March update

As part of our effort to continuously improve communication within the department, we are sending this email update.

There will be a similar email each month following the faculty meeting. The agenda for the March meeting can be found at If you have suggestions or questions to be answered in future updates, please add your comments here: CommunicateatAllLevels.

Good News!

Jonathan Schildcrout, Cindy Chen, and Leena Choi all received very good scores on their recently submitted grants. Congratulations, Jonathan, Cindy, and Leena!

The second edition of Bill Dupont's book has been published.

Ming Li's paper entitled "A novel comprehensive wave-form MS data processing method" has been accepted for publication in Bioinformatics.


Steven Chen, assistant professor, joined the Division of Cancer Biostatistics effective March 1. Steven earned his Ph.D. in statistics from North Carolina State University; in addition, he holds MS degrees in both molecular genetics and statistics. His main research interest is the statistical analysis of high-throughput -omics data, and he has collaborated on several published papers in this field. He will play a major role on the Cancer Center Support Grant, as well as many other grants currently providing support to the division.

Mike Guo, bioinformatics systems engineer I, joined the Cancer Biostatistics Center effective March 1. Mike received his PhD in geosciences from Nanjing University (China) and subsequently completed coursework in computer information systems engineering (CISE) at Tennessee State University, where he also served as a research assistant. Prior to joining Vanderbilt's Cancer Biostatistics Center, Mike spent six years as a research assistant professor in the Department of Physics at Fisk University (Nashville), where his research interests included medical imaging and Raman and IR protein spectroscopy. He is proficient in Matlab and has experience with projects involving object-oriented design, artificial neural networks, image signal processing, and pattern recognition.

The secondary appointment of Vincent Agboto from Meharry was approved during the meeting. Vincent is the new director of the biometrics core in the clinical research center and an assistant professor and biostatistician in the department of family and community medicine at the Meharry Medical College. He has over nine years of experience in applied statistical research, teaching, and consulting including five years as the lead statistician in the Statistical Software Consulting Center at the University of Minnesota and two years as a research scientist at Battelle in Columbus, Ohio.

Welcome, Steven, Mike, and Vincent!!


Currently, various meetings are open only to subgroups of the department; examples include the Tuesday/Thursday faculty lunch meeting and MS group meetings. The issue of opening these meetings to all department members was discussed; this discussion will continue at the next faculty meeting.

In particular, with regard to the MS group meetings, Tebeb Gebretsadik and Dan Byrne will work together to propose an idea to resolve this issue. Please note that faculty are always welcome to lead MS methodology workshops.


Frank asked that all department members ensure that they are familiar with their funding support and fully understand the specifics of effort certification. Percentages should match time committed to projects. This especially applies to those currently covered under collaboration plans. Everyone on grants, contracts, or collaboration plans needs to be proactive in working in the assigned lab, division, or department.

Anyone currently covered under a collaboration plan should keep a log book of his/her time to document the time spent on each project. Lily Wang's project files are an excellent model. See

Any questions regarding effort reporting or certification should be directed to your immediate supervisor.

Frank encouraged everyone to take part in CQI projects for the department. A list of available projects can be found at Please take a minute to review this list.

Frank announced that he is serving on VUMC’s Measurement Committee, which will measure the results of the community survey and is working on finding ways to improve the results of the survey.


Bob Oster, candidate for associate professor, visited our group yesterday. He is applying for a basic science educator track position. The search committee will review everyone's comments about his visit soon.


Linda announced that the department will have a 3% budget cut for FY 2010; however, the department expects to still be able to reach all previously mentioned goals.

Dean Balser will attend the faculty meeting again soon to update everyone on Vanderbilt's financial status.

Donna is working on the details of distributing the research reward credit. An update will be sent once final decisions are made.

Frank will meet with the Department of Finance to discuss how to charge for expenses previously covered by the department's formula for IT support and professional expenses.

Best regards,
CQI Communications Team
Frank Harrell, Yu Shyr, Dan Byrne, and Linda Stewart
Topic revision: r3 - 26 Apr 2013, JohnBock

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