Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Design (BERD)

The Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) Resource is led by Dr. James Grady of the CICATS Biostatistics Center.  Ming-Hui Chen, Ph.D. Professor and Director of the Statistical Consulting Services in the Department of Statistics, directs the same efforts at the Storrs campus.  The BERD Core integrates two essential elements: Research Design/Epidemiology and Biostatistics.  Research Design is an integral BERD function. As such, BERD provides expertise in such critical areas as choice and specifics of study design, including innovative designs essential to the successful conduct of cutting edge clinical and translational research. BERD assists CICATS investigators in the recognition of specific methodological and statistical issues, provides guidance as to the best strategies to address these issues, and assists with interpretation of findings.

BERD’s three major objectives are as follows:

  1. To provide general scientific guidance for investigators during the planning and analyses of data leading to high quality publications and future funding. This will generally include guidance with 1) research design; 2) sample size and power; 3) methods, analyses and interpretation of results; and 4) manuscript preparation.
  2. To work with investigators to develop robust statistical methods sections for grants and clinical protocols. A Ph.D. level statistician will prepare a grant-ready write-up for sample size, statistical power analysis and statistical methods.  This service typically leads to collaboration on the proposed project, where portions of the statistician’s FTE are budgeted in the grant as key personnel.
  3. To provide meaningful contributions to the education mission of CICATS, including: 1) teaching biostatistics core courses in the Masters in Clinical and Translational Research (MSCTR) program; 2) participating on thesis committees and individual mentorship teams (e.g. K-Award mentorship, student advisors); and 3) supporting four graduate assistantships per year to expose them to careers at academic health centers and translational science.

Below are examples of services provided by the BERD:

  1. Consults on study design
  2. Sample size and peer analysis
  3. Statistical programming
  4. High level statistical methods applications: e.g., fitting general linear mixed models, GEE-approaches for repeated categorical data, survival analysis, statistical genetics, meta-analysis, to name a few
  5. Analyses involving non-normal data, e.g., log-normal, Poisson, negative-binomial, multinomial
  6. Assistance in analyses in preparation for a manuscript
  7. Interpretation of results and findings when normal conditions are not met, e.g., missing data, outliers, influential data points, skewed data, study design changes
  8. Choosing a proper control group for your study

The Epidemiology Resource Core

This core is led by Helen Wu, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry at UConn Health.  Dr. Wu has a Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences and her research has been focused on community-based health disparities, patient-centered outcomes research and behavioral medicine research. The epidemiology core members are available for consults with CICATS investigators, and can assist with the study design preparation, analytical plans, choosing a proper control group, and publication efforts. Other UConn Health faculty who help service the resources are Drs. Richard Stevens and Helen Swede.

BERD services at UConn Storrs

Ming-Hui Chen, Ph.D. Professor and Director of the Statistical Consulting Services in the Department of Statistics, directs the efforts at the Storrs campus. The primary functions of the Biostatistics Core at the Storrs campus are to provide expert statistical consultation to the CICATS Biostatistics Center (Farmington), to support the educational mission of CICATS, and to serve as collaborators in the development of innovative statistical approaches for use in clinical and translation research.

Contact Information

James Grady, Dr.P.H., PSTAT
Director, Biostatistics Center