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President’s Corner

Portrait of Elizabeth ThompsonGreetings!

The year 2017 sees two important anniversaries for our Society. First, on January 3, 2017, Professor David J. Finney, our former President (1964-5) and Honorary Life Member (1985) turned 100 years old. There were several celebrations of this happy event with David’s family, friends and former students and colleagues, and I had the good fortune to be present at one of these in Edinburgh in January and present good wishes and congratulations on behalf of IBS members worldwide. You can read more of David’s long association with IBS and his contributions to Biometry elsewhere in this Bulletin.

Second, our Society itself turns 70 years old this year. Our official birthday is not until September 6, but the records show we had a five month period of gestation, starting on March 29, 1947 with much activity through that spring and summer. You can find the details of those communications in Lynne Billard’s excellent article in Biometrics in 2014, which is also posted in the History section of our website. So we do not need to wait until September to celebrate but also to reflect on the image of Biometry in the broader world. Among the public sources of information, it seems that only the Merriam Webster Dictionary has our meaning of biometry as its number one definition: “the application of mathematical and statistical methods to the collection, analysis, and interpretation of biological data—called also biometrics”. With biometrics linking straight back to “Definition of biometry: the statistical analysis of biological observations and phenomena.” In this year of our 70th birthday, we should try to broaden awareness of our Biometry beyond the IBS. Maybe a few other websites can be persuaded to follow the excellent example of the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

The IBS is a Society of its Regions, and in this non-IBC year, it is a time to focus on the Regional activities worldwide. Under the now not-so-new governance structure, members of Representative Council (RC) are chosen directly by the Regions, and this July will see many new RC members starting their four year terms. The Regional Officers have recently been reminded of the RC program to fund new activities of the Networks and collaborations between Regions. Please make good use of this program; if you have ideas, work with your Regional Officers and RC members to make proposals. In other news of international activities, members of the Education Committee have been working very hard to get the proposed IBS webinar series up and running. A test session has already taken place, and the first webinar, open to all IBS members, is planned for late April. A big thank you goes out to the Education Committee members and others who have worked on this. Watch our website for more information.

Also in this non-IBC year, the focus is on the scientific meetings of our Networks and Regions. Being in Scotland for the first half of the year, I will miss the regional meetings of North and South America but am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in several in Europe. The Awards Fund Committee has just announced its 2017 Travel Award Program to assist members from developing countries in attending conferences sponsored by IBS Regions or Networks. We are hoping that, as with the RC program, members will make good use of this funding stream also.

Another important meeting this year is the 61st World Statistics Conference (WSC) of the ISI to be held in Marrakech in July, where another of our distinguished long-time members will be honored. Sir David Cox (IBS Honorary Life Member, 2001) is the inaugural recipient of the International Prize in Statistics. David has continued to be active in the IBS. Many will remember his memorable presentation of the Young Statistician Showcase awards at the 2014 IBC in Florence. The IBS is one of the five Statistical Societies supporting the Prize, and I look forward to seeing David honored at the WSC.

The partnership between IBS and ISI continues to thrive. This year we will again have the now well-established IBS invited session at WSC, with three speakers who represent our geographic and scientific diversity. Additionally, I will represent IBS at a session where presidents of several international statistical societies will give information about their goals and activities to (we hope) a broad audience. Also, in a new initiative, ISI and IBS are collaborating to fund younger members from each Society to participate in the other’s international meeting. Although late getting off the ground, we hope to fund two younger members of IBS to attend the WSC this year, and we expect to see two younger members of ISI at IBC in Barcelona in 2018. This initiative is led by Kaye Basford and Jane Hutton who are, respectively, the liaisons appointed by ISI and by IBS for furthering collaboration between our two Societies.

Finally, no President’s Corner piece is complete without looking forward to our next IBC. Even though it is still 18 months away, things are moving into higher gear. You will see the logo for Barcelona 2018 on the right-hand side of our homepage, and it will very soon link to the new conference website. We received a record number of submissions for invited sessions, even without any deadline extension. Thank you to all who submitted proposals and to members who have agreed to be a part of these proposals. The IPC, under the Chair Charmaine Dean, is beginning the difficult process of selection to create a diverse and excellent scientific programme. The deadline for short course proposals is in mid-March, and the Education Committee will then make its selections on that front. We expect all our traditional special sessions and activities and will again provide travel awards to some members from Developing Countries. This last programme is funded through the Regions, although all funds donated are matched centrally by IBS. At this time when worldwide connectivity of our science and of our Society is so important, please be generous in contributing to IBC travel awards through your Region.

I wish all the Regions and Networks the best for their meetings in 2017. Lynne Billard’s 2014 Biometrics article shows the enthusiasm of our founding members to Biometric Science, and the rapid establishment of diverse Groups and Regions reflects their commitment to research and education in Biometry around the world. Let us show the same commitment and enthusiasm in our meetings in our 70th birthday year. At the other end of our history, special best wishes go to the 2017 IBS SUSAN Meeting which is to be hosted by our youngest Region, Malawi. This Region is just now celebrating its very first birthday. Congratulations Malawi!

Elizabeth Thompson

From the Editor

Dear Readers,

On 3 January 2017 David Finney celebrated his 100th birthday. We wish him many happy returns and good health. Among the positions David served in the Society was President of IBS (1964 – 1965). In this issue there is a short article written by Margaret Shotter, an ex-colleague who is in frequent contact with him, about David’s contributions to Medical Statistics and to IBS.

In this issue we continue with the Meet the Regional Presidents of IBS – Part III (Belgian, Brazilian, Indian and Spanish Regions). In the section, Software Corner, Garth Tarr from the Australasian Region has written an article about Variable Selection in R, including very useful graphs. This issue also includes something new and fun – a Mathematical Riddle. I hope you will enjoy it. Let’s see if you can solve it. Please send answers to HaviM@gertner.health.gov.il . The first five to answer correctly will be mentioned in the next issue of the Biometric Bulletin. I’ll appreciate if you could email me any interesting riddles you encounter to be published in an upcoming issue.

Preparations for the Eastern Mediterranean Region and Italian Region conference this May in Thessaloniki, Greece are taking place, and I am very excited about this meeting which will include a two-day symposium honoring Professor Marvin Zelen. The symposium is being organized by Frontier Science Foundation-Hellas and is co-sponsored by all Frontier offices. Marvin was a pioneer in the field of Biostatistics, a professor and exceptional member of the Harvard School of Public Health community and founder of Frontier Science & Technology Research Foundation, Inc. (FSTRF), but above all he was a mentor for scientists working in medical statistics and research.

I will finish up with a short article published in U.S. News & World Report – Careers which ranked statisticians as #1 in Best Business Jobs. (Ref 1) ‘Unlike most professions, statistics can be applied to a vast number of fields or issues, such as the environment, public safety, health care and sports. The Bureau of Labour Statistics expects this field to grow at a very fast rate of 34% from 2014 to 2024, resulting in 10,100 new jobs.’ They found that a statistician’s job is characterized by low stress level, good work-life balance, solid prospects to improve and opportunities to be promoted and earn a higher salary. I agree with all these strengths, except for the salary aspect (at least in Israel). I wonder if statisticians from other European countries or other continents also agree with what is written in this article, especially in terms of work conditions and salaries. I’ll be happy to receive some short commentary from you on this related to your country and to publish one or two in the next issue.

Ref 1: U.S. News & World Report – Careers http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/statistician.

Havi Murad

Twitter: @havimurad

XXIX International Biometric Conference


June 2017 Issue Highlights

The June Biometric Methodology section features a wide variety of papers, a sample includes “Inference in randomized trials with death and missingness,” by Chenguang Wang, Daniel O. Scharfstein, Elizabeth Colantuoni, Timothy D. Girard, and Ying Yan; “A subgroup cluster based Bayesian adaptive design for precision medicine,” by Wentian Guo, Yuan Ji, and Daniel V. T. Catenacci; “An adaptive Mantel-Haenszel test for sensitivity analysis in observational studies,” by Paul R. Rosenbaum and Dylan S. Small; “Distance sampling detection functions: 2D or not 2D?” by D. L. Borchers and M. J. Cox; and “Integrative genetic risk prediction using nonparametric empirical Bayes classification,” by Sihai Dave Zhao.

Among the papers in the Biometric Practice section are “A Bayesian hierarchical model for prediction of latent health states from multiple data sources with application to active surveillance of prostate cancer,” by R. Yates Coley, Aaron J. Fisher, Mufaddal Mamawala, H. Ballentine Carter, Kenneth J. Pienta, and Scott L. Zeger; “Hierarchical group testing for multiple infections,” by Peijie Hou, Joshua M. Tebbs, Christopher R. Bilder, and Christopher S. McMahan; “Estimation of the optimal regime in treatment of prostate cancer recurrence from observational data using flexible weighting models,” by Jincheng Shen, Lu Wang, and Jeremy M. G. Taylor; “Bayesian variable selection for post-analytic interrogation of susceptibility loci,” by Siying Chen, Sara Nunez, Muredach P. Reilly, and Andrea S. Foulkes’ and “Alternating logistic regressions with improved finite sample properties,” by Jamie Perin and John S. Preisser.

As always, lists of papers to appear can be found at the Biometrics website. Papers to appear in future issues may also be found under the “Early View” link at the Wiley website, which may be accessed by IBS members by visiting http://www.biometricsociety.org/, selecting “Biometrics” from the drop-down menu at the “Publications” link at the top of the page, and accessing the “Click here” link.

Report of the Editors Highlights

As usual, the March 2017 issue contains as the lead article the “Report of the Editors — 2016,” which presents journal statistics for 2016. Some highlights from the Report:

  • Biometrics received 617 new submissions to the Biometric Methodology and Biometric Practice sections of Biometrics in 2015, plus two Reader Reaction articles and one Letter to the Editors. This number of submissions to Methodology and Practice represents an increase over the 591 received in 2015 and 594 in 2014.
  • Of the 617 submissions, 453 were to Biometric Methodology (73.4%) compared to 395 (66.8%) in 2015 and 396 (66.7%) in 2014.
  • The 617 submissions came from 41 countries/districts (based on the country of the corresponding author). 56.6% were from the USA, 6.2% were from P.R. China, 4.7% were from Canada and 4.4% were from the United Kingdom.In 2016, Biometrics published 81 Biometric Methodology papers and 53 Biometric Practice papers.

More information is available in the full Report.

Editorial Board News

Co-editor (CE) Mike Daniel’s term will end 31 December 2017. According to geographic convention, the new CE should reside in North America. A search committee has been appointed; the members are Marie Davidian, Biometrics Executive Editor, Chair (ENAR), Malka Gorfine, Biometrics CE (EMR), Stijn Vansteelandt, Biometrics CE (Belgian Region), Mike Daniels, Biometrics CE (ENAR), Esa Läärä, EAC Chair (Nordic Baltic Region), Ming Tan, EAC Member (ENAR), and Peter Njuho, EAC Member (South African Region). The result of the search will be reported in a future column.

Executive Editor (EE) Marie Davidian’s term will also end 31 December 2017 and is not renewable. A search committee has been formed to identify Marie’s successor, who will serve up to four consecutive three-year terms. The search committee was constituted to include two members from the IBS Executive Board and two members (who have served on the Biometrics Editorial Board) chosen by the IBS Editorial Advisory Committee. The members are James Carpenter, Chair, former IBS Secretary/Treasurer (BIR), IBS Executive Board members Joel Greenhouse (ENAR) and Freedom Gumedze (South African Region), and Tom Louis (ENAR, former Biometrics CE) and Rachel Fewster (Australasian, current Biometrics AE). In addition to these five voting members, there will be two non-voting (ex-officio) members: Marie Davidian (current EE) and Ann Hanhart (Editorial Manager of Biometrics).

Associate Editors (AEs) for Biometrics serve two-year, renewable terms that start on 1 July of each year. Each year, roughly half of the AEs have terms ending on 30 June; accordingly, each Spring, the CEs review the expertise of the current AEs and submission trends with an eye toward possibly bringing on new AEs with expertise that is underrepresented or may be lost by AE retirements. The CEs welcome suggestions at any time from the IBS membership regarding individuals who may be excellent choices to serve as AEs. Please send suggestions, along with a CV or URL where the individual’s qualifications may be found, to the Journal Editorial Manager, Ms. Ann Hanhart, at biometrics@tibs.org. Self-nominations will be considered.

Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics (JABES)

The editorial team has been making good progress with speeding up the review process. A summary of review times by six-month period is shown in Table 1. Not all papers submitted in the second half of 2016 have completed the process, and so this period is not included. The role of my assistant Cornelia Oedekoven in bringing review times down cannot be underestimated. Her personal and polite reminders to reviewers and associate editors usually have the desired effect!

The December issue included the following papers: “Assessing the Correlation Structure in Cow Udder Quarter Infection Times Through Extensions of the Correlated Frailty Model” by E. Kuhn, K. Goethals, C. El-Nouty and L. Duchateau; “Extending Ordinal Regression with a Latent Zero-Augmented Beta Distribution” by K.M. Irvine, T.J. Rodhouse and I.N. Keren; “Bayesian Semiparametric Model for Pathway-Based Analysis with Zero-Inflated Clinical Outcomes” by L. Cheng, I. Kim and H. Pang; “Optimal Design of Dilution Experiments Under Volume Constraints” by M. Zolghadr and S. Zuyev; “A Reference Population-Based Conformance Proportion” by H.-I. Lee, H, Chen, H. Kishino and C.-T. Liao; and “Exact-Permutation-Based Sign Tests for Clustered Binary Data Via Weighted and Unweighted Test Statistics” by J. McDonald, P.D. Gerard, C.S. McMahan and W.R. Schucany. There is also a review written by A.N. Hendrix of the book “Applied Hierarchical Modeling in Ecology Volume 1” by M. Kéry and A.J. Royle.

There has been excellent progress towards the next Special Issue, which will feature Animal Movement Modeling, with Mevin Hooten, Ruth King and Roland Langrock as Guest Editors. Eight papers are currently going through the review process.

We are keen to publish papers that summarize the state of methodological development in subject areas for which technological advances are generating a demand for new statistical approaches. If such papers also speculate on likely future developments, so much the better. If you feel that you could offer such a paper or can suggest a topic together with possible authors, I would be very pleased to hear from you.

For more information on upcoming issues, the editorial board, and the aim and scope of the journal, please visit our website http://link.springer.com/journal/13253. We also accept submissions of books to review in the upcoming issues of JABES; to submit a book for review, please see the above website (click on “Editorial Board”), or contact Ken Newman (ken_newman@fws.gov).

Steve Buckland

Editor in Chief

David Finney Centenary

by Margaret Shotter

David Finney has celebrated his 100th birthday!

Congratulations to Professor David Finney who celebrated his 100th birthday on 3 January 2017. The photographs were taken in January at a special celebration organized by former colleagues who worked with him in Edinburgh. The serially balanced design for the cake, as shown in the first picture below, was inspired by experimental designs developed by David himself over sixty years ago. (Ref 1) Another picture shows Professor Elizabeth Thompson, the current IBS President, conveying special 100th birthday greetings from the Society. David has a long association with the Society, including serving as a Member of Council for many years in the 1950s and 1960s, Secretary of the British Region from 1947 to 1952, Regional President in 1956 and 1957 and President in 1964 and 1965. He became an Honorary Life Member in 1985.

David’s talent for mathematics was recognized during his schooldays in Cheshire, England, and he won a scholarship to study mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He encountered mathematical statistics for the first time by attending a course given by Dr. John Wishart. David became interested in applying statistics to practical problems in biology, and so began his lifelong fascination with biostatistics. This led to a postgraduate scholarship to work on statistical problems in human genetics with R. A. Fisher at the Galton Laboratory, University College London. Fisher became both his mentor and friend and influenced his subsequent career. In 1939 David was approached by Frank Yates and invited to join a small group of statisticians who were designing and analyzing agricultural field trials. This was at a time when it was important to improve food production in wartime Britain.

In 1945 the University of Oxford appointed David Finney to a new position as Lecturer in the Design and Analysis of Scientific Experiment. The duties were to provide instruction in statistics and to be available for consultation on statistical methods in biology. At both Rothamsted and Oxford David worked closely with biologists and other scientists as a statistical advisor, and he saw the need for well written textbooks. This led to his book on ‘Probit Analysis: A Statistical Treatment of the Sigmoid Response Curve’ published by Cambridge University Press in 1947. Also, stimulated by collaboration with researchers in the Department of Pharmacology at Oxford, David became an expert on biological assay and gave a number of lectures on the topic. His own research and his lecture notes were the basis of David’s second book ‘Statistical Methods in Biological Assays’ published in 1952. Both these books were very influential, particularly before extensive computing facilities were available for the analysis of data sets.

In 1952-53 David spent a year working with agricultural scientists in India. The report that he wrote, with Frank Yates as Co-author, led to the establishment of the Indian Institute of Agricultural Research Statistics and to many return visits to India over the years. Back in the UK, David was approached by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) to set up a statistical unit at the University of Aberdeen. He combined a Readership at the University of Aberdeen with the post of Director of the ARC Unit of Statistics. In 1966 David and the ARC Unit moved to Edinburgh; once again David combined this with an academic appointment as Professor of Statistics at the University of Edinburgh.

David has made important contributions to medical statistics, especially in the area now known as pharmacovigilance. He became interested in monitoring adverse effects of medicines during a sabbatical year at Harvard in 1962-63. Professor David Rutstein, from the Department of Preventive Medicine, discussed the tragedy of thalidomide with David Finney and challenged him to develop statistical methods to prevent similar harm in the future if new medicines had adverse effects. When David returned to the UK in the summer of 1963 he found that the medical authorities were in the process of setting up a Committee on Safety of Drugs under the leadership of Professor Derrick Dunlop, Professor of Medical Therapeutics at the University of Edinburgh. David was asked to join a subcommittee on adverse reactions and he published a paper with the title ‘The Design and Logic of a Monitor of Drug Use’. (Ref 2) It was at this time that the Yellow Card system began, and a rudimentary scheme for collecting and assessing evidence of adverse effects in the UK was developed by Dr. Bill Inman and others. David Finney remained a friend and advisor to Bill Inman, who set up the independent Drug Safety Research Unit at the University of Southampton in 1980. (Ref 3) Dr. Inman put into practice a cohort monitoring scheme known as Prescription-Event Monitoring which studied groups of 10.000 or more patients treated with new drugs.

David was an early advocate of international monitoring of new medicines. Long after formal retirement from the University, he continued to contribute ideas and advice both in the UK and for the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring. In recognition, in 2006 the Uppsala Monitoring Centre published ‘Writings on Pharmacovigilance: selected articles by David J Finney’. It contains twenty-three articles on pharmacovigilance originally published between 1963 and 2003. (Ref 4) In March 2015 David was an invited guest at the Yellow Card 50th Anniversary Scientific Conference, organised by the MHRA and held in Edinburgh.

David continues to live in Edinburgh where he enjoys reading, listening to music and conversations with family and friends.

Ref 1: Finney, DJ & Outhwaite, AD (1956). Serially balanced sequences in bioassay. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B, 145, 493-507.

Ref 2: Finney, D J (1965).The design and logic on a monitor of drug use, J Chronic Dis., 18: 77-98.

Ref 3: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1501625/Professor-Bill-Inman.html.

Ref 4: ‘Writings on Pharmacovigilance: selected articles by David J Finney’ 2006. Uppsala Monitoring Centre, ISBN 91-97475-4-1.

Software Corner

Model Selection in R

by Garth Tarr

Statistical model building is a fundamental part of many statistical analyses. The aim is to use the data and, if available, information about its generating process, to construct statistical models which parsimoniously describe relevant and important features of the data.

Stepwise methods

Arguably, the most widely used method for selecting variables is to minimize either Akaike’s information criterion (AIC) or the Bayesian information criterion (BIC) and their variants. One common approach to model selection is to use the step() function. Starting from either the full model, or the null model, the step function moves through the model space one considering all models one dimension larger or smaller than the currently selected model and selecting the “best” model based on specified information criteria (the AIC by default). Stepwise methods only explore a subset of the model space so are inherently susceptible to local minima in the information criterion.

Exhaustive searches

An alternative to stepwise procedures is to perform exhaustive searches of the model space. The leaps package performs this quickly and efficiently for linear models using a branch-and-bound algorithm. For generalized linear models, the bestglm and glmulti packages can also perform exhaustive searches over the model space, however the computing time required makes searches infeasible even for moderate dimensions.

Regularized estimation

AIC and BIC are not the only criteria of interest for the optimal selection of models. A major advance in the field is the Lasso and other related recent methods that use regularization. The Lasso and its extensions can handle data that involve more predictor variables than observations, the ‘large p, small n’ problem. The least angle regression algorithm and corresponding lars package makes solving the lasso very quick. More recently, the glmnet package implements efficient procedures for fitting the entire lasso or elastic-net regularization path for linear regression, logistic and multinomial regression models, Poisson regression, Cox models, multiple-response Gaussian, and grouped multinomial models.

Model stability

The stability of selected components is paramount for reliable predictive final model(s). A common issue with stepwise and regularised methods is their instability, that is, the tendency for small changes in the data to lead to the selection of different models. The mplot package provides an easy to use implementation of model stability and variable inclusion plots as well as the adaptive for linear and generalised linear models. These methods use bootstrap resampling to give an indication of the stability of selecting a given model or variable. Figures 1 and 2 give an example of the type of output provided by the vis() function from the mplot package using the following code:



lm1 = lm(y ~ ., data = artificialeg)

v1 = vis(lm1, B=200)

mplot(lm1, v1)

The plots are interactive using the googleVis package, with tool-tips providing additional information and the ability to zoom.

Figure 1: A model stability plot, where the x-axis represents model size and the y-axis is a measure of description loss (-2*Log-likelihood).

In Figure 1, each bubble represents a model, the colour of the bubble indicates whether or not that model includes a particular variable (in the above example, x8) and the size of the bubble corresponds to the empirical selection probability within models of the same size. The larger a model’s bubble, the more dominant it is within a given model size over the bootstrap resamples. In models of size k=2, one model is always chosen, the simple linear regression with x8 as an explanatory variable. In models of size k=9 there is also a dominant model that is selected in 36% of bootstrap resamples, the bubble highlighted with a tool-tip.

Figure 2: A variable inclusion plot where each line corresponds to the bootstrap probability of a variable being included in the “best” model.

In Figure 2, the “best” model is determined by the generalised information criterion, -2*Log-likelihood + kl where k is the model size and the penalty parameter, l, is allowed to vary from 0 (no penalisation) to 2log(n). The special cases of the AIC (l=2) and BIC (l=log(n)) are highlighted with a vertical line. The interactive tool-tip shown indicates that that line represents variable x4, and when l=4.9, x4 is included in 37% of “best” models. When l=0, there is no penalisation and all variables are included in the best model. As the penalty increases the inclusion probability for most variables decreases, i.e. there is a tendency to choose a more parsimonious model. In this data set x8 has an initial drop, i.e. it tends to be picked less often than other variables in larger models where the penalty is low, but then x8 returns to be included in almost all best models when l>2. This agrees with Figure 1, where the one dominant model in models of size 2 is the simple linear regression with x8 and the majority of the bubbles are coloured red indicating that they contain x8. In models of size 9, the dominant model does not include x8, reflecting the initial drop in the variable inclusion plot.

References: Tarr, Müller and Welsh AH (2017). mplot: An R package for graphical model stability and variable selection procedures. Journal of Statistical Software. arxiv.org/abs/1509.07583

Mathematical Riddle

Let’s see if you can solve this riddle. Please send answers to HaviM@gertner.health.gov.il . The first five people to answer correctly will be mentioned in the next issue of the Biometric Bulletin. Please also email interesting riddles to be published in one of the next issues.


Meet the Regional Presidents of IBS (Part III)

Belgian Region (RBe)

110 regular members

2 retired members

4 student members


Total: 116 members

President: An Vandebosch – EU Head of the Statistical Modelling and Methodology Group at Janssen, Beerse, Belgium.

Research interests:
  • Causal inference
  • Clinical trial design and (early) decision-making in clinical trials
  • Actively contributing with methodological expertise to various development programs for treatments (e.g. Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis) and vaccines (e.g. Ebola)
IBS related activities:

Invited session at the Annual Meetings of the Belgian Statistical Society (Michael Rosenblum 2015, Thomas Burzykowski 2016)

Bayes Pharma Workshop (21 – 25 May 2016, Leuven)

IBS Channel Network Meeting, Hasselt University (24 – 26 April 2017)

Brazilian Region (RBras)

143 regular members

7 retired members

58 student members

1 supporting member (from ENAR)


Total: 209 members

President: Alessandro Dal’Col Lúcio (2016–2018)

– Federal University of Santa Maria, Rural Science Center, Crop Science Department, Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Research interests:

Probability and Statistics, with emphasis on experimental design, experimental precision, sampling and variability

IBS related activities:

  • He has participated in the IBCs.
  • He been involved and has supported the Organizing Committees of the RBras Annual Meetings.
  • He has promoted activities to disseminate the Society and stimulate affiliations.
  • He has worked to bring about recognition and accreditation of RBras among the agencies from the Brazilian Government in charge of strategic planning and development of science in the country.

Indian Region (IR)

35 regular members

14 retired members

31 student members


Total: 80 members

President: P. Venkatesan (2015 – 2017) Professor (Research), Department of Community Medicine, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai.

Research interests:

  • Survival Analysis
  • Bayesian Inference
  • Causal Inference
  • Bioinformatics Algorithms
  • Computational Biology
  • Machine Learning
  • Pattern Recognition
  • High Dimensional Data analysis
  • Reliability
  • Disease Modelling

IBS related activities:

  • He is the Elected Fellow of the Indian Society for Medical Statistics, served as General Secretary for several years and was the Editor of the ISMS Bulletin.

Spanish Region (REsp)

80 regular members

92 student members


Total: 172 members

President: Inmaculada Arostegui (2016 – 2017) – Professor of Statistics, Department of Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain. Immaculada is the principal investigator of the Biostatistics Research Group – Biostit. She serves as collaborator at the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM) and as statistical consultant at the Galdakao Hospital from the Basque Health Service – Osakidetza.

Research interests:

  • Development and validation of clinical prediction models
  • Modeling patient-reported outcomes, in particular health-related quality of life
  • Statistical software and applications development

IBS related activities:

  • She has been involved on the Council of the IBS-REsp since 2012 and was Vice-president in 2015.
  • She was President of the Organizing Committee of the XVth Spanish Biometric Conference and the Vth Ibero-American Biometric Meeting (CEB-EIB2015) held in Bilbao. She is also involved in the organization of the next Spanish Biometric Conference (CEB2017) to be held in Sevilla, as well as the 2018 International Biometric Conference (IBC2018) to be held in Barcelona.
  • She supports activities organized by the IBS-REsp, such as courses and training programs for young statisticians. In particular, she supported the organization of the II Students’ Scientific Workshop of the Spanish Biometric Society last September in Barcelona; moreover, she promoted the recently signed agreement between the Biometric Society and the Epidemiology Society in Spain.

Region News

Australasian Region (AR)

Australasian Regional Conference

The next regional conference of the Australasian Region titled “Biometrics by the Border” is to be held at the Mantra on Salt Beach, Kingscliff, which is located just south of the Gold Coast in Australia. It is a 20 minute drive from the Gold Coast International Airport and a 1hr 45mins drive from the Brisbane International Airport. The dates of the conference are 26-30 November 2017, which is the last week of Spring in the great south land. At that time of the year, Kingscliff’s average daily minimum is around 19C with a maximum of 27C and with daily sunshine averaging between 8.5 to 9 hours.

The Science Program Committee is finalizing keynote speakers, but we already have confirmed Drs. Jean Yang and Rachel Fewster, leading experts in bioinformatics and statistical ecology, respectively.

The venue provides a range of accommodation types and budgets. It is adjacent to a great surf beach which is patrolled during that period.

Mantra on Salt Beach (Gold Coast, Australia), the venue of “Biometrics by the Border.”

Mantra on Salt Beach (Gold Coast, Australia), the venue of “Biometrics by the Border.”

The Local Organizing and Program Committees are working hard to make this a conference you will appreciate attending from both a social and science perspective.

Further information is available on our regional website: http://www.biometricsociety.org.au/.

Save the Date! Annual Conference of ISCB and Biennial ASC

On behalf of the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics (ISCB) and the Statistical Society of Australia (SSA), we are delighted to announce that the 2018 Annual Conference of ISCB and Biennial Australian Statistical Conference (ASC) will take place in Melbourne 26 – 30 August 2018. Please save the date! We are very excited at the prospect of bringing the ISCB Conference to a location outside of Europe and North America for the first time in its 39 year history. We hope that this joint conference will bring together a broad range of statistical researchers from a variety of research areas for the international exchange of theory, methods and applications.

For up to date information, please visit our conference website www.iscbasc2018.com. You can also register your interest at our website or via email to iscbasc2018@arinex.com.au.

We look forward to welcoming you to Melbourne!

-Local Organizing Committee, ISCB ASC 2018

Vanessa Cave

Brazilian Region (RBras)

2017 Meeting

The 62nd Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Region (RBras 2017), jointly with the Symposium of Statistics Applied to Experimention in Agriculture, will be held in Lavras 24 – 28 July 2017. Lavras, situated in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais, is located at about 250km, 300km and 430km from Belo Horizonte, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, respectively, all three cities served by international airports.

The meeting will happen in one of the oldest Brazilian universities, the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), a traditional research institution for agricultural sciences.

Conference venue

Conference venue at UFLA, Lavras.

This year the theme is “Recurrent challenges of applied statistics: making sense of big data”.

Similar to past RBras meetings the organizers are putting together several short courses, invited and contributed sessions. The scientific program will certainly be outstanding. Among the invited speakers will be John Hinde (NUI-Galway, Ireland); Dipak Dey (UConn, USA); Kerrie Mengersen (QUT, Australia); Timothy Gregoire (Yale University, USA); Harold Burkhart (VTU, USA); John Paul McTague (NCSU, USA); Ricardo Ventura (University of Guelph, Canada); Gota Morota (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA); Kalliopi Mylona (King’s College London, UK); Pi-Wen Tsai (NTNU, Taiwan); Martin Otava (Janssen Pharmaceutical, NV); Zhenke Wu (University of Michigan, USA) and Juan Pedro Steibel (Michigan State University, USA).

The program and further information are being updated at http://www.rbras.org.br/rbras62.

Our colleagues in Lavras are very well known for their expertise in conference organization and hospitality. It will be their fourth RBras meeting, and we look forward to sharing and enjoying this great and expected experience.

While in Lavras you may take advantage and get to know its beautiful neighborhood. Tiradentes, a charming baroque-style town, is located at about 100km from Lavras and is very worth visiting.

Its colonial cobble-stoned streets, 18th-century churches and preserved town homes, which houses restaurants, inns, antiques and handicraft shops, surrounded by the beautiful Serra de São José, grant an enchanting setting, which has served as a location for several movies.

A view of “Serra de São José” in Tiradentes, neighborhood of Lavras.

RBras will be very pleased to welcome you in Lavras this year!

Luzia Trinca

Central American – Caribbean Region (RCAC)

RCAC Members in Action in 2017 – Promoting Statistical Methodology

The members of the IBS RCAC will again be actively involved in planning and preparing for two major scientific meetings in the region in 2017. These events provide valuable opportunities for sharing of expertise in statistical methodology, networking among colleagues and continuing education.

The Jamaica Statistics Symposium and Pre-conference Workshop Series 2017

Novie Younger-Coleman, Correspondent for the Biometric Bulletin for the IBS RCAC and President of the Jamaica Statistical Society, is also Co-chair of the Organizing Committee for the Jamaica Statistics Symposium and Pre-conference Workshop Series 2017. The Jamaica Statistical Society will be staging this event, which is the Third Biennial Jamaica Statistics Symposium and Pre-conference Workshop Series, 24 – 27 October 2017, in Kingston, Jamaica, under the theme “Statistics for Success: Ethics, Data Quality and Security”. The symposium and pre-conference workshops will showcase the work of experts in use of guidelines for ethics and best practices for data analysis; in development of data management and data security plans; and in safeguarding data quality in research. The workshop series will feature training in use of MS Excel and R for data management and analysis and use of ethical guidelines for data analysis. For more information on the meeting and on submission of abstracts for oral and poster presentations for this meeting, please email jssbiennial.rc@gmail.com.

Sixth Iberoamerican Biometrical Meeting

Raúl E. Macchiavelli (IBS RCAC member) and Luis Alberto López (IBS RCAC President) are members of the Scientific Committee for the 6th Iberoamerican Biometrical Meeting. This meeting will be held, through collaboration between the Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas and the IBS Ecuadorian Region, 15 – 17 November 2017 on the campus of the Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas. Presentations at the meeting will feature methods for the analysis of categorical, time series, longitudinal, survival and spatial data, as well as the application of statistical methodology to biology, epidemiology, the environmental sciences and genetics.

Novie Younger-Coleman

Dutch Region (ANed)

Biostatistics for the Future

In order to have an even more diverse public than usual for our Annual Winter Meeting, we selected the interesting theme, Biostatistics for the Future, and four interesting keynote speakers. Indeed, more junior members showed up, and both senior and junior statisticians enjoyed the afternoon. Together with the interesting talks, this made the meeting a very rewarding and successful one, which took place on Friday, 20 January 2017at VUmc Amsterdam.

Keynote speakers were:

  • Hendriek Boshuizen (Measurement error: an ignored source of bias, Wageningen UR),
  • Mark van de Wiel (Empirical Bayes learning from co-data in high-dimensional prediction settings, VUmc),
  • Michel Hof (Record linkage with survival data, UvA), and
  • Aysun Yavuz (A flexible frailty model for interval-censored data using Bayesian p-splines, Danone Natricia).

We are looking forward to the Spring Meeting!

Joanna in ‘t Hout

Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR)

9th EMR-IBS and Italian Region Conference

The 9th Eastern Mediterranean Region – International Biometric Society Conference, with the Italian Region, will be held in Thessaloniki, Greece on 8 – 12 May 2017. As always, we aim at bringing together researchers from around the world in this beautiful place. Just like the last EMR meeting, sessions from other regions of IBS, student travel awards, invited lectures and some pre-conference courses are being planned. Thessaloniki is perhaps the best city to spread the message of EMR being an international city, crossroads of different civilizations, with a long history related to all country members of EMR. Thessaloniki is also a beautiful city, combining a lot of different activities and sightseeing. The venue of the meeting will be the MET Hotel, located in the heart of the city.

The entire meeting is devoted to the memory of Prof. Marvin Zelen (Harvard University), a keen supporter of EMR, who passed away in November 2014.

Among others we have verified sessions on the following topics: missing data, modern missing data problems, high dimensional data, STRATOS initiative, novel statistical methods for complex neuroimaging data, underdispersion, surrogate markers, innovative clinical trial designs, advanced survival models and causal methods and high dimensional data.

On Monday, 8 May 2017 we’ve planned the following short courses:

Jarek Harezlak & Matt Wand – “Semiparametric Regression with R”.

Dimitris Rizopoulos – “An Introduction to Joint Models for Longitudinal and Survival Data, with Applications in R”.

Details about the meeting are already available at the website of the meeting:

http://stat-athens.aueb.gr/~emribs/page/emr2017.html. Please visit the site for updated information, and note that before the conference there will be a symposium honoring Marvin Zelen in the same location.

Registration to the conference is through EMR. Please note that EMR decided during a previous meeting that there is an option to pay the subscription fees for IBS (only for regular membership) through the registration to the conference. By this procedure the LOC will pay the fees to IBS directly. To choose this option you have to choose ‘IBS member’ when registering for the conference, and tick ‘IBS membership’ option (additional 60 Euro).

Symposium Honoring Prof. Marvin Zelen

Frontier Science Foundation Hellas (FSFH), a non-profit organization, is organizing a symposium to honor Marvin Zelen, Co-founder of FSFH. The symposium will take place 7 – 8 May 2017 and is attached to the 9th EMR-IBS Conference. FSTRF and Frontier Science Scotland (FSS) are co-sponsoring this symposium. The venue will be the same as the conference. Details will be posted here: www.frontier-science.gr.


School of Public Health Sackler Faculty of Health Tel-Aviv University

6th Annual Summer School of Advanced Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

*Course Topic and Dates: Bayesian Methods in Clinical Research, July 9 – 13, 2017.

*Course Instructor: Prof. Emmanuel Lesaffre, Professor of Statistics, University of Leuven and Hasselt, Belgium; Chair, Biostatistics Department, Erasmus University, Netherlands; Founding Chair, Statistical Modelling Society; President, International Society for Clinical Biostatistics.

*Course Description: The aim of this course is to smoothly introduce the participants into Bayesian Statistical Methods, from basic concepts to hierarchical models, model building and model testing. Numerous biostatistical examples will illustrate the theoretical concepts. The course is scheduled with classroom teaching and computer exercises and uses the software packages Win BUGS and OpenBUGS and their interfaces with R.

*Credits: Two (Non-credit participants are not required to take the exam.)

*Prerequisites: Knowledge of various regression models (linear regression, logistic/probit regression, survival models and if possible hierarchical models). Familiarity with R is also required.

Israeli Statistical Association Conference

The Annual Meeting of the Israel Statistical Association will be held 25 May 2017 at Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheba, Israel. The program includes a plenary talk titled “Design and initial analysis of a largish omics studies” by Prof. Terry Speed, from the Bioinformatics Division at WEHI in Melbourne and Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley. Also included are invited and contributed talks, a poster session, a panel discussion “Surveys – Statistical Challenges” being moderated by Prof. Zvi Gilula and an Awards Ceremony for the best MSc and PhD dissertations.

Giota Touloumi

German Region (DR)

From the Working Groups of the German Region

The working group “Bayes Methods” organized a workshop on “Errors in variables”, that took place at the University of Mainz on December 2, 2016. The invited speaker was Stefanie Muff (University of Zürich), who gave a presentation on “Errors and uncertainty in variables – when to worry and when to Bayes?” For abstracts and slides of all presentations, check out the working group’s website: http://www.biometrische-gesellschaft.de/arbeitsgruppen/bayes-methodik/workshops/2016-mainz.html.

Axel Benner

Italian Region (IR)

9th EMR-IBS and Italian Region Conference

The 9th Eastern Mediterranean Region – International Biometric Society Conference, with the Italian Region, will be held in Thessaloniki, Greece on 8 – 12 May 2017. As always, we aim at bringing together researchers from around the world in this beautiful place. Just like the last EMR meeting, sessions from other regions of IBS, student travel awards, invited lectures and some pre-conference courses are being planned. Thessaloniki is perhaps the best city to spread the message of EMR being an international city, crossroads of different civilizations, with a long history related to all country members of EMR. Thessaloniki is also a beautiful city, combining a lot of different activities and sightseeing. The venue of the meeting will be the MET Hotel, located in the heart of the city.

Livio Finos

Japanese Region (JR)

The 2016 Biometric Seminar

The Biometric Seminar entitled “New statistical challenges on ICH E17 guideline” was held on the afternoon of December 7, 2016 at the Life Science Building in Tokyo. Ninety-seven people attended the seminar. Dr. Komiyama (Pfizer Japan) gave a brief review of the history from the bridging concept to the multi-regional clinical trials (MRCT) from the viewpoints of pharmaceutical companies. From the regulatory view point, Dr. Uyama (Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device Agency) pointed out that bridging studies have contributed to shortening the period of drug development but have not resolved the drug-lag issues. Dr. Koyama (Daiichi Sankyo Company) pointed several statistical issues out, including how to determine consistency of efficacy and safety among regions, and accordingly how to allocate sample size to each region. Dr. Yamamoto (Chugai Pharmaceuticals) gave an overview of ICH E17 guideline. Dr. Hirakawa (Nagoya University) gave a review of recent advances in statistical methods on MRCT.

Speakers and organizers of the 2016 Biometric Seminar.

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Biometric Society of Japan

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Biometric Society of Japan was held on 16 – 17 March 2017 at Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan. An invited session was organized and included a discussion on how biostatisticians and epidemiologists efficiently collaborate. Eighteen oral and twelve poster presentations were scheduled. A tutorial seminar was also held on causal inference in observational studies.

Satoshi Hattori

Western North American Region (WNAR)

2017 WNAR Election Results

Congratulations to Tomi Mori from Oregon Health and Science University, WNAR President-elect; Mary Redman from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, WNAR Treasurer; Dongseok Choi from Oregon Health and Science University, WNAR Program Coordinator; and Marco Carone from the University of Washington and Miguel Marino from Oregon Health and Science University, WNAR Regional Committee Representatives.

Special thanks go out to outgoing WNAR Past-president Kate Crespi and outgoing Regional Committee Representatives Barb Bailey and Brandie Wagner for their efforts and dedication to WNAR.

We would like to thank all the WNAR members who volunteered to be candidates for these offices. WNAR is fortunate to have so many talented members willing to dedicate their time and energy to WNAR, which makes each election a choice among outstanding individuals.

2017 WNAR/IMS Meeting

The 2017 WNAR/IMS Meeting will be in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 25-28 June hosted by University of New Mexico and will be held at the Eldorado Hotel and Spa. Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital city, is at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It is known for its Pueblo-style architecture and for being a center for multicultural arts. There are many recreational activities available around Santa Fe, including hiking, mountain biking and river rafting. The local organizer is Christina Murray-Krezen. Details about the meeting will be posted on the WNAR web page www.wnar.org as they become available.

2017 WNAR Student Paper Competition

WNAR sponsors students who enter the student paper competition. All entrants receive their registration fees and banquet dinner ticket for free. Monetary prizes will be awarded to the best papers in written and oral competitions. Information on the 2017 WNAR Student Paper Competition, registration information, and program details for the meeting will be posted as they become available: http://www.wnar.org. We look forward to seeing you there.

Megan Othus


IBS Announces New Journal Club

The International Biometric Society (IBS) Journal Club is a new initiative set up under the Education Committee to help members and others network and discuss recent papers published in IBS journals.

Date and Time of the first Journal Club: Thursday, 20 April 2017 at 15:00 GMT

Organizer and Chair: Jim Todd (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

Venue: This online session will include both audio and video content. Instructions for access will be made available to all confirmed participants.

Audience: The first Journal Club will be open to all IBS members worldwide (not limited to English-speaking natives). Eventually the Journal Club may be open to non-members, but we first plan to evaluate the Club and the views of IBS members.

Registration Fees:

*IBS Member – Free

*Non-member – N/A

Purpose and Plan: The purpose is to widen the scope for understanding papers and to provide a new networking opportunity for IBS members through a regular internet forum.

The IBS Education Committee will choose a recent paper published in the Biometrics journal. The paper may highlight an interesting application or a new methodology or development in biometrics, biostatistics or biomathematics. The papers will be chosen by the Education Committee, in coordination with Biometrics Co-editors and shall be of wide interest amongst members.

The author of the paper will be asked to make a 20 minute presentation on the paper and its importance. A discussant will also be identified to highlight the main points and raise some relevant questions for a maximum of approximately 10 minutes. The discussion will be opened up to participants for comments, questions and responses to the paper, under the direction of the Chair. IBS members may want to email and request an opportunity to speak about the paper, but the wider audience will be able to contribute to the discussion.

For more information, please contact IBS Education Committee Members Jim Todd (jim.todd@LSHTM.ac.uk) or Jaakko Nevalainen (Jaakko.Nevalainen@staff.uta.fi).

IBC2016 Awards Fund Reports

One of the IBS Awards Fund Committee’s newest programs assists members from developing countries to attend Regional IBS-sponsored conferences. Most of the travel funds awarded allowed members to attend conferences in different Regions, satisfying one of the impetuses for the program: enabling members to collaborate with colleagues from another part of the world.

The reports below are from members who attended the 2016 International Biometric Conference in Victoria, BC, Canada from July 10 – 15, 2016.

Conference Summary: International Biometric Conferences have been sponsored by the International Biometric Society (IBS) since 1947 and represent one of the major activities of the IBS. The Society organizes a major international conference every two years. The XXVIII International Biometric Conference was held in July 2016 Victoria conventional Centre in Canada. The society promotes the development and application of statistical and mathematical theory and methods in the biosciences.

Conference Objectives: To promote the development and application of statistical and mathematical methods in biosciences.

Lessons Learned: As a young statistician, the conference exposed me to various statistical experiments presented by various presenters, this widened my research knowledge base which will help me add innovations on various research areas

in Uganda.

The opportunity of Interaction with different people/researchers indeed added me more confidence and courage to think more in creating great ideas and solutions to problems facing my country.

Title of Paper/Presentation: Grain demand and consumption in selected districts of Uganda, the case of maize, beans, G-nuts and rice.

Additional Comments/Future Considerations: I really appreciate the travel grant that was given to attend the conference, it was indeed my first time for such a great opportunity, but my humble appeal to the IBS organizers is to improve on the communication channel with the embassies were we acquire visas, especially we people coming from third world countries, we find difficulties in acquiring visa due to inadequate travel information, travelling from low developed country to developed country for the first time, requires a good number of travel history and a good financial standing, such qualities are not possessed of which can lead to wastage of resources in visa application and sometimes disqualification for a visa. I therefore kindly request the IBS grants committee to always liaise with embassies immediately after offering travel grants to IBS members i.e. looping in the embassies, the grantees information and upcoming events to attend, this will simplify and save resources for visa applications.

Kiriko Abdallah

At the outset I am thanking all the Members and Executive Members of Biometric Society awarding USD $2,145.00 as my traveling support for attending the XXVIIIth International Biometric Conference held on July 10 – 15, 2016 at Victoria Conference Centre, B.C. Victoria, Canada. I am a regular member of IBS-IR since 1998. I have received first time this award attending conference outside India. I have started my journey from Guwahati, Assam, India on July 9, 2016 for New Delhi, India to attend the above mentioned Conference at Victoria. Next I started from New Delhi on July 10, 2016 for Victoria, Canada via Toronto, Canada. Reached Victoria, Canada on July 10, 2016 and stayed at University of Victoria Residence Houses, Victoria, Canada from July 10, 2016 to July 16, 2016. Every day I have attended the Session of interest from morning to evening. I have enjoyed the sessions and found interest in some presentations during the sessions. I have gathered many new ideas from the presentations which will help my future work. Moreover, interaction with people from various countries gave me many new thoughts of different areas in Statistics and its applications. In the off day many of us have visited the sea side of Victoria, which was very interesting and memorable. Victoria is a beautiful city. I have enjoyed my visit to Victoria.

My presentation was scheduled in the Contributed Epidemiology 4 Session, which was held on July 14, 2016 from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm. I have presented a paper entitled “Study of the Occurrence of Seasonal Diseases: A Circular Statistical Approach” (Co-author Sahana Bhattacharjee) which was held at Salon A, Carson Hall, Victoria Conference Centre. I have answered the questions from the audience.

I have departed from Victoria, Canada on July 16, 2016 morning for Guwahati, Assam, India. I reached Guwahati, Assam, India on July 18, 2016 morning.

I am thankful to the organizer for arranging such a beautiful program successfully. It has inspired me to attend IBS conferences in future.

Kishore Kumar Das

I thank International Biometric Society for the opportunity they gave me by financially supporting my travel to participate in the XXVIIIth IBC 2016.

It was an awesome opportunity to spent time in Victoria Canada and I had professional and cultural experiences. The very interactive sessions started with the short courses where I attended the “statistical approaches to machine learning” course and learned various algorithms using R software. I was privileged to to give an oral presentation of the paper Spatio-temporal Analysis of Maize Trends in Kenya, to participate in the ISI invited session and to have the opportunity to meet the IBS President (Elizabeth Thompson), the outgoing president (John Hinde), the IBS administrative team and other regional network leaders and members. I learned a lot through the many presentations and posters in the intensive scientific program. I appreciated historical culture and artifacts of Victoria presented using Totem poles and raven monuments. I learned a lot during the Gala Night at the BC Royal Museum.

I once again thank you for giving me this rare opportunity to meet and interact with the IBC participants and to experience the atmosphere of beautiful Victoria County.

Abraham K. Lagat

I wish to thank the Awards Committee of the IBC for their contribution towards the costs incurred during my attendance of the IBC in Victoria in July 2016. High travel costs and the weakening of the South African Rand against the dollar does make attendance in international conferences very expensive.

As always I enjoyed the IBC in Victoria. The main benefit of any conference is to learn about the latest things that people are working on in your area. I recall specifically, the many talks on the current approaches to variable selection or model building that includes extensive support by simulation. Other sessions of particular interest to me were the ones that included talks on joint modelling of longitudinal and time-to-event outcomes, since this is an area that I am currently working in. I also attended session on the analysis of brain imaging data, another area where I currently do some work.

Since I am a member of the Conference Advisory Committee, I was of course also able to attend the meeting of the CAC where we were presented with the two excellent bids from China and Korea and could give my input into the final decision as to whom should host the 2020 IBC.

Conferences are also places for meeting people and networking. This aspect was more difficult in Victoria due to the lack of catering for lunches. People went off in their groups of known friends to find lunch elsewhere as opposed to being together as a group in a foyer or dining hall.

I am already looking forward to the IBC in Barcelona in 2018. Many thanks, once again.

Francesca Little

I am honored to have been selected as the recipient of the International Biometric Society (IBS) travel grant. I thank IBC committee for their generosity, which allowed me to attend Victoria BC, Canada IBC 2016. The travel grant enabled me to present a poster which generated more valuable inputs from different statisticians.

I presented my poster entitled, “A Smooth Test of Goodness-of-fit for the Weibull distribution: An Application of HIV Retention Data”. During the presentation, there were several questions fielded. These questions ranged from the methodological implementation of the smooth hypothesis procedure and model formulation to the design and model validation including real life application. In response to the methodological design and model validation, the initial discussions took us back in 1998 when Pena formulated Neyman’s idea to cover survival data. The whole generalization idea of smooth tests and proper fundamental changes to cater for survival data as required in formulation of smooth tests of goodness of fit.

At the end of the presentation, I was able to gain some of the on-going research that relates to the smooth tests in clinical trials project. These include the relevance of the first event in recurrent events (i.e. the first event usually have a major bearing on the gap time of preceding events), the concept of informative censoring in recurrent events (i.e. How gap-time is affected in this environment) and the situation when gap-times are dependent.

Thank you again for your thoughtful and generous gift.

Collins Odhiambo

My name is Julio Pereira. I am a lecturer in statistics and a researcher at the Federal University of Sao Carlos in Brazil.

In 2016 I was one of the winners of the award funds that were offered to members from developing countries to attend the International Biometric Conference (IBC) in Victoria, Canada, by the International Biometric Society (IBS).

I am truly grateful to the IBS directory for understanding how problematic it is for IBS members from developing countries to attend a conference abroad, and for offering this award, which allowed me and others the invaluable opportunity in attending this important conference. The main difficulty in attending such events is clearly due to the high cost of travel and accommodation compared to the relative income of researchers from our countries. However the funds offered by the IBS were sufficient to cover all expenses I incurred during my stay in Victoria, including return flights from Brazil.

With regards to the conference itself, it was an amazing experience. Only at the IBC could I have the opportunity of hearing and meeting many of the most influential authors in my area of research. Throughout the conference I could attend talks and had the rare opportunity of interacting with names I was familiar with from their published works, and my own contemporary studies. It was amazing to be able to ask questions and to discuss their paper with them after their talks. Furthermore I had the opportunity to present some results of my own research in a specialized section, which was attended by people with interests in this area. It was invaluable to hear their questions and comments regarding my work.

Many thanks again to the IBS directory for giving me the means to attend this wonderful conference, and my congratulations to the IBC organizing committee for their excellent job in providing an educational and enjoyable experience.

Julio Cesar Pereira



24 – 26 April
2017 Channel Network Conference of the International Biometric Society (IBS)
Hasselt University, Campus Diepenbeek, Belgium

6 – 7 May
Symposium Honoring Prof. Marvin Zelen
Thessaloniki, Greece

8 – 12 May
9th EMR-IBS Conference
Thessaloniki, Greece

25 May
The Annual Meeting of the Israel Statistical Association
Ben Gurion University
Beer-Sheba, Israel

5 – 7 June
14th Graybill Conference on Statistical Genetics and Genomics
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO, USA

7 – 10 June
23rd International Scientific Symposium on Biometrics (BIOSTAT2017)
Sibenik, Croatia

19 – 21 June
Nordic Baltic Region Biometric Conference (NBBC17)
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

24 – 28 June
62nd Renuião Annual da RBras e 17° SEAGRO
Lavras, MG, Brazil

25 – 28 June
2017 WNAR/IMS Meeting
Santa Fe, NM, USA

3 – 7 July
International Conference on Robust Statistics (ICORS) 2017
University of Wollongong, Australia

3 – 7 July
International Conference on Robust Statistics (ICORS) 2017
University of Wollongong, Australia

9 – 13 July
International Society for Clinical Biostatistics 38th Annual Conference
Vigo, Spain

9 – 13 July
Bayesian Methods in Clinical Research
Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

24 – 28 July
62nd RBras Meeting
Minas Gerais, Brazil

29 July – 3 August
Joint Statistical Meeting
Baltimore, MD, USA
Dionne Price (Dionne.Price@fda.hhs.gov)

22 – 25 August
IBS SUSAN Regional Conference hosted by the Malawi Region (GMAL)
Umodzi Park, Liongwe, Malawi

28 August – 1 September
Joint Conference of the Central European Network of the IBS& International Society of Biopharmaceutical Statistics (CEN ISBS)
Vienna, Austria

10 – 14 September
GPol 47th International Biometrical Colloquium
Kiry, Poland

24 – 27 October
The Jamaica Statistics Symposium and Pre-conference Workshop Series 2017 – Statistics for Success: Ethics, Data Quality and Security
Kingston, Jamaica

26 – 30 November
Australasian Regional Conference
Kingscliff, NSW, Australia


25 – 28 March
ENAR Spring Meeting
Atlanta, GA, USA

8 – 13 July
XXIXth International Biometric Conference
Barcelona, Spain

July 28 – August 2
Joint Statistical Modeling
Vancouver, BC, Canada

26 – 30 August
Annual Conference of ISCB and Biennial ASC
Melbourne, Australia