacoepidemiology, the study of health effects of drugs and other medical products in populations.
Post PhD Plans: Manager, Real World Data Analytics and Research Epidemiology, Medical Devices
Mentor Comment: Perhaps Mei’s most notable professional strength is her eagerness to take on unknown challenges with little direction—and her persistence in figuring them out. Mei is strong and graceful, and a consummate team player. Less than a year into her first post-PhD job, Mei has already been promoted. Now that her career has firmly taken root, I look forward to watching it bloom.
Combined Degree, MD-PhD
Thesis Title: Measuring Disease-Related Stigma Among Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection
Research and Lab Description: Elle’s dissertation employed a mixed-methods approach to develop measures to assess perceptions of stigma among patients with hepatitis C, and contextualize these stigma measures within patients’ lived experiences. Dr. Lo Re’s research program focuses on evaluating the epidemiology of chronic viral hepatitis infection, particularly HIV/hepatitis B and C coinfection, the evaluation of outcomes of new antiviral therapies for chronic viral hepatitis, and assessment of the hepatic safety of medications in patients with chronic liver disease.
Post PhD Plans: Completing her MD at the Perelman School of Medicine
Mentor Comment: There are not enough superlatives to describe Elle. Throughout her PhD work, she handled each task presented to her with diligence and great care. She always asks incisive, thoughtful, and relevant questions, which demonstrates to me her active, inquisitive mind and a desire to understand, which I think are critically important attributes for a future physician-epidemiologist. Finally, Elle has a combination of equanimity of spirit, enthusiasm, work ethic, intelligence, initiative, and curiosity that will serve her very well in her future research career. Her passion for excellence and desire to improve are evident on a daily basis.
Master of Science
Research Project Title: The Use of Trajectory Cluster Analysis to Identify Subgroups of Pediatric Crohn's Disease and Predict Long-term Outcomes Based on Longitudinal Electronic Health Records
Research Project Title: An Association and Cluster Analysis of the Lung Transplant Microbiome and Chronic Lung Allograft Dysfunction
Research Project Title: Symptoms and Physical Activity Trends in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Research Project Title: Dynamic Prediction of Cognitive Function in Space
Research Project Title: Using Observational Data and Propensity Score Modeling to Simulate and Improve Design of Trials in Psoriatic Arthritis