Dr. Anne Lindblad received her PhD from GW’s Statistics Department in 1990. She has been president and chief executive officer of The Emmes Corporation since 2013. Statistical and data analysis are central in Emmes’ role of supporting clinical trials and public health research for clients in government, corporate and non-profit sectors. In addition to her executive role at Emmes, she continues to serve as principal investigator for major client research projects and to author publications for a range of scientific journals. She has also been active in the Society for Clinical Trials, including serving on its board and as president.
Emmes had 15 employees when she joined in 1982 as a biostatistician, and it now employs 540, with headquarters in Rockville, MD and two offices outside the U.S. The company was recognized with a prestigious Washington Post Top Workplace award for the first time in 2016.
What attracts statisticians to the company? “We’ve built a culture that really shows how much we value our team and actively encourage their development,” she said. “It’s also the opportunity to make really important contributions to science and public health. From vaccine trials associated with the Zika virus to research on traumatic brain injury in the military to studies addressing the treatment and prevention of vision loss, our work touches infants, children and adults throughout the world.”
Anne’s road to GW began when she took her first statistics class in high school. When asked what the GW Statistics Department taught her and how it helped shape her career, she emphasized the opportunity to take classes from world-renowned statisticians. “My professors helped shape the way I approach study design and analyses. I enjoyed the lively discussions on clinical trial applications. Plus, GW encouraged me to tap into expertise from within as well as outside the university while researching my dissertation topic.”
She added, “I learned about the value of collaboration throughout my doctoral studies at GW. Collaboration is so important in science, and it’s been instrumental in our success at Emmes. This collaborative culture encourages new developments in health research that improve the design and analysis of clinical studies so that we can bring better treatments to patients even faster.”
Posted: November 2016
Dr. Mingxiu Hu received his PhD from GW’s Statistics Department in 1998 under his dissertation advisor, Professor John Lachin. Dr. Hu is currently a Vice President at Takeda, Asia’s largest pharmaceutical company with its R&D headquartered in the US, leading its Global Statistics and Programming function. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Biostatistics at Yale University and a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA). He served and continues to serve statistical societies in many roles including ASA Fellow Committee, ASA Board of Directors, ASA Executive Committee, International Chinese Statistical Association Board of Directors, etc. His research interests are mainly related to innovative clinical trial designs and advanced statistical analysis methodologies in drug development, and he has published numerous articles and book chapters in these areas.
When talking about his student days at GW, Mingxiu is full of appreciation: “GW provided me a scholarship that made it possible for me to come to the US to pursue my PhD in Statistics. At that time, the probability of obtaining a US visa without a full scholarship was as small as winning a $100 million lottery ticket. I will be forever grateful to then department chair Professor Robert Smythe and his department leadership for giving me the opportunity.
When I came to GW, the first person I met in the department was Professor Tapan Nayak, Graduate Student Advisor, and the first thing he asked me to do was a test of my statistical knowledge. I thought I probably failed his test but to my surprise he recommended two PhD qualifying exam courses, Statistical Inference and Probability Theory, for my first semester. Professor Nayak looked serious but he was truly kind. He invited us to his home and introduced us to Professor C.R Rao. What an honor! His advice was always thoughtful, insightful, and extremely valuable. I still benefit from it today.
The statistical skills I use the most in my daily work were learned from Professor John Lachin’s Data Analysis class: how to analyze data using SAS and how to interpret analysis results. I learned most from Professor Gordon Lan on how to teach statistics and how to make good statistical presentations. Statistics is an abstract subject and hard to understand for most non-statisticians. We first need to know our audience and to gain a deep understanding of the statistical issues at hand, and then try to use the simplest language to explain to our audience. This is critically important for me to influence corporate decision making.
Professor Joseph Gastwirth’s dedication and enthusiasm to statistical research is truly admirable. His office was full of books and papers and there was nowhere we could land our feet without touching his papers. However, whenever I asked him for a reference, he could find it literally in a few seconds from his messy bookshelves, desks, and chairs. Although my interactions with Professors Jeremy Wu and Hosam Mahmoud were less statistical, their kindness and friendliness made my life at GW fuller and much more enjoyable. We played many racquetball games together at Smith Center! Last but not least, Professor Fritz Scheuren probably used his influence to bring me into the ASA network although he never claimed the credit.
My 4+ years at GW not only prepared me for the real world but was also fun because of the wonderful professors and fellow students at the department. I can never thank them enough."
Posted: November 2016
Dr. William Rosenberger received his PhD in Mathematical Statistics from GW’s Statistics Department in 1992. His dissertation advisor was Professor Robert T. Smythe. Dr. Rosenberger is currently Professor and Chairman of the Department of Statistics at the George Mason University. His principle research area is experimental design, randomization, and clinical trials. Dr. Rosenberger is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, a recipient of David P. Byar Young Investigator Award, and Thomas W. Teal Award in Statistical Publishing. His first book (with Lachin) on Randomization in Clinical Trials: Theory and Practice was published in 2002 and his second book (with Hu) on The Theory of Response-Adaptive Randomization in Clinical Trials was published in 2006.
Bill has many fond memories of his days at GW. "At that time, Statistics was in Building C (now called Funger Hall), and had great facilities compared to the Math Department, which was on the 6th floor of the library. The lab had a great selection of brand new 286 PCs, and our simulations sometimes took days to finish that can now be run in seconds. The internet was nonexistent, and email accounts had just started.
Prof. Lachin cranked out reams of output on the impact printer to show us how to analyze data. It was a great time to be a grad student, as Naji Younes, Beth Saunders, and Mary Christman were my contemporaries, and we took most of our classes together. It was the days of great, well-organized, chalkboard lectures from professors Smythe and Nayak and others, with careful note-taking, tough homework problems, and challenging comprehensive exams. I still look back at those 6 years as the best time of my life. It was an education that prepared me well, and I owe a lot to the Department and its superb professors."
Dr. Fritz Scheuren received his MA (1970) and Ph.D. (1972) from GW's Statistics Department in 1972. He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation "Topics in Multivariate Finite Population Sampling and Analysis" directed by Professor Hubert Lilliefors.
Fritz is currently VP Statistics NORC, University of Chicago. He is also the Past-President of the American Statistical Association. In the past he served as Chief Mathematical Statistician SSA, 1972-1980, Director Statistics Division IRS, 1980-1994, Visiting Professor of Statistics GWU, 1994-1997, Principal Ernst and Young LLP, 1997-1999, and Senior Fellow Urban Institute, 1999-2001.
Fritz's brief statement about his experiences as a statistician: "My student days at GWU were hard but rewarding. As do many others, even now, I worked full time and went to school at night (for 9 years in my case). This gave me the opportunity to learn both the applied and theoretical sides of statistics and the fun to try to see how to fit them together.
Fitting theory and practice together is something I still do, as each new applied problem pushes one to rethink theoretical results and maybe look for (or create) new ones. What also is true from my days as a student is the love I have for thinking statistically and thereby making a difference in hard problem solving settings, particularly when part of an interdisciplinary team. What stands out most of all is my love for the people whom I got to study with.and for the stream of people since then that I have worked alongside. I am particularly blessed at the moment because I am President-elect of the American Statistical Association and this gives me even more opportunities to interact with colleagues, from those doing the heavy statistical lifting and those just starting out."