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Biostatistics

Overview

The Biostatistics Shared Resource (BSR) of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center (UHCC) offers a unique service to UHCC research programs by providing support for all quantitative aspects of cancer research, including study design, data management and data analysis, tailored to multiethnic and Pacific populations. The BSR includes a local collaborative and cohesive group with training and experience in biostatistics, medical informatics, and systems development. The BSR is able to provide support for a single aspect of a project, or throughout the lifetime of a project. The highest priority for service is given to Cancer Center members with extramurally peer-reviewed, funded projects. Support for early-stage investigators and for the Center’s clinical trials activities is also of key importance. The BSR services are generally open only to Cancer Center members. Requests for BSR support are made to the director or the technical director. A discussion is held regarding the type of support needed and timelines. The BSR attempts to fulfill each request, dependent on the appropriate staff being available within the required timeline. Personnel of the BSR work closely with researchers to create and implement a data management and/or analysis plan that will best answer their research questions. A goal of the BSR is to advise on analysis techniques and strategies, thereby transferring knowledge of the analysis methods to the research team, whenever possible. This approach requires adapting the way services are provided based on the resources and background of the research team, but has the benefit of elevating the general statistical literacy at UHCC. The rate for BSR service is $110 per person-hour, and the subsidized UHCC member rate is $65 per hour.

Faculty Director:

Lynne R. Wilkens, DrPH, MS
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Technical Director:

Maj E. Earle
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Contributions

The BSR contributes to an average of 30 grant submissions and 40 publications per year. These manuscripts and grants cover a wide variety of domains, including clinical investigations, cancer control, cancer epidemiology, biomarker development, mechanistic investigations, and methodological research. The BSR can provide unique insight into working with diverse populations based on extensive experience with multiethnic populations and the populations of the Pacific. The BSR has been in the forefront on methods used in the study of multiethnic and admixed populations. The BSR has created unique algorithms: to create ethnic-specific cancer incidence rates, accounting for the large percentage of multi-racial and multiethnic Hawai‘i residents, to test for consistency in associations among ethnic groups as a within-project validation approach, and to disaggregate the role of ethnicity on cancer between shared lifestyle factors, genetics, misclassification and neighborhood factors.  The BSR has also developed methodology for accurate measurement of diet and physical activity. In addition, the BSR has developed web-based project applications that can be accessed remotely by multiple users. An example is the PacTrac system, a nutritional tool for entry and analysis of dietary and physical activity records that incorporates foods and activities specific to children and adults in the Pacific, which was a joint project with the Nutritional Support Shared Resource.  The BSR, working with the Genomics and Bioinformatics Shared Resource, has the ability to manage and analyze high-dimensional omics data (e.g., metabolomics, genomics, gut microbiome).  The BSR has extensive experience in analysis of integrated data from diverse sources such as questionnaire, clinical and claims data, national registries, and biomarkers and omics.

Personnel

Dr. Lynne Wilkens, DrPH, Professor, is the Director of the BSR. Dr. Wilkens received her doctorate in Biostatistics in 2000 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is responsible for the overall organization, coordination, and supervision of the BSR, involving 12 statisticians and programmers. She has over 25 years of experience in cancer research, including in epidemiology, intervention, clinical, biomarker and genomic studies, as well as in managing data analysis cores for NCI funded Program Project grants and the partnership between UHCC and University of Guam. Ms. Maj Earle is the technical director of the BSR and, together with Dr. Wilkens, provides logistical and fiscal management of the Shared Resource.

The BSR is comprised of the 7 statisticians, 3 statistical programmers and 4 informaticians/system developers listed below.


Name and Degree
Operational Title
Area of expertise
Lynne Wilkens, DrPH
Director, Professor
Biostatistics, Data integration, Measurement error
Hansong Wang, PhD
Associate Professor
Biostatistics, Genetic Data
Yurii Shvetsov, PhD
Assistant Professor
Biostatistics, Risk modeling
Ian Pagano, PhD
Assistant Professor
Biostatistics, Behavioral Research
Maj Earle, BS
Technical Director, Informatician
Management, Systems Development
Christian Caberto, MS
BiostatisticianStatistical analysis, Genetic data
Kami White, MPH
Biostatistician
Statistical analysis, Nutritional data
Marie Chong, MS
BiostatisticianStatistical analysis
Anne Tome, MS
Statistical Programmer
SAS
Judith Tom, MS
Statistical ProgrammerSAS
Lucy Shen, MS
Statistical ProgrammerSAS
Joel Julian
Informatician
Systems Development
Yun Oh Jung, BS
InformaticianInformation Technology, Systems Development
Hang Galanis, MS
InformaticianSystems Development
Emil Srvcina, MS
Informatician

Systems Development















Services

  1. Support for study design and planning
    1. Sample size determination
    2. Optimal study design
    3. Randomization schemes
    4. Plans for data management, integration and analysis
    5. Clinical protocol review
  2. Support for data management issues
    1. Review of data collection instruments
    2. Creation of a data flow and integration plan
    3. Advice and monitoring for quality control and validation methods
      1. Biospecimen shipment
        1. Quality control sample size and placement
    4. Consultation on measurement error issues
      1. incorporation of repeated measures
      2. design of reproducibility, validation and calibration studies
    5. Advice on and infrastructure for data storage
      1. Servers
      2. Virtual machines
    6. Development of data systems to monitor study recruitment, milestones, data collection and specimen storage
  3. Support for data analysis
    1. Identification and implementation of appropriate statistical analysis methodology and of bioinformatic procedures with the Genomics and Bioinformatics Shared Resource
      1. Cancer incidence and survival
      2. Behavioral interventions
      3. Multiethnic populations
      4. Genetics studies, including population statification and admixture
      5. High dimensional data
      6. Nutritional studies
    2. Identification and implementation of appropriate statistical software or analysis pipelines
    3. Advice on and support for statistical programming
      1. SAS, R, SPSS, M-Plus, PLINK, METAL
    4. Data analysis software
      1. Troubleshooting for software code
      2. Interpretation of results
  4. Support for manuscript preparation
    1. Review, advice on presentation and interpretation
      1. Statistical methods
      2. Visual presentation, Figures
    2. Provision of contents of statistical sections
    3. Advice for addressing reviewer critiques
  5. Enhance statistical infrastructure for cancer research at UHCC
    1. Provision, with the Hawaii Tumor Registry and the Hawaii Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, of ethnic-specific denominators and cancer incidence and mortality rates
    2. Support for use of national and local census, nutritional and genomic databases.
      1. American FactFinder Census application
      2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention data
        1. NHANES
        2. BRFSS
      3. SEER cancer incidence data
      4. Genomics resources of Entrez Gene, 1000 genomes, and dbSNP
    3. Training of cancer researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and students
      1. Mentoring, Statistical Discussion Group and classes, particularly on aspects of studies in multiethnic populations.