Carnegie Mellon University
February 24, 2020

Roeder Honored for Contribution to Statistics

By Stacy Kish

Stacy Kish
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-9309

Carnegie Mellon University’s Kathryn Roeder, UPMC Professor of Statistics and Life Sciences, has been has been selected as the 2020 recipient of the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) Fisher Lectureship Award

Roeder was honored for her “outstanding contributions to statistical science in the areas of mixture models, semiparametric inference, and multiple testing, and to the development of statistical methods aimed at finding the genetic basis of human disease, including the development of powerful methods for discovering genes underlying psychiatric disorders such as autism.”

“Professor Roeder’s research contributions are wide and deep in both statistical theory and applications. Her influences on the design and analysis of genetic studies are substantial,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, chair of the COPSS and John D. Kalbfleisch Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics at University of Michigan. “The intellectual impact of Professor Roeder's work on scientific discovery has been enormous.”

Roeder’s work focuses on developing novel statistical tools to explore large genetic datasets to identify causal genes that increase the risk for autism. Her recent work has focused on developing novel clustering algorithms and dimension reduction techniques for single cell gene expression,  as well as novel nonparametric approaches to estimate cell-specific gene-gene networks to identify of critical marker genes and to estimate subject- and cell-type-specific gene expression.

“The Fisher Lecture is designed to recognize the importance of statistical thinking, not just for its own sake, but to further scientific inquiry,” said Roeder.  “In my career  I have always strived to achieve that goal, so it is a great honor to have the opportunity to present in this forum. It is thrilling to be able to share the research from my multi-disciplinary research teams with the statistical community.”

The R.A. Fisher Lectureship was established in 1963 by COPSS to honor both the contributions of Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher and the work of a present–day statistician for their advancement of statistical theory and applications. The Fisher Lectureship is a very high recognition of meritorious achievement and scholarship in statistical science and recognizes highly significant impact of statistical methods on scientific investigations.

Roeder will deliver the Fisher Lecture during the COPSS award ceremony, which will take place on Aug. 5, 2020 at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Philadelphia.