Statistician of the Year 2021

Jong-Hyeon Jeong
University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Jeong is professor and interim chair of biostatistics at the University of Pittsburgh. He has made significant contributions to biostatistical education, research, and leadership in the statistics community in Pittsburgh and at large. He graduated 6 MS and 11 PhDs and is currently working with two PhD students. He also played a critical role in the growth, development, and modernization of the graduate programs at Pitt Biostatistics. His efforts have led to two new concentrations in MS program, Health Data Science, and Statistical and Computational genomics. Dr. Jeong maintains outstanding research programs in time-to-event data analysis, clinical trials, and statistical learning for precision medicine. He single-authored or co-authored three books and currently serves on the editorial board for Lifetime Data Analysis. Dr. Jeong is also active in our profession. He has served on the ASA career development committee, board of director for Korean International Statistical society, and as interim chair has supported ENAR’s coalition for junior researchers and various activities of the ASA Pittsburgh chapter.  

Spring Banquet 2021

The 2021 ASA Pittsburgh Chapter Banquet is a virtual event on Friday, April 23. The banquet features a keynote speech by Dr. Bin Yu, Berkeley Statistics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences; a student poster session and presentation of student awards; various recognition of Chapter member’s awards and honors; and the presentation of the 2021 Statistician of the Year.

See the event poster here.

Keynote Speaker

Bin Yu
Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor
Class of 1936 Second Chair
Department of Statistics
Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
UC Berkeley

Talk Title: Veridical Data Science for biomedical discovery: detecting epistatic interactions with epiTree.


“A.I. is like nuclear energy — both promising and
dangerous” — Bill Gates, 2019.

Data Science is a pillar of A.I. and has driven most of recent cutting-edge discoveries in biomedical research. In practice, Data Science has a life cycle (DSLC) that includes problem formulation, data collection, data cleaning, modeling, result interpretation and the drawing of conclusions. Human judgment calls are ubiquitous at every step of this process, e.g., in choosing data cleaning methods, predictive algorithms and data perturbations. Such judgment calls are often responsible for the “dangers” of A.I. To maximally mitigate these dangers, we developed a framework based on three core principles: Predictability, Computability and Stability (PCS). Through a workflow and documentation (in R Markdown or Jupyter Notebook) that allows one to manage the whole DSLC, the PCS framework unifies, streamlines and expands on the best practices of machine learning and statistics – bringing us a step forward towards veridical Data Science.

In this lecture, we will illustrate the PCS framework through the epiTree; a pipeline to discover epistasis interactions from genomics data. epiTree addresses issues of scaling of penetrance through decision trees, significance calling through PCS p-values, and combinatorial search over interactions through iterative random forests (which is a special case of PCS). Using UK Biobank data, we validate the epiTree pipeline through an application to the red-hair phenotype, where several genes are known to display epistatic interactions.


Bin Yu is Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor and Class of 1936 Second Chair in the departments of statistics and EECS at UC Berkeley. She leads the Yu Group which consists of 15-20 students and postdocs from Statistics and EECS. She was formally trained as a statistician, but her research extends beyond the realm of statistics. Together with her group, her work has leveraged new computational developments to solve important scientific problems by combining novel statistical machine learning approaches with the domain expertise of her many collaborators in neuroscience, genomics and precision medicine.She and her team develop relevant theory to understand random forests and deep learning for insight into and guidance for practice.

She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is Past President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS), Guggenheim Fellow, Tukey Memorial Lecturer of the Bernoulli Society, Rietz Lecturer of IMS, and a COPSS E. L. Scott prize winner.

She is serving on the editorial board of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and the scientific advisory committee of the UK Turing Institute for Data Science and AI.

Statistician of the Year 2020

Yu Cheng
Department of Statistics,
University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Yu Cheng of University of Pittsburgh is the 2020 ASA Pittsburgh Chapter Statistician of the Year. Dr. Cheng received her MS in Statistics from National University of Singapore in 2001, and her PhD in Statistics from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006. She is currently a full professor at the Department of Statistics.

Dr. Cheng’s methodological research focuses on dynamic treatment strategies, disease classification, risk evaluation and screening, quantile association, and regression and association analyses of competing risks data. Meanwhile Dr. Cheng has been actively involved in diverse areas of psychiatric research including Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS, and perinatal weight and impulsive phenotypes.

Dr. Cheng served the statistics community extensively with variety of roles ranging from a member of the editorial board for prominent statistics journals, an ad-hoc reviewer for the NSF, NSA, and the NIMH, Co-Chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the Conference on Lifetime Data Science (LiDS) held in Pittsburgh, May 2019, and President of the ASA Pittsburgh Chapter 2014-2015. Dr. Cheng’s pursuit of excellence and fairness and her dedication to the statistical community in Pittsburgh exemplify the core values of our statistical society.

Students of the Year 2020

Kayla Frisoli
Department of Statistics & Data Science,
Carnegie Mellon University

Wei Peng
Department of Statistics,
University of Pittsburgh

Peng Liu
Department of Biostatistics,
University of Pittsburgh

Spring Banquet 2019

The 2019 ASA Pittsburgh Chapter Banquet was held at the Wyndham University Center on Tuesday, April 16th. The banquet featured a student poster session; a keynote speech delivered by Wendy L. Martinez, PhD of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (and the President-Elect of the American Statistical Association); presentation of student awards; recognition of various Chapter members’ accomplishments in the 2018-2019 academic year; and the 2019 Statistician of the Year award.

Check out the slides here.

Keynote Speaker

Wendy L. Martinez, PhD

Director, Mathematical Statistics
Research Center, Bureau of Labor

President-Elect of the American
Statistical Association



Dr. Martinez, graduated in 1989 with a double major in mathematics
and physics at Cameron University. She earned a master's degree
in aerospace engineering at George Washington University and
the NASA Langley Research Center in 1991, and a Ph.D. in
computational sciences and informatics specializing in computational
statistics from George Mason University in 1995. Dr. Martinez was a
program officer at the Office of Naval Research since 1997, and has
held adjunct faculty positions at Strayer University and George Mason University.

Dr. Martinez is the coordinating editor of the journal Statistics
Surveys (jointly sponsored by four major statistical societies). She is
the author of two books on MATLAB-based computational
statistics and exploratory data analysis: Computational Statistics
Handbook with MATLAB (CRC Press, 2002; 2nd ed., 2007; 3rd ed.,
2015), [4]  and Exploratory Data Analysis with MATLAB (CRC Press,
2004; 2nd ed., with Jeffrey Solka, 2010).

Dr. Martinez is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical
Association, and elected member of the International Statistical
Institute. She has received many awards including the Founders
Award of the American Statistical Association.

Statistician of the Year

Shyamal D. Peddada, PhD

Professor and Chairman,
Department of Biostatistics,
University of Pittsburgh.





Dr. Peddada received his master’s and PhD degrees in Statistics from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at University of
Pittsburgh in 1981 and 1983, respectively. Before coming back to
Pittsburgh as Chair of the Department of Biostatistics in 2017, he was
Professor at the Department of Biostatistics, University of Virginia
from 1989 to 2004 and Senior Investigator of the Biostatistics Branch
of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
from 2000-2017. He previously served as Vice President and
President at the ASA Virginia Chapter from 1996-1998.

Dr. Peddada’s research interests focuses on but not limited to order
restricted statistical inference, geosciences, fibroid growth study, and
microbiome research. He is an elected Fellow of the American
Statistical Association and a recipient of the ASA Outstanding
Statistical Application Award.

As the new Chair of the Department of Biostatistics, Dr. Peddada
undertook several new initiatives for growth, development, and
modernization of the department. Specifically, he is leading the
department in developing new MS concentrations in Statistical and
Computational Genomics and in Health Data Science. Through the
new development, the department not only will grow its biostatistics
programs but also educate the future generations of MS students.

Besides promoting research and education, Dr. Peddada also served
the statistical and scientific communities as an editor for journals and
a reviewer of manuscripts and grant proposals.

Women in Data Science Pittsburgh @CMU 2019

The 2019 Women in Data Science Pittsburgh @CMU  will take place from April 4-6.

WiDS Pittsburgh @CMU will be a three-day event, starting with a CMU New York panel on Data Science in the Finance Industry – Trends and Opportunities, continuing with a social kickoff, and finishing with a day of engaging, broadly accessible talks on current work in data science. Attendees can network, meet and learn from local experts in the field, and submit resumes for potential opportunities with industry sponsors.

Confirmed panelists and speakers come from Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh, Google, Citadel, S&P, Blackrock AI, and Two Sigma.

April 4: Data Science in the Finance Industry—Trends and Opportunities
6:00-8:30pm, panel starting at 7:00pm
CMU Master’s in Computational Finance
55 Broad St, New York, NY (across from the NY Stock Exchange)
Additional livestream in Pittsburgh, PA

April 5: Opening Reception
5:30-7:30pm, The Yard Shadyside
Pittsburgh, PA
Cohosted by the Pittsburgh useR Group and the Pittsburgh Women in Machine Learning and Data Science.

April 6: WiDS Technical Conference
Baker Hall – Giant Eagle Auditorium, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

Free – high school students
$25 – undergraduate/graduate students (some scholarships available, please inquire at
$75 – non-students on or before March 25
$100 – after March 25

Register and find more details through the WiDS website:

Additionally, any company or person who is interested in sponsoring (or donating student tickets!) can find more information here.