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President’s Corner

Greetings for this, the last issue Biometric Bulletin for 2018. It’s been a busy few months for me.   In November, I had the privilege to travel to Johannesburg to attend the annual meetings of the South African Statistical Association (SASA – This was their 60th conference! With South Africa being in the same hemisphere as Australia, I thought this might be an easier trip than usual. However, it still took me 14 hours to fly with Qantas who have a direct flight from Sydney to Johannesburg. Interestingly, it only took 11 hours to return home …. Perhaps we went via a convenient time warp? More likely it had to do with trade winds. I had been to South Africa once before, way back in 1998 when the International Biometric Conference was held at University of Cape Town. The world has changed a lot in twenty years, so I was curious to return. To tell the truth, I was slightly nervous since one often hears that Johannesburg is not the safest of cities.  But I had a great time.

I was very impressed with the conference in terms of how well it was organized, the quality of all the presentations and posters, and of the overall atmosphere. The conference was hosted by the Department of Statistics at the University of South African, under the very capable leadership of their Chair, Eeva Rapoo. It really was a lovely venue, with plenty of room for smaller and larger sessions and a fabulous open area for morning and afternoon teas and poster sessions.

The photo above shows the main lecture theatre used for the plenary sessions – this was the very final session where student prizes were also awarded. As you can see, even in this not very good photo taken on my iPhone, the diversity of the group was particularly notable, with lots of young women, a wide range of ethnic and racial backgrounds and many different countries represented. At a time when so many places in the world seem embroiled in racial, ethnic and religious tensions, it was refreshing and in fact quite inspiring to see that such differences could be transcended through a shared interest in statistics and biometry. Just by throwing ourselves enthusiastically into the work of the IBS, we are all making a difference.

I was pretty busy at the conference, delivering a short-course (spatial statistics for health research) and a keynote address. I chose to talk about my work with the Knowledge Integration Project, funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ( I was pleased to catch up with a lot of IBS members and officers from the various African regions, both informally as well as at a special IBS meeting held during the SASA conference. At that meeting, we had a chance to talk about some of the latest activities going on in IBS, especially efforts around revamping of the website. I reminded participants about the availability of funds to attend conferences in other regions (see travel grant application) and encouraged people to consider applying. I also just tried to listen to local concerns and have some open dialogue.

I enjoyed the opportunity to talk with quite a few young people at the poster sessions. I particularly enjoyed talking to Lizalise Mngcele about his poster.  As part of his work withtheAfrican Earth Observatory Network (AEON) in the Department of Geoscience at Nelson Mandela University, Lizalise used drone technology to capture data on the locations and sizes of anthills in the Karoo region of South Africa. He then used spatial statistics techniques to assess whether or not the anthills were located randomly. His hypothesis was that factors such as altitude and climate affected the spatial patterns. It seemed to me that he was asking great questions and ones that could easily lead into some interesting methodological research in spatial statistics.

The conference offered two interesting excursion options in the middle. I chose to visit Soweto, a township just 20 minutes to the south of the University. We spent some time at the famous Hector Pieterson memorial that commemorates the role of South Africa’s young students in the struggle against apartheid back in the 1970s. It was a poignant experience, especially seeing so many stark images and reading about the death of the twelve-year Hector who was shot by police whilst watching the older students march. Here is a picture of Freedom Gumedze and me just down the road outside Mandela House, which is where the Mandela family lived for many years.

Freedom is a faculty member in the Department of Statistical Sciences at Univesity of Cape Town and one of our IBS Executive Board Members. As you will have read elsewhere, Freedom was recently re-elected for an additional term.  Congratulations Freedom!

I was barely home from South Africa before it was time to head off again, this time to Israel where the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) of the IBS was holding its regional meetings in Jerusalem. Having never been to Israel before, I was eager to visit this fascinating country, though again just a little nervous given the difficult history and on-going tensions in this part of our world. EMR is one of the more interesting regions of IBS, including multiple countries with different languages and cultures, literally traversing the border between the European and Asian continents!  The meetings rotate around the different countries of the region (the 2017 meeting was in Thessaloniki, Greece) and they are always super well organized. This one was no exception, with David Zucker and Malka Gorfine from Israel collaborating to create a wonderfully well-run conference. Once again, I was struck quite deeply by how membership in a society like IBS can help us transcend the boundaries of religion, race and ethnicity that sometimes divide us. The enthusiasm and diversity of the conference attendees was impressive, particularly the young people. I was pleased to have a bit of time to wander around and explore Jerusalem (the conference venue was very close to the old city walls).

Wandering around the old walled city, important to so many different religions and the site of so much history, was a profound experience. The conference dinner was at a spectacular venue overlooking the old city. I jumped at the opportunity to take one of the conference tours, which was a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Visiting this purported place of Jesus’ birth right before Christmas was very touching for me. I felt a little sad wishing I could have told my Mum about this visit, since she was a devout Catholic and would have loved to hear about it!  The experience of getting to and from the Church of the Nativity was an interesting and thought-provoking experience in and of itself, since Bethlehem is located within the Left Bank and we had to pass through several checkpoints.  I found it quite alienating to see the wall, though a little bright spot was driving past the location where the Bansky has created some of his amazing street art (I am a big Banksy fan). All in all, I feel that I learned a lot during my visit to this fascinating part of the world. Even my taxi driver on the way to the airport was a font of knowledge and spoke as eloquently as any university professor!

The main reason for my attendance at the EMR meetings was to deliver the Marvin Zelen Memorial Lecture. I felt honoured to do this, since Marvin had been a wonderful mentor and then colleague of mine over many, many years. Marvin and his wife Thelma had been a long-time supporters of biostatistics in the region, even establishing a branch of their non-for-profit data management company, Frontier Science, in Athens. Thelma was at the meetings, along with her daughter Sandy and her grandkids. It is nerve-wracking enough to give a plenary lecture honouring a giant such as Marvin, but the pressure goes through the roof when the family is there too! But I managed to pull it off, showing some great pictures of Marvin, telling a few funny stories, as well as talking about a bit of statistics as well!  To the right is just one of the pictures I showed, this one Marvin as a very young statistician, I believe at his first job after his WWII service, at the Bureau of Standards in Washington DC. In the statistical part of my presentation, I talked about some of the ways in which our profession needs to change, especially considering all the developments happening in data science as related new areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and so on. I tried to be a bit provocative and it must have worked since we ended up in quite a spirited discussion at the end that continued over several days! One of the conference attendees, Willi Sauerbrei from University of Freiburg in Germany, commented on how we need more publications that present thoughtful comparisons of methods and provide helpful guidance for how to choose between the sometimes-overwhelming list of options.  He referred to a recent Letter to the Editor published in the Biometrical Journal (Biometrical Journal 2018; 60:216-218), written by members of the simulation panel of the international STRengthening Analytical Thinking for Observational Studies (STRATOS) initiative. STRATOS aims to provide accessible and accurate guidance for relevant topics in the design and analysis of observational studies and emphasizes that comparison studies need to be improved, better accepted and play a more relevant role in methodological research. We’ve in fact been publishing a series of STRATOS articles in the Biometric Bulletin these past months and there is one more to be found in this issue. In their Letter, Willi and his colleagues talk about why comparison papers are so important, but how it can be difficult to publish them because so many statistics journals these days insist that papers must have something “new”. I could not agree more with these sentiments. In fact, the work presented in my Zelen lecture was basically drawn from exactly kind of paper and my co-authors and I had indeed encountered some challenges in getting it published, with reviewers saying that there wasn’t enough new methodology.  Our paper (to appear in Statistics in Medicine,  see online version at compares different approaches to longitudinal growth modelling based on a very rich data repository from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Of course, I am biased, but even though our paper doesn’t really present much in the way of new methodology, I think it makes a useful contribution to the applied literature via an innovative case study and offers helpful insights regarding choice of approach to longitudinal growth modelling.  I would definitely like to see more of our statistical and biostatistical journals willing to take this kind of paper. The Biometric Practice section of our IBS Journal Biometrics aims to do exactly this, and I am really grateful to our Executive Editor, Geert Molenberghs, and others for their leadership on this. Quoting from the website, the section “contains papers involving innovative applications of methods and providing practical contributions and guidance, biological insight, and/or significant new findings.” Maybe more of us can be encouraged to write these kinds of papers and send them to Biometrics and other journals such as JABES, Biometrical Journal and Statistics in Medicine, where the editors are of similar mind.

As time marches on and we once again say goodbye to yet another year, there will be a few changes for IBS. Havi Murad’s term as Editor of the Biometric Bulletin will finish. I hope you agree with me that Havi has done a fabulous job! Have a read of her Editors Column in this issue …. I think you will be impressed! I’ve been particularly pleased with how she has solicited some very interesting featured articles, also the Software Corner.  Steve Buckland’s term as Editor of JABES is also coming to an end. Steve also did a fabulous job in this role, bringing lots of fresh ideas to the table including an active social media presence for the Journal. Under his leadership, the impact factor has improved, and the Journal is showing lots of good signs of health.

Being an Editor is hard work and we are grateful to Havi and Steve for all their hard work. Brian Reich is just starting his new term as Editor of JABES and we look forward to working with him. We are still putting in place our plans for the new Biometrics Bulletin Editor …. Stay tuned!

I’ll wrap things up by wishing you all a peaceful and prosperous New Year!

From the Editor

Dear Readers,

With this last column, my role as the editor of the Biometric Bulletin ends. Three years have passed so fast. I enjoyed creating new contents for you the readers and communicating with you. The new contributions included articles about IBS Past Presidents, interviews with new IBS Presidents, Software Corner articles, Feature articles written by our professional Journalist Daria Steigman (Steigman Communications, llc), Mathematical Riddle Corner, a Series of articles on the STRATOS Initiative and more. See Table 1 for a summary of the topics of some of the articles. You can read these articles in the Biometric Bulletin Archive on the IBS website (access available for IBS members only!).

I would like to thank the correspondents, in particular Garth Tarr (AR), the main correspondent of the Software Corner, and Daria Steigman, the professional journalist, for their very interesting ongoing articles. Thanks are also due to the regional correspondents for the news items and to Willi Sauerbrei, Chair of the STRengthening Analytical Thinking for Observational Studies (STRATOS) Initiative, for the collaboration. Last, but not least, I would like to thank Kristina Wolford, Peter Doherty (IBS Office) and Louise Ryan (IBS President; AR). It has been pleasure working with all of you.

My Region, the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), held its bi-annual conference in Jerusalem, Israel, 18-20 December. This region is comprised of several countries (Greece, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus, Bulgaria), and the conference is held in Israel, my country of origin, only once every 6 years. Louise Ryan, IBS president, was a guest of honor and gave the Marvin Zelen Memorial Lecture about “Statistics and Computers”, relating it to Zelen’s work and to the future of Statistics. It was interesting and exciting and encouraged a fruitful discussion about the importance of applied statistics. More details about the meeting will appear in the regional news of the EMR in the next issue.

In this issue, we publish an article on the 7th topic group (TG), a sixth in a series of papers on the STRATOS initiative. The aim of this TG is to give guidance on how to choose the most appropriate method for a specific question in causal analysis, e.g. to give an overview of principles of causal inference and causal effect estimation, emphasizing logic and intuition. They develop the approach by carefully specifying the causal question in context, then making assumptions explicit to the causal framework, and finally constructing the various estimators.

In this issue, I am also happy to publish a solution to the mathematical riddle from the previous issue. The first one to answer correctly was David Baird (VSN (NZ) Limited New Zealand). Also in this issue, we publish a Software Corner article on Scientific and Technical Blogging with R, written by Emi Tanaka (University of Sydney, AR).

I will finish up with my motto for life: “remain active!”. It means activate your mind as well as your body. In a recent article published in JAMA Network Open journal (October 2018), 122,000 were followed for 23 years (1991-2014). Those that didn’t do well on the treadmill test were said to have almost two times the health risks as those with kidney failure on dialysis. Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker. Increased cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with reduced long-term mortality with no observed upper limit of benefit.

It has been pleasure being the editor of the Bulletin for the past three years. Looking forward to meeting you in conferences.

More details about the meeting will appear in the EMR regional news of the next issue.

Havi Murad

Table 1: Summary of some of the articles in Biometric Bulletin 2016-2018

*Written by Daria Steigman (Steigman Communications, llc)

Executive Board Election Results

Newly-Elected IBS Executive Board for 2019

Voting members of the Society recently received an electronic ballot notification in order to allow participation in our biennial election. The deadline to vote in the election was 2 December 2018, and the ballots have been checked for accuracy by our private election firm.

At this time, we would like to share our appreciation with all who agreed to stand and represent the IBS in this election. It is during these times that we remember how truly important an active membership is in order to maintain and grow our Society. We also wish to thank all members who voted in the election. Your participation is crucial to this process. Approximately 24% of our members voted, and the results are now confirmed. Members were asked to elect six (6) Directors to the Executive Board.

Congratulations to the newly elected International Biometric Society Executive Board for 2019. We are pleased to announce that the following members have been elected to the Board:


Geert Verbeke (Belgian Region, announced previously)


Freedom Gumedze (South African Region)

Taerim Lee (Korean Region)

Frank Bretz (Austro-Swiss Region)

Krista Fischer (Nordic-Baltic Region)

Karen Bandeen-Roche (Eastern North American Region)

Joel Greenhouse (Eastern North American Region)

The President-elect shall serve a one-year term starting on 1 January 2019 and shall automatically succeed to the office of President, serving for two years. All Directors beginning a new term will serve a four-year term starting 1 January 2019 and ending 31 December 2022.

The remaining members of the Executive Board are:

Louise Ryan (Australasian), President, Brad J. Biggerstaff (WNAR), Secretary-Treasurer, José Pinheiro (Eastern North American), Andreas Ziegler (German), Brian Cullis (Australasian), Mark Brewer (British-Irish), Luzia Trinca (Brazilian), and Elizabeth Brown (WNAR). The Secretary/Treasurer, Brad Biggerstaff, shall continue his current (first) term through 31 December 2019. The Executive Director, Peter Doherty, shall serve as an ex-officio member of the Board.

Congratulations to our newly-elected Executive Board members for 2019!

The IBS is always looking for members who wish to contribute to the Society as a volunteer in some manner. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact any member of the Executive Board or the International Biometric Office. The first in-person meeting of the new Executive Board will be in March, 2019 in Munich, Germany during the upcoming DAGStat Conference.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Doherty, CAE

International Biometric Society 30th International Biometric Conference

Call for Short Course and Invited Session Proposals at IBC2020

The International Biometric Society (IBS) calls for proposals for Short Courses and Invited Session to be offered at 30th International Biometric Conference (IBC2020). IBC2020 will be held 6-10 July 2020 at the Convention & Exhibitions Center (COEX), Seoul, Korea.  Click the following links below to review the Call for Proposals.

Short Course Call for Proposal

If you are interested in submitting a Short Course proposal, please use the following template.

Invited Session Call for Proposal

If you are interested in submitting an Invited Session proposal, please use the following template.

Thank you for your support of the IBC! We look forward to seeing you in Seoul, Korea.

Expression of Interest to Host an IBC

The International Biometric Society (IBS) relies on its regions to come forward with proposals to host our biennial International Biometric Conference (IBC). For the regions, a major challenge has always been the amount of work required to prepare a successful proposal, not to mention the work required by the successful region to actually host the meeting. This year, after extensive discussions with the IBS Conference Organizing Committee and the IBS Executive Board, the Officers have decided to streamline the process to make it easier on the regions.  The new process also reflects the fact that we now have a multi-year contract with the conference-organizing company MCI ( which helps us with IBC logistics. In contrast to the past, the Regions will no longer be required to identify a local organizing company to do this work.

The new process involves the following steps:

Regions submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) to serve as host of an IBC; click here to review the list of what information should be included in such an EoI.

The Conference Advisory Committee (CAC) will evaluate the EoIs and invite a small number of Regions to submit full proposals.

The CAC will evaluate the full proposals, narrowing the field down to two finalists who will then be invited to refine their proposal further and present their proposal in person at the beginning of the IBC meeting 4 years prior to the one being planned. The CAC will make their final decision and report to the IBS Executive Board, who will vote on a selection in time for presentation at the Annual General Membership Meeting.

As part of this new process, and in order to assist the CAC with their decision-making, we will engage MCI to undertake a feasibility study of proposed IBC locations and venues. MCI will also be available to assist regions with the preparation of final proposals. While it would still be possible for a region to make the case for using a company other than MCI to help with conference logistics, we would be happy if regions embrace the new model. Our experience so far with planning towards IBC2020 suggests that the model is a good one.  It allows things to run more smoothly and helps us to retain a greater level of corporate knowledge.

We invite your region to consider the submission of an EoI to host IBC2024. Note that there is a guiding principle of having our IBCs follow the following rotation: Americas/Europe/Rest of the world. In practice, the rotation is not followed rigorously. Our first priority is always to hold the most successful IBC possible. For example, IBC2016 was in Canada, IBC2018 was in Spain, IBC2020 will be in Seoul, Korea, and IBC2022 will be in Riga, Latvia. This means that ideally, IBC2024 should be in the Americas. But other compelling proposals will definitely be considered.

For your interest, you can find the list of past IBCs at  We very much hope your region will consider submitting an EoI. If you do so, please use this template. Please submit your proposal by 15 March 2019 by emailing to

Travel Award Winners: A Post-Conference Report on Attending IBC2018

The IBS Travel Awards program is made available through the financial support of the International Biometric Society, IBS Regions, and individuals. This award assists IBS members from a Developing Country (DC) to attend an IBC.

Each travel award honoree has been asked to provide a report of their time during the IBC. Over the next few issues of the Biometric Bulleting, you will be able to read their experiences. We hope you enjoy!

Girma T Aweke
Country: Ethiopia

During planning stage of the trip to Barcelona, the IBS office provided information, guidance and support required for visa and other purposes. Hotel reservation was made well ahead of time with support of the conference secretariat. My travel to and from Barcelona, with a connection flight from Madrid, was smooth and enjoyable. Barcelona is a great city with excellent public transport network, several historic sites to visit, home to great football team and several interesting tourist attraction places. People of Barcelona are kind and helpful wherever I went, apart from language barrier. During my eight days of stay, I had opportunity to visit the museum, the cathedral, old building of early century, government and city hall, the Olympic and the football stadiums, the beach, toured the city, interacted with people and had fun in my spare time.

Participation in the conference provided an opportunity to meet people with different statistical interest, professional level and experience from different part of the world. I had the opportunity to discuss a possible collaboration between our universities and regions, to promote our profession, with some participants, specifically from Africa. As you may be aware, African Statisticians lack financial resources to participate in conferences/workshops overseas, and therefore are less exposed to recent developments in various areas of Statistics. Some colleagues promised to share materials with us, some to help strengthen our postgraduate programs, some agreed to provide short courses during regional conferences, and others promised to support our regions in anyways possible. I hope the result will be very successful collaborations.

I participated in the regional officers meeting on Thursday and benefited a lot from discussions. It was a great opportunity for me to meet the IBS president, officers from various regions and IBS business officers in personal. From the reports and discussions made, I had the opportunity to increase my knowledge about activities of IBS, the regions and the journals. I understood that our region is lagging behind in some aspects, for example, use of social media of IBS, reporting of activities, members profile etc. Frequency of regional conferences, number of participants, and level of scientific presentations in our region need improvement in the future. I used the opportunity to raise issues regarding membership fee payment to IBS, and lack/deteriorating funding to host the SUSAN conferences. The IBS president was supportive and encouraged regions to provide support to our network.

Scientific presentations in the IBC2018 Barcelona were excellent. To start with, the invited sessions presented by renowned professors covered in depth vast application areas, describing progress in recent modeling approaches. I attended presentations of several interesting new findings/developments, improvements/extensions and data exploration/approaches. I understood that the statistical methods, supported by computing technologies, are developing rapidly. However, I am not sure if users of such statistical models, or even the statisticians themselves, are able to catch-up with such developments. The contributed and poster sessions were all excellent. The contents was so varied, touching areas ranging from agriculture and health to sports. From my point of view, I benefitted a lot from contributed paper presentations on the following areas: progress and challenges in experimental designs; analysis of DNA sequential data; developments and trends in survival analysis; advances in spatio-temporal models; advances in analysis of longitudinal data; current trends in categorical analysis; Bayesian approaches in different areas;

Most of the papers in the poster sessions presented works that embraced the future directions of statistical modeling. I have talked to some of the authors about their work and learnt a lot about various development efforts going on in universities and research institutes across the globe.

Finally, I am very much grateful to IBS management and fund award committee for giving me this opportunity. I am thankful to the regions, which contributed money and enabled me travel and be part of history and to the local organizing committee, for their support and guidance before I arrived and while my stay in Barcelona, and to the people and the city of Barcelona for their hospitality.

Maira Blumer Fatoretto
Country: Brazil

The IBC 2018 gave me the opportunity to give an oral presentation of  my work in progress entitled “Statistical analysis of over dispersed fungus germination data” and to participate in sessions that provided an opportunity to learn exciting developments and applications of biometry throughout the world. Many Contributed Session, Showcases, Posters and Invited Sessions presented very exciting and motivating work. Below I present a brief summary of two highlights for my professional development.


Young Statistician Student Showcase.

This Showcase presented interesting work developed by young researchers. It was presented in a simple and easy way, making it possible to understand and to ask questions. This session also allowed me to see the focus of the work carried out from five different continental areas.

CS 39 Recent topics in Joint Outcome Models.

This Contributed Session presented works related with my developing project in my PhD and allowed me to get some ideas to improve my research, specially the work entitled “Hierarchical Bayesian Structural Equation Modeling of Heterogeneous Relationships between Performance Outcomes in Animal Production Systems”. This work proposed extensions to hierarchical structural equation models specifying structural coefficients, and the presentation was very interesting. Also, the work intitled “Pairwise estimation of multivariate longitudinal outcomes in a Bayesian joint modelling framework” was very interesting because it demonstrated the use of Bayesian approach for a pairwise modelling proposed by Verbeke and Fieuws.

Md Hasinur Rahaman Khan, PdD
Country: Bangladesh

The IBC2018 conference provided a great opportunity for me to share my knowledge and discuss research related issues with other researchers. I am thankful to the organizing body for awarding me the IBC2018 Travel Grant. This was my first time attending the IBC International Biometric Conference (IBC). I would like to compare this conference particularly with the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics (ISCB) conference, which I have been attending since 2008. However, I found the IBC2018 conference more interesting, effective and oriented to my current research. That is why, I wish to attend every IBC conference a in the future and hope to be awarded again. The organization of the conference was very nice, balanced and wonderful from the beginning to the end. I would particularly mention the commitment that has been shown to me by the IBO members in arranging and sending my Spanish invitation letter needed for my visa processing purpose. The IBS President and the committee organized a meeting with the IBS travel grant awardees to get to know us, which made me feel honored. I also had the chance to meet dozen of famous researchers, who came from different parts of the world, which was another great opportunity of attending this conference. The opening session was very good, particularly the chorus cultural part that happened at the end of the session. It was very cheerful and pleasant tot the ears.

IBS Travel Grant Application – Non-IBC Year

In non-IBC years, the International Biometric Society Travel Awards Committee has instituted a program to assist IBS members from Developing Countries in attending conferences sponsored by IBS Regions or Networks.

If you are interested in attending a conference in 2019, either in your own region or outside your region, but don’t have the resources to attend, please consider submitting an application for a travel grant. This is a competitive program with limited funding, and grants will not exceed $2,000 USD in 2019.

Before applying, it is important to determine if you qualify for funding. There are several important guidelines to keep in mind. Visit for more information and details.

Recently we funded Nora Bello to attend the Argentinean-Chilean Chapters of the International Biometric Society (IBS) annual meeting. Nora has provided a short update on her attendance during this meeting. We hope you enjoy reading about her experience.

The Argentinean-Chilean Chapters of the International Biometric Society held a very productive and refreshing annual meeting on October 10 to 13, 2018 in the beautiful city of Neuquen, Argentina, truly a fresh oasis in the midst of the northern Patagonian dessert. The meeting featured several contributed poster sessions, along with invited talks by guest speakers from the US, Spain and Argentina, and several short courses for professional development. Amongst such invited speakers were Dr. Tim O’Brian from Loyola University in Chicago, Dr. Raul Macchiavelli from University of Puerto Rico, Dr. Julio DiRienzo from National University of Cordoba, Dr. Purificacion Galindo from University of Salamanca and Dr. Nora M. Bello from Kansas State University. The chapters are grateful to the mother IBS society for their financial support which facilitated attendance of invited speakers. More details of the program can be found at:


March 2019 Issue Highlights 

The upcoming March 2019 issue boasts an exciting array of applied and methodological articles.  A sample of the fine array of papers in the Biometric Methodology section is: “Multiple robust estimation of marginal structural mean models for unconstrained outcomes,” by Lucia Babino, Andrea Rotnitzky, and James Robins; “On doubly robust estimation of the hazard difference,” by Oliver Dukes, Torben Martinussen, Eric J. Tchetgen Tchetgen, and Stijn Vansteelandt; “Instrumental variable estimation in semi-parametric additive hazards models,” by Matthias Brueckner, Andrew Titman, and Thomas Jaki; “Generalized linear models with linear constraints for microbiome compositional data,” by Jiarui Lu, Pixu Shi, and Hongzhe Li; “Bayesian inference of hub nodes across multiple networks,” by Junghi Kim, Kim-Anh Do, Min Jin Ha, and Christine B. Peterson; “Bayesian negative binomial mixture regression models for the analysis of sequence count and methylation data,” by Qiwei Li, Alberto Cassese, Michele Guindani, and Marina Vannucci; “A novel Bayesian multiple testing approach to deregulated miRNA discovery harnessing positional clustering,” by Noirrit Kiran Chandra, Richa Singh, and Sourabh Bhattacharya; and “Semi-supervised validation of multiple surrogate outcomes with application to electronic medical records phenotyping,” by Chuan Hong, Katherine P. Liao, and Tianxi Cai.

The Biometric Practice section features articles on “Flexible parametric approach to classical measurement error variance estimation without auxiliary data,” by Aurelie Bertrand, Ingrid Van Keilegom, and Catherine Legrand; “Power and sample size for dose-finding studies with survival endpoints under model uncertainty,” by Qiqi Deng, Xiaofei Bai, Dacheng Liu, Dooti Roy, Zhiliang Ying and Dan-Yu Lin; and “A Bayesian multi-dimensional couple-based latent risk model with an application to infertility,” by Beom Seuk Hwang, Zhen Chen, Germaine M. Buck Louis, and Paul S. Albert.

Please remember that lists of papers scheduled 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-Blackwell website, which may be accessed by IBS members by visiting, selecting “Biometrics” from the drop-down menu at the “Publications” link at the top of the page, and accessing the “Click here” link. “Accepted Articles” is a great additional service to quickly disseminate recently accepted articles, even before they are professionally typeset, in the last preprint layout version.

Transition Between European Co-editors 

With the 2018 calendar thinning, Stijn Vansteelandt’s (Belgian Region) Co-editor term is drawing to a close. Stijn has served as CE for the years 2016, 2017, and 2018. We wholeheartedly thank Stijn for seminal service to the journal and the Society. On January 1, 2019, Stijn will pass the baton to Mark Brewer (British and Irish Region). His European Co-editor term runs through the end of 2021.

Video Abstracts

Wiley has initiated a service called “Video Abstracts” and “Video Bytes.”  It is intended to offer authors effective strategies to disseminate their research to a wide audience.  Think of them as short animations, professionally produced, which are easy to share via Social Media. Several Wiley based journals have started with the endeavor. We will have one produced for the 2017 Best Biometrics paper by P. Hou, J. Tebbs, C.R.  Bilder, and C.S. McMahan. (Biometrics, 2017, 73, 656-665). Wiley partners with Research Square for the production of Video Abstracts and Video Bytes, so authors do not have to be professional actors to make use of the service. Details can be found at

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

This is my last report as JABES editor.  Dr Brian Reich, Associate Professor at North Carolina State University, takes over the reins in January.  Brian is also one of two Guest Editors for the next Special Issue, together with Dr Dorit Hammerling, a Project Scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research and long-term JABES Associate Editor.  The Special Issue is on Climate and the Earth System and will appear next year.

The September issue included the following papers:  “Bayesian analysis of 210Pb dating” by Marco A. Aquino-López, Maarten Blaauw, J. Andrés Christen and Nicole K. Sanderson, “Joint temporal point pattern models for proximate species occurrence in a fixed area using camera trap data” by Erin M. Schliep, Alan E. Gelfand, James S. Clark and Roland Kays, “The use of calibration weighting for variance estimation under systematic sampling:  applications to forest cover assessment” by Lorenzo Fattorini, Timothy G. Gregoire and Sara Trentini, “Change-point estimation in the multivariate model taking into account the dependence:  application to the vegetative development of oilseed rape” by V. Brault, C. Lévy-Leduc, A. Mathieu and A. Jullien, “Environmental risk assessment of emerging contaminants using degradation data” by Lanqing Hong, Zhi-Sheng Ye and Ran Ling, and “Markov-switching linked autoregressive model for non-continuous wind direction data” by Xiaoping Zhan, Tiefeng Ma, Shuangzhe Liu and Kunio Shimizu.

If you have a suggestion for a special issue, we would be pleased to hear from you.  We are also 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, please let me know.

For more information on upcoming issues, the editorial board, and the aim and scope of the journal, please visit our website 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 (

Please follow us on Twitter:  @JabesEditor.

Steve Buckland
Editor in Chief

Software Corner

Scientific and Technical Blogging with R

By: Emi Tanaka, The University of Sydney

The landscape of journal publications has long changed from its initial stages where journals were disseminated in hard-copy paper format. Now almost all journals would store and disseminate their articles online. New publication framework, such as arXiv and F1000Research, that accelerate dissemination by forgoing formal review process has emerged. These frameworks gave rise a new era of formal information sharing, however, there is still scope for middle-ground that allow less formal articles. Scientific and technical blogging based on R Markdown documents have a huge potential to fill this gap as well as encourage the general community to adopt good scientific practices, i.e. open science and reproducibility.

This article firstly touches briefly on why you make like to make scientific or technical articles with R Markdown based tools. The article then describes radix and blogdown R packages for blogging using R Markdown documents with comparisons between the two packages.

Why scientific or technical blog?

The line where a blog constitutes to be a scientific or technical blog is not clear, however, there are some blogs that provide large benefits to the scientific community. These could be blogs about technical use or tutorial of software which may not warrant a full-fledged academic article. I have personally benefited from many scientific and technical blogs.

Another benefit to blogging is that the author has control of the writing style. Scientific or technical articles usually call for formality while blogging is free from such obligation and allow the author to relax to his/her own style of writing. I particularly like authors that display a blend of humour or personal thoughts and experience that makes reading their blogs entertaining for me.

There is of course a downside to allowing anyone to blog in any style they like. Quality control. It is not hard for some people to make outrageous scientific claims without any evidence. This of course doesn’t stop happening even with a rigorous scientific process (e.g. the well known case of the fraudulent paper alluding that the vaccine causes autism). This is more of a lesson perhaps that it is important that each individual train themselves with critical thinking.

Why R Markdown?

R Markdown, described briefly, allows you to use a simple syntax to seamlessly embed code and its output into documents of various forms, such as html, pdf or word. This article is prepared using R Markdown with the figure and table created using R code. Contrary to the name, the code does not have to be R but support varying languages such as python, go, C and even SAS. For the full list see here.

R Markdown documents consist of all codes with the ability to easily hide the code (contained in the so-called chunks) for the desired output. The simplicity yet flexibility to customize makes R Markdown a powerful tool that makes it easy for users to adopt reproducible research and literate programming.

R Markdown is written by the team of software engineers in RStudio who have shown commitment to open source projects and work in a company that appears to have a viable business model. These two points as well as large community usage (shown by the increasing popularity in the figure below) give some assurance to me that there will be a long-term commitment to maintaining the R Markdown based R packages.

The data is taken for a 5-year period 2013-12-22 to 2018-12-16 from google trends on search for term “rmarkdown”. Interest represent worldwide search interest relative to the highest point on the chart over the 5-year period. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term. The upward trend in the graph implies that R Markdown is gaining popularity.

How to create a blog with R?

There are two R packages that are best suited for creation of websites based on R Markdown documents, i.e. the radix and blogdown. More details on these two packages are described below and the features of the two packages are compared in the table below.

The best demonstration of the package is to see the output. There are two blog post associated with this article for:

• the radix version see

• the blogdown version see

You can find the associated R Markdown documents for:

• the radix version see

• the blogdown version see

A key selling point for me to use radix was the metadata automatically generated that allows easier indexing for Google Scholar and automatic article citation generation. As a researcher, we are often required to show impact of our work for grant or promotion applications. This can be difficult to measure for a web post and consequently, a well-received and useful scientific or technical post do not even get the same recognition as a journal article that have contributed less to the scientific discussion or community. By making posts easily citable, I would hope that more recognition is given to web posts that have been helpful for scientific research and it would encourage more individuals to contribute positively to the scientific discussion and knowledge.

Another point that radix made it easy for beautiful and elegant writing is the ability to write side comments and customize figure layouts to stretch beyond the post margins. This is doable in blogdown as well, however, it requires work for almost all themes.

It should be stressed that blogdown is used to create a more general-purpose website and it is possible to incorporate all features of radix within the blogdown framework. To implement this requires time and effort so most will find it easier to just use radix for certain purposes. This may change in future though if someone capable can introduce it as a Hugo theme.


radix is a new R package, that is based on the Distill web framework to bring scientific or technical writing using R Markdown that is native to the web. The Distill web framework is used in the Distill Research Journal which publishes research on machine learning.

Getting started on radix is easy, especially if you know how to use R Markdown and use the RStudio IDE. The best way to get started is to follow the instruction in this website article here.


Blogdown is an R package that uses Hugo in the backend to generate the website. blogdown also can use Jekyll or Hexo as the generator in place of Hugo however some features are only supported in Hugo. While the package name signifies that the primary motivation is for blogging, blogdown is not limited to blogs and is flexible to create any website.

Getting started on blogdown is slightly involved in the beginning but it becomes relatively easy once you have become accustomed to the workflow. It is easier if someone initially demonstrates you how to do it however if you do not have anyone around you to demonstrate it, you may try following the set of slides referenced here. More comprehensive details about the blogdown package is best explained in the book by Xie et al. (2017).


So, radix or blogdown? This is ultimately up to you. One thing I’m sure is that writing articles using R Markdown documents has aided greatly in my scientific writing.

STRengthening Analytical Thinking for Observational Studies (STRATOS): Introducing the Causal Inference Topic Group (TG7)

Ingeborg Waernbaum1, Bianca De Stavola 2, Erica Moodie3 , Saskia le Cessie4, Els Goetghebeur5 on behalf of STRATOS TG7

1 Department of Statistics, USBE, Umeå University, SW.

2 GOS Institute of Child Health, University College London, U.K..

3 Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, CA.

4 Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Leiden University, NL.

5 Department of Applied Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics, Ghent University, BE.

When the STRATOS initiative engaged in its mission to support practicing statisticians in their access to state of the art methods, `Causal Inference’ became one of the initial topic groups.  It is not only concerned with important scientific questions at the heart of most disciplines and directed towards interventions that change the world [1, 2], but there was also a surge of new methodology over the  past decades. Methods vary widely in their approach and involve challenges at the conceptual as well as the technical level. Today, adapted software facilitates calculation of causal estimators. For their causal interpretation however, they rely on more than the usual modeling constraints. Underlying assumptions are often cast in terms of potential outcomes and involve parallel worlds where the observation units are subject to different exposure levels than those that were observed, with a shift in expected potential outcomes as a result [3]. Causal parameters (estimands) are then defined as contrasts between potential outcome distributions,  e.g., the expected difference between potential outcomes under two different levels of exposure: the observed exposure and the complementary exposure that was not observed. Unfortunately, plausibility of the assumptions needed for consistent estimation can not be evaluated in terms of observed data alone.

An important challenge presented by methods for causal inference lies in formulating practical questions in terms of targeted causal estimands which embody the scientific interest. Another challenge lies in translating assumptions into plausible constraints for the subject matter [4].  Hence, causal analyses are characterized by the special precautions required for the process of finding balance between the causal questions and observed data and assumptions.

There are very helpful papers with explanation on specific types of methods [5,6],  but little guidance on how to choose the most appropriate method for a specific question. This is where TG7 aims to contribute.  We set out to give an overview of principles of causal inference and causal effect estimation,  emphasizing logic and intuition.  We develop the approach from carefully  specifying the causal question in context, over making assumptions explicit in the subject matter causal framework, to constructing the various estimators. We describe classes of estimators under both the no unmeasured confounding and instrumental variable [7,8] assumptions.

Given a sufficient set of confounders [9], a balanced comparison of treatment groups can be achieved by adjusting for them directly through stratification, matching,  regression modeling or inverse probability weighting, or indirectly by conditioning on the treatment propensity score.  One then averages these conditional outcomes per treatment over well selected covariate distributions, representing the target population which may or may not coincide  with the study population, or (un)treated subpopulations. This leads to estimators of corresponding estimands, most relevant to inform specific policy questions. We plead for explicit reporting  in published reports of which estimand is envisaged and estimated for what population mix or subset.

To facilitate comprehension and enable comparison of advantages and disadvantages of various estimators, we developed a `simulation learner’. This simulation tool is built on an existing data structure, but generates,  in addition to the `observed’ data,  potential outcomes under a range of possible exposures or treatments for the same observation units.  The simulated dataset as well as the R-code that generated it can be found on the TG7 website The website also includes slides,  practicals and solutions with code (R, Stata, SAS) from courses we taught on the topic. The material from the courses is currently being written as a tutorial paper.

TG7 recently  welcomed two new members: Vanessa Didelez (Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS and University of Bremen) and Martin Wolkewitz (Institute of Medical Biometry and Statistics, Division Methods in Clinical Epidemiology, University of Freiburg).  The TG also have two afiliated members: Niels Keiding (Section of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen) and Michael Wallace (Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Waterloo).

We aim to continue our work on the initial guidance of point exposures to extensions for longitudinal data and dynamic treatments [10, 11]. Projects related to more specialized areas are also in a planning phase.  Practical application of the principled causal inference methods will be confronted with all the usual complications of variable selection, missing data, survival type outcomes, measurement error, high dimensional data and more.  We are therefore looking forward to interacting with our colleagues from these topic groups to further guidance and methods development in this area.


[1] Pearl, J. Causality. (2009). Cambridge university press.

[2] Hernán M.A., Robins JM (2018). Causal Inference. Boca Raton: Chapman & Hall/CRC, forthcoming.

[3] Rubin D.B.(1974). Estimating Causal Effects of Treatments in Randomized and Nonrandomized Studies. Journal of Educational Psychology. 66:688 – 701

[4] Goetghebeur, E., De Stavola, B., Moodie, E. Waernbaum, I. and le Cessie, S. (2016). “The Statistics of Tragedy” or “the Tragedy of Statistics”? . Letter to Significance, p.46, February 2016.

[5] Bang, H. and Robins, J.M.(2005). Doubly robust estimation in missing data and causal inference models. Biometrics 61: 962-973.

[6] Austin, P.C., and Stuart, E.A.  (2015). Moving towards best practice when using inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) using the propensity score to estimate causal treatment effects in observational studies. Statistics in Medicine 34: 3661-3679.

[7] Vansteelandt, S. and Goetghebeur E.  (2003). Causal inference with generalized structural mean models. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B, 65: 817 – 835.

[8] Boef, A., le Cessie, S., Dekkers, O. et al. (2016). Physician’s prescribing preference as an instrumental Variable. Epidemiology, 27: 276–283.

[9] de Luna, X., Waernbaum, I. and Richardson, T.S. (2011). Covariate selection for the non-parametric estimation of an average treatment effect. Biometrika 98:861-875.

[10] Chakraborty, B. and Moodie, E.E. (2013). Statistical methods for dynamic treatment regimes. New York: Springer.

[11] Daniel, R.,  Cousens, S.,  De Stavola, B., Kenward, M. and Sterne, J. (2013). Methods for dealing with time-dependent confounding. Statistics in Medicine 32: 1584-1618.

Mathemtical Riddle

The Solution (in integers) to the last issue’s Mathematical Riddle is:

The seven individuals who answered correctly were:

David Baird (VSN (NZ) Limited New Zealand)
Cole Tim (Population Policy and Practice Program London, UK)
Ron Mowers (Retired from Syngenta (Seed/AG company)
Van Burgel (Western Australian Government Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Albany)
Naoki Ishizuka (Cancer Institute Hospital Japanese Foundation Cancer research, Japan)
Chen Michael (Marvel Company, Israel)
Josef Levi (Clalit Research Unit, Israel)

Region News

Australasian Region (AR)

IBS-AR President

At the region’s biennial general meeting in November 2017, Alan Walsh (Australian National University) was elected as President for 2019-2020. Over the past year, Alan has served on the regional council as President-Elect, supporting our current President, Samuel Mueller (University of Sydney). In the New Year Alan begins his Presidential term and Samuel his one-year term as Past President. Reflecting on his time as President, Samuel writes:

“I had the privilege to serve the Australasian Region as their president for two years and aimed to improve the standing and recognition of women in the region, to increase the attractiveness of the society to mid-career researchers and to increase the value of the society for early career professionals. The regional biometrics conference in Kingscliff (Queensland, Australia) in November 2017 stands out for me as it partly delivered on all three main aims. For example, it had an all-female keynote speaker line-up of six outstanding researchers who inspired the many young and the little less young biometricians who attended. There is tremendous room to further and continually increase the standing of women, in my perception there is still a gap and if we are not careful as a community, this gap will not become narrower. Being the president of the region was easy because of strong support received from the regional council members and many additional members who willingly put their hands up for various help needed. My sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the many smaller and larger initiatives.”

Samuel Mueller, President of the Australasian Region (2017-2018).

The International Biometric Society Australasian Region Conference, 2-6th December 2019, Adelaide, South Australia

This is the first announcement of the meeting of the Australasian Region in the first week of December 2019. The conference will take place in the National Wine Centre of Australia ( located in the centre of Adelaide, South Australia, next to their lovely Botanic Garden. The organising committee is led by the President-Elect Prof Alan Welsh.  Dr Petra Kuhnert is chairing the scientific committee, and Dr Olena Kravchuk is the chair of the local organising committee. All enquires, and suggestions are to be directed at More information will be made available soon on the regional website, and the conference website

Vanessa Cave

Belgian Region (RBe)

Summer School on Advanced Bayesian Methods

The Interuniversity Institute for Biostatistics and statistical Bioinformatics organized with the Belgian branch of the Biometric Society, the International Society for Bayesian Analysis and the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics the second Summer School on Advanced Bayesian Methods. During one week, two courses were taught in Leuven (Belgium). A three day course was given by Dr. Mike Daniels (University of Florida, US) on Bayesian parametric and nonparametric methods for missing data and causal inferences. Then, a two day course was given by Dr. Gianluca Baio (University College London, UK) on Bayesian methods in Health Economics. These two courses attracted 40 participants all over the world.

Participants to the Bayesian Clinical Trials workshop with Dr. Mik Daniels (right) and Dr. Emmanuel Lesaffre (middle)

Prize winners Marion Lowel (left) and Johan Verbeeck (right)

Next edition will also be held in Leuven. For more information, see

Sophie Vanvelle

Brazilian Region (RBRAS)

From October 15 to 19, 2018, Andreas Ziegler visited the Statistics Department of Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA), Lavras, Brazil. He taught the courses “Winning the Publications Game: The Clever Way of Writing and Publishing” and “An Intuitive Approach to Machine Learning: Boosting, Nearest Neighbors, Random Forests and Support Vector Machines” for professors and students of the institution. In addition to the technical inputs, Andreas Ziegler shared his experiences, gave feedback and important suggestions to our group. The organizers thank RBras and UFLA for their support during the visit.

Andreas Ziegler holds a Ph.D. in Statistics and is board certified trial biostatistician and epidemiologist. He was president of the German Region of the International Biometric Society and the International Genetic Epidemiology Society and the International Genetic Epidemiology Society. He is member of the Executive Board of the International Biometric Society.

Andreas Ziegler and the participants of the two-day course on scientific writing

Andreas Ziegler and the participants of the course on Machine Learning

Andreas Ziegler and the participants of the one-day course on scientific writing

On November 12-16, 2018 the IV Workshop on “Longitudinal and Incomplete data” took place at the Departament of Exact Sciences of the Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz,  University of São Paulo ESALQ/USP, Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil.  About 40 phd students and researches participated in this workshop. The invited keynote speaker was Professor Geert Molenberghs (I-BioStat, UHasselt & K.U.Leuven). The workshop was organized by the Professor Clarice Garcia Borges Demétrio  (ESALQ/USP)..

Geert Molenberghs and the participants of the IV Workshop on “Longitudinal and Incomplete data”

Izabela R. Cardoso de Oliveira


29 July – 2 August 2019

64ª Annual meeting of the Brazilian Region of the International Biometric Society.

Center of events Pantanal

Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil.

The Brazilian Region of the International Biometrical society (RBRAS) invite the members of the society to the  64ª Annual meeting of the Brazilian Region of the International Biometrical Society and 18º Symposium on Statistical Applied to the crop sciences to be held in the center of events Pantanal July, 29 – August, 2, 2019, Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil. For more information,

Channel Network (CN)

7th Channel Network Conference
10th – 12th July 2019
Rothamsted Research, UK

Organised by the Belgian, French, British and Irish, and Netherlands Regions of the International Biometric Society

This biennial conference aims at gathering statisticians, from North-west Europe and beyond, to discuss the newest statistical methodology for applications to biological and biomedical data.  It is a 3-day conference including short courses, invited and contributed sessions.

In 2019 the 7th conference in the series will be hosted by the British and Irish Region at Rothamsted Research, the world’s oldest agricultural research institute, as part of the celebrations of the first 100 years of statistical research and application at the institute.

We are proud to announce that Per Kragh Andersen (University of Copenhagen) will be the Opening Keynote Speaker, on survival/event history analysis.

The conference will also include three Invited Sessions on:

  • Intensive Longitudinal Data
  • Post-selection Inference in Regression
  • Complex Survival Data

2019 marks the centenary of R.A. Fisher’s appointment as the first statistician at Rothamsted, and to celebrate this, the final day of the conference will include the 39th Fisher Memorial Lecture, to be given by Brian Cullis and Alison Smith (University of Wollongong, Australia), and a Special Session on “The Past, Present and Future of Agricultural Statistics”.

Three half-day short-courses will precede the conference on Wednesday 10th July:

  • Extended mixed effects regression modelling (Michael Crowther)
  • Investigating spatial heterogeneity with geographically weighted models (Paul Harris & Chris Brunsdon
  • Design of multifactor experiments in biological research (Steven Gilmour)

The call for contributed abstracts, for both oral and poster presentations, is now open, through the online system at As for all IBS conferences, abstracts are welcome across the wide range of biological and biomedical application areas pursued by society members and associated with the diverse array of methodological topics required to address the challenges that these application areas bring, and not just associated with the invited programme topics.  A list of common topics is provided within the online abstract submission system.

The deadline for abstract submission is 15th March 2019, and contributors will be notified in early May, with Early Bird Registration closing on 31st May.

We look forward to seeing you at Rothamsted for this exciting conference next July.

Andrew Mead

(Chair, Local Organising Committee / Head of Statistics, Rothamsted Research)

Hélène Jacqmin-Gadda

(Chair, Scientific Programme Committee / Bordeaux Population Health Inserm Research Center)

Eastern North American Region (ENAR)

ENAR Officers

ENAR is pleased to announce the election of the President-Elect Michael Daniels and Secretary Brisa Sanchez who will join the incoming President Sarah Ratcliffe, Past President Jeffrey S. Morris, and Treasurer Reneé Moore. ENAR also congratulates newly elected Regional Committee (RECOM) members Lynn Eberly, Alisa Stephens-Shields, and Peter Song. The ENAR membership expresses heartfelt appreciation to all candidates. We are fortunate to have many outstanding members willing to commit time and energy to serve the profession and organization.

2019 ENAR Spring Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, USA 

The 2019 Spring Meeting of the IBS Eastern North American Region, in conjunction with the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) and sections of the American Statistical Association (ASA), will be held 24-27 March at the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown. Located in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, this luxury hotel is close to many of the city’s attractions, including the National Constitution Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the famous Rocky Steps, and Independence Hall. It is also within walking distance of Reading Terminal Market for some outstanding local eateries.

The scientific program will once again be phenomenal with a wide variety of topics, including wearable technology, microbiome analysis, data integration, causal inference with interference, variable selection, joint modeling and risk prediction, functional data analysis, and precision medicine.   The program will also feature a memorial session in honor of Doug Altman. The Presidential Invited Speaker will be Francesca Dominici, Clarence James Gamble Professor of Biostatistics, Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In her talk, entitled “A Particulate Solution: Data Science in the Fight to Stop Air Pollution and Climate Change” Dr. Dominici will discuss her fascinating work on estimating the effects of air pollution utilizing data secured through satellite-based measurements and addressing challenges such as amplification of unmeasured confounding bias.

Dr. Dominici is well known for her methodological contributions to the analysis of large and complex data in studies of environmental health. She serves as the Associate Dean of Information Technology and the co-Director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative. She is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and a recipient of numerous awards, including the 2016 Janet L. Norwood Award, 2015 Florence Nightingale David Award, 2009 Diversity Recognition Award from Johns Hopkins University, and the 2007 Gertrude Cox Award.

A complete listing of the many invited sessions to be presented at the meeting can be found at In addition, the program will feature both full and half-day short courses: “Bayesian Inference and Clinical Trial Designs Using Historical Data” (Ming-Hui Chen and Fang Chen); “Big Data, Data Science and Deep Learning for Statistician” (Hui Lin and Ming Li); “Analysis of Medical Cost Data: Statistical and Econometric Tools” (Lei Liu and Tina Shih); “StatTag for Connecting R, SAS, and Stata to Word: A Practical Approach to Reproducibility” (Abigail Baldridge and Luke Rasmussen); “Personalized Medicine: Subgroup Identification in Clinical Trials” (Ilya Lipkovich and Alex Dmitrienko); “Design of Matched Studies with Improved Internal and External Validity” (José Zubizarreta); and “Smart Simulations with SAS and R” (Mehmet Kocak).

Several tutorials will once again be offered, running concurrently with the scientific sessions thanks to the work of the Education Advisory Committee (Ofer Harel, Zhen Chen, Guofen Yan, and Devan Mehrotra). The topics range from multiple imputation to data visualization with ggplot2 to analysis of patient reported outcomes. Additionally, roundtables will allow an opportunity to interact with experts and peers in a less formal setting. The roundtables offer a variety of topics, both professional development and statistical, including time management, grant writing, and challenges of administrative health data.  Round tables are a great opportunity to interact with some of the outstanding ENAR leaders!

ENAR 2019 will feature two pre-conference workshops, the Junior Researchers Workshop and Fostering Diversity in Biostatistics. The Junior Researchers Workshop, organized by Howard Cheung, Betsy Ogburn, Jessica Franklin, David Vock, and Chris Slaughter will take place Friday, March 22- Saturday March 23, and Fostering Diversity in Biostatistics, chaired by Portia Exum and Felicia Simpson, will be held on the afternoon of Sunday March 24.  Sunday evening will feature the new member reception, opening mixer and poster session, during which the ENAR Regional Advisory Board poster competition will be held. The Council for Emerging and New Statisticians will hold a student mixer on Monday evening, and the Career Placement Center will take place throughout the meeting to offer assistance to those seeking employment.

Special thanks to those who are working hard to help plan the ENAR Spring Meeting. Program Chair Pamela Shaw ( and Associate Program Chair  Michael P. Fay ( led a tremendous effort in crafting the scientific program, and the Local Arrangements Chair, Nandita Mitra has identified interesting adventures in Philadelphia to keep you busy during your meeting downtime.  ENAR is also grateful to the IMS Program Chair Vladimir Minin (UC Irvine), the Digital Program Coordinator Alessandra Valcarcel (University of Pennsylvania) for their efforts.

2019 JSM Denver, Colorado, USA 

The 2019 Joint Statistical Meetings will be held in Denver, Colorado from 27 July – 1 August 2019, and ENAR is fortunate to have Michael Rosenblum be our representative to the Program Committee. Questions should be directed to Michael at

2020 ENAR Spring Meeting, Nashville, TN, USA  

Stay tuned for information about the 2020 ENAR Spring Meeting in Nashville, TN!

ENAR Webinar Series  

Details about upcoming ENAR webinars can be found at: Please contact Michael Hudgens ( if you have suggestions for webinar topics.

German Region (DR)

Annual Workshop “Adaptive Designs and Multiple Testing Procedures” October 4th – 5th 2018 in Bremen (Germany)

The University Bremen was hosting the annual Workshop of the joint working group on “Adaptive Designs and Multiple Testing Procedures” of the German and Austro-Swiss Regions of the International Biometric Society (IBS). There were more than 70 participants and the scientific program was exciting and of high quality. One of the highlights was the session in honour of Willi Maurer with talks of Frank Bretz, Ekkehard Glimm, Gerhard Hommel and Martin Posch.

Werner Brannath, Thorsten Dickhaus (Local organizers) and Florian Klinglmüller (Working group chair)

Werner Brannath, Frank Bretz, Martin Posch, Ekkehard Glimm and Gerhard Hommel (from left to right)

Summer School 2018 “Monte Carlo Simulations in Methodological Research and Study Planning” (in German)

From 21 to 24 September 2018, the summer school on “Monte Carlo simulations in methodological research and study planning” took place in the Baltic resort of Zinnowitz on the beautiful island of Usedom in the Baltic Sea. The approx. 30 participants and three lecturers were accommodated in the Casa Familia domicile where nothing was lacking. Especially the all-day and full child care made it possible for families to take part in the summer school. The location near the beach even made it possible to go swimming in the morning, which some participants did thanks to the warm late summer.

The summer school offered a wide range of activities. In particular, the broad knowledge of the lecturers made the summer school an asset to all participants. On the theoretical mathematical side by Geraldine Rauch, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and by Ann-Kathrin Ozga, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf shone; on the practical, applied side by Jochen Kruppa, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The well-balanced mixture made it possible to look behind the methodology of the Monte Carlo simulation and at the same time to apply the methodologies in R practically. Thus, it was also possible for the lecturers to learn from each other.

At the same time the annual Seebrückenfest took place in Zinnowitz. Therefore, it was possible – besides long walks on the beach to recover the exhausted head – also to visit a small fair. In the evening, cover bands of different artists appeared at the stand – besides interesting brass music – according to the mean value of the age of the present audience. The inclined reader may stumble here, yes the median would be a better measure here, since the group of summer students was much younger. The famous conclusion of the Seebrückenfest was an impressive fireworks display, which one would not have expected in this quality. All in all, the Seebrückenfest was a nice addition to the summer school program.

The summer school was fully booked and a repetition of the summer school in Berlin from 4 to 5 April 2019 in Berlin is planned with sufficient demand. Please register at

Jochen Kruppa

Nonparametrics workshop in Ulm

From 17.-18. Septermber 2018 the workshop of the working group Nonparametric Methods on “Inference for multivariate and high-dimensional data” took place at the University of Ulm. It was organized together with Prof. Arne Bathke (Salzburg). The invited speakers included Dennis Dobler (Amsterdam), Roland Fried (Dortmund), Leonhard Held (Zurich), Hans-Peter Piepho (Hohenheim), Ansgar Steland (Aachen) and Stefan van Aelst (Leuven). We hereby sincerely thank all speakers and participants. Additional thanks go to the Springer Verlag (and there especially to Eva Hiripi), who has provided book prices for the best student speakers. Due to the very high level of all talks, the price committee discussed for a long time and awarded a total of 5 prizes. These were given (in alphabetical order) to Lubna Amro, Johannes Bracher, Martin Happ, Paavo Sattler, and Georg Zimmermann.

Markus Pauly (Uni. Ulm)

Meetings – 2019

24-25 January 2019
Predictive Modelling and Supervised Learning (Course of the Working Group “Weiterbildung”)
Berlin, Germany

21-22 February 2019
Workshop of the Working Group “Populationsgenetik und Genomanalyse”
Lübeck, Germany

18-22 March 2019
DAGStat Conference 2019
Munich, Germany

20-22 May 2019
Summer School on “Advanced Methods for Sample Size Calculation and Recalculation”
Lambrecht, Germany

27-28 June 2019
Summer conference of the working group “Landwirtschaftliches Versuchswesen” Gatersleben, Germany


6-11 September 2020
Berlin, Germany

Japanese Region (JR)

The 2018 Japanese Joint Statistical Meeting

The Japanese Joint Statistical Meeting was held on September 9th to 13th at Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan. It was hosted by Japanese Federation of Statistical Science Association, which consists of six sponsoring organizations, including the Biometric Society of Japan (BSJ). As an invited session, the BSJ organized the Biometric Symposium entitled “Toward efficient collaboration between biostatisticians and mathematical/data-science researchers”. The objective of the session was to look for potentials of future collaboration between biostatisticians and researches in different fields. The society invited four speakers, whose specialties ranged from mathematical statistics, machine leaning, and social science. Prof. Matsui (Nagoya University), who chaired the session jointly with Prof. Yanamaka (Yokohama City University), opened the session by outlining the current status of biometrics research and explaining the objective of the session. Prof. Aoshima (Tsukuba University) delivered his presentation on his recent development of non-sparse high-dimensional statistical inference theory motivated by omics data analysis. Prof. Ninomiya (Institute of Statistical Mathematics) presented his recent research on model selection methods in causal inference and multiple testing. Prof. Takeuchi (Nagoya Institute of Technology) discussed statistical inference after model selection (selective inference). Their researches were mainly motivated by mathematical statistical view points and they all emphasized importance of collaboration with biostatisticians to make their methodological researches more practical and more useful. Prof. Hoshino (Keio University) reviewed recent advances of statistical methods in social science and econometrics including his own research, emphasizing similarity or overlap with methods developed in biostatistics and importance of exchanging ideas among social science, econometrics, and biostatistics.

The society organized one more invited session to provide the winners of the Young Biostatisticians Award to present their own researches. This award is annually conferred by the BSJ for researches, who are less than 40 years old and publishes their research of high standard in recent issues of Biometrics or JABES or Japanese Journal of Biometrics (JBS, the official journal of the BSJ). Dr. Komukai (Osaka University) presented his recent work on doubly robust-type inference procedure in cancer registry data published in Biometrics and Dr. Doi (Kyoto University) overviewed a series of his recent work including a paper in a recent issue of JBS to examine relationship between Bayesian inference and frequentist inference in statistical testing problems arising in medical researches.

Lectures and organizers of the 2018 Biometric Symposium; Professors Aoshima, Matsui, Yamanaka, Takeuchi, Ninomiya and Hoshino (from left to right)

The Biometric Seminar

The Biometric Seminar is being organized by the BSJ jointly with the Support Program for Biostatisticians by Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) and will be held on 7-8 December 2018 at Campus Plaza Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan. The theme to be discussed is entitled “Building and evaluating prediction models for time-to-event outcomes”. Lectures cover topics important in prediction model construction including an introductory lecture on the TRIPOD guideline, several important measures and methods for evaluation of time-to-event modeling such as NRI, IDI and C-index, and related practical issues.

Satoshi Hattor


7-8 December
The Biometric Seminar
Campus Plaza Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan

Netherlands Region (BMS/ANed)

We are glad to announce that at our June meeting Mark van de Wiel was elected as new president of BMS/ANed, succeeding Ernst Wit. Mark is eager to contribute to this active organization and promote the importance of statistics in the life sciences. While endorsing the current meetings, he also wishes to further stimulate interaction with emerging, related disciplines, such as computational biology and data science.

While Ernst has officially stepped down as president, he will stay involved for a few months to ease the transition. Nonetheless, we express our sincere gratitude towards Ernst for his dedicated presidency and hope that he will stay active in our society! We wish him the best of luck in all his new endeavours.

Conference Logo: Biostatistical Challenges in R&D

Wageningen University Research – Forum Building

Thanks to the Speakers who presented during the November Meeting

On this cold and dark Friday afternoon, we were lucky to listen to a diversity of interesting topics. Floor van Oudenhoven started with “Challenges in RCTs solved with joint models?”, followed by Pieta Ijzerman-Boon, who told us about both statistical and regulatory challenges in the validation of rapid microbiological methods. Gonnie van Osta got the public involved with her presentation on the challenges of validation of a pharmaceutical heart beat device, resulting in hours of measurements with 4 measurements per second, “Conflicting regulators, upbeat developers and big data: How to bring them together?”. After the break Hans Bogaards gave an overview of a field that was at least for me rather new, “Unraveling microbial ecosystems to direct prophylactic and probiotic interventions”. Last but not least was Fred van Eeuwijk, “Statistical genetics in plants: Finding an equilibrium between academic and commercial interests”, where he explained the cooperation model of the WUR statistical group Biometris, one of the largest quantitative groups in North Western Europe, with commercial parties and how this could result in new statistical methods. He ended with some Dutch wisdom from our famous football player Johan Cruijff. In theory, the theory is complicated and the practice is simple, but in practice the practice is complicated and the theory is simple. This was a good start for the last part of the afternoon: the drinks, with a beautiful view on the skyline of the WUR.

Both the very interesting topics and lively discussions during the scientific part of the meeting, and the drinks afterwards show that the joint meeting of BMS-ANed and the PSDM was very successful!

Polish Region (GPol)

Year 2018 was extremely important for the group of Polish biometricians. First of all, our famous Professor, Multi Doctor Honoris Causa, Tadeusz Caliński, emeritus professor of Department of Mathematical and Statistical Methods of Poznan University of Life Sciences was celebrating his 90th Birthday. His contribution to the creation and creative activity of the Polish Biometric Society and the International Biometric Society cannot be overestimated. In honor of Professor Tadeusz Caliński, two international conferences were organized, namely, the International Conference on Trends and Perspectives in Linear Statistical Inference LinStat’2018 and 48th International Biometrical Colloquium. The first one was held on 20-24 August in Będlewo near Poznań. Professor Katarzyna Filipiak from Poznan University of Technology was the chairman of the organizing committee. Conference was attended by 102 participants (40 from Poland and 62 from other 21 countries). The invited lectures were excellently presented by professors: Rosemary A. Bailey (UK), Narayanaswamy Balakrishnan (Canada), Thomas Mathew (USA), Friedrich Pukelsheim (Germany), Gavin Ross (UK), Rob Verdooren (The Netherlands) and Tomasz Rychlik (Poland). Moreover, 11 special sessions on broad spectrum of statistical problems were also organized. On the special session titled “T. Caliński’s Birthday Session”, under the chair of Anthony C. Atkinson (UK), two speakers: L. R. Verdooren and T. Caliński made exiting speeches. After a general discussion, comments and memories were also presented. A huge surprise was the awarding of a diploma for the most frequently quoted article of Professor Caliński: “A dendrite method for cluster analysis” published in Communications in Statistics-Theory and Methods, 3(1), 1-27 (1974). This diploma was given personally by Prof. N. Balakrishnan, Editor-in-Chief of Communications in Statistics.

On 9-13 September, in Honor of the 90th Birthday of Professor Tadeusz Caliński, the 48th International Biometrical Colloquium was organized in Szamotuły. 58 biometricians from 7 countries attended this conference. Professor Maria Kozłowska from Poznań University of Life Sciences was the chairman of the organizing committee. Seven oral sessions with 20 presentations, and one poster session with 18 posters were presented. The main celebration in Honor of Professor Caliński took place at Poznań University of Science. Lecture in honor of Professor Caliński was presented by Prof. Stanisław Mejza. The ceremony was graced by a performance by Piotr Szychowski, the Polish young pianist, who wonderfully played Chopin’s favourite compositions. Prof. Caliński received many warm wishes and congratulations from delegations represented various departments in Poland.

Professor Tadeusz Caliński with his wife Maria

During this conference we had also an opportunity to celebrate the 70th Birthday of Professor Stanisław Mejza, a long-term president of the Polish Biometric Society (since 1989 to present). One session was devoted to his international scientific cooperation and was presented by himself. After this session containing many congratulations, the wonderful dinner with the orchestra held. We had a good occasion to make interpersonal connections, dancing and eating the special cake made on this occasion. I would to express our great thanks to the organizers of the 48th International Biometrical Colloquium for a lot of work and professionalism.

Zofia Hanusz

Spanish Region (REsp)

In the Spanish region of the IBS we are organizing our XVII Regional Conference, which as every two editions will be held together with the VII Ibero-American biometric meeting. This joint meeting is being organized together with the Argentine, Central-American and Caribbean, Chilean and Equatorial regions.

The conference will be held in the beautiful city of València, in the east coast of Spain from the 19th to the 21st of June 2019. On the 18th, Virgilio Gomez Rubio (University of Castilla-La Mancha) will teach a six-hour course under the title: “Scientific and Reproducible R Programming”

We are planning a great agenda with interesting sessions covering most of the nowadays spotlight topics. We have the confirmed assistance of three great invited speakers: Adrian Bowman (University of Glasgow), Michela Cameletti (Università di Bergamo) and Klaus Langohr (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya).

The spoken language at the conferences will be either English or Spanish (at the authors’ will) but the abstracts and slides will always be in English and so we encourage all IBC members to take the opportunity to attend the conference and enjoy the city.

More information is available at our web page: and at our e-mail

Western North American Region (WNAR)

2019 WNAR Election Results

Congratulations to WNAR President-Elect Ying Lu from Stanford University, Treasurer-Elect Brandie Wagner from University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Treasurer Mary Redman from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Program Coordinator Dongseok Choi from Oregon Health Sciences University, and Regional Committee Representative Katie Kerr from University of Washington.

Special thanks go out to outgoing WNAR Past-President Sarah Emerson and outgoing Regional Committee Representative Xioaming Sheng 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.

2019 WNAR/IMS meeting

The 2019 WNAR/IMS meeting will be in Portland, Oregon from June 23-26 hosted by Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Portland, Oregon’s largest city, is known for eco-friendliness with high walkability, parks, bridges and bicycle paths. It sits on the Willamette and Columbia rivers with a view of snow-capped Mount Hood. The local organizer is Byung Park (, and the program chair is Meike Niederhausen (  Details about the meeting will be posted on the WNAR web page as they become available. Following the WNAR/IMS meeting, there will be a satellite conference, Pacific Rim Cancer Biostatistics Conference, from June 27-28. Please contact Tomi Mori ( for questions relating to the Pacific Rim Cancer Biostatistics Conference.

2019 WNAR Student Paper Competition

WNAR sponsors students who enter the student paper competition. All WNAR-region 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 2018 WNAR Student Paper Competition, registration information, and program details for the meeting will be posted as they become available: We look forward to seeing you there.

Megan Othus


Regional and Network IBS Meetings in 2019

Calling all Regions: The IBS Travel Awards Committee needs your help.

In 2019, the IBS is hoping to implement procedures to involve Regions more directly in the non-IBC-year travel awards program which brings members from developing countries (DC) to Regional or Network IBS meetings.

This program got off to a great start in 2015, funding 10 members from 10 countries to 6 different meetings in Europe, Africa, and Asia. In 2017, we did even better with 15 awards to members from 9 different countries to attend 8 different meetings. However, often the Regions were only very belatedly made aware of these members participating in their meetings.

Closer involvement of Regions would provide opportunities to establish longer-term connections that would benefit both awardees and Regions. We envisage a process in which applicants apply jointly to the Awards Fund Committee through IBO and to the hosting Region/Network.

First, we need information on your meetings! Please, if not already provided, submit dates and locations to the IBS meetings calendar as soon as possible.

Second, we welcome your input on how this might work for your Regional meetings.

Is your Region/Network interested in helping to bring DC members to your meetings?

  • Would you be willing to waive registration for DC travel fund awardees to your meeting?
  • Would you be able/willing to give additional support (e.g. local accommodation) for DC travel fund awardees to your meeting?
  • If so, for how many could/would you provide support?

Any other constraints/criteria? For example:

  • Would you have a particular focus for funding awardees – for example, some Regions/Networks contain DC countries within them.
  • To what extent would you with to be involved in the selection of travel awardees to your meetings.

Exactly how the process would work is still tentative, and 2019 will undoubtedly be a transition year, but together we hope to make possible continuing success and expansion of this important IBS program.

It is important to note that the IBS Awards Funds Committee handles only travel awards and is not in position to support the regions with funds to support organization of meetings.

Dan Kajungu, Chair, IBS Awards Funds Committee

Elizabeth Thompson, Outgoing President, IBS

IBS Photo Competition

The Communications Committee has launched an exciting activity, namely the IBS Photo Competition. A few of us have been talking about how it would be great to locate some more photos from various IBC meetings, particularly some of the earlier ones. We suspect that many of us, ahem, older folks have some great photos stored away in albums or even boxes in the attic. We invite all our members to scan and email any relevant photos to our Social Media Coordinator Kathy Ruggiero. All those who submit photos will be entered into a raffle and prizes will include book vouchers kindly donated by CRC Press. People who submit multiple photos will have their name entered multiple times, once per photo. To get things started, I include here a picture I found of myself at the 1992 IBC meetings in Hamilton New Zealand. I know I have other photos hidden away somewhere and will keep looking. I’d love to get some photos submitted in the next few weeks, so we can make a fun slide show for the Barcelona meetings. Submitted photos will also be distributed via the various social media channels

IBS Journal Club

The Education Committee of the International Biometric Society (IBS) is excited to announce it will continue to offer the Journal Club discussions in 2019.

The Journal Club is open to all IBS members free of charge. The primary purpose of the Journal Club, apart from presenting worthy papers in a more public setting, is to widen the scope for understanding these papers and to provide a new networking opportunity for IBS members through a regular internet forum. All sessions are recorded and are available on the IBS website here, To access the recordings, you must login to your IBS account.

The Journal Club takes place on a bi-monthly basis. We will announce the 2019 dates and speakers soon!



24-25 January
German Region – Predictive Modelling and Supervised Learning (Course of the Working Group “Weiterbildung”)
Berlin, Germany

21-22 February
German Region – Workshop of the Working Group “Populationsgenetik and Genomanalyse”
Lübeck, Germany

24 – 27 March
ENAR Spring Meeting
Philadelphia, PA, USA

18-22 March
DAGStat Conference 2019)
Munich, Germany

19-21 June
XVII Regional Conference of the Spanish Region of the IBS
València, Spain

23-26 June
2019 WNAR/IMS Meeting
Portland, Oregon

27-28 June
Summer conference of the working group “Landwirtschaftliches Versuchswesen”
Gatersleben, Germany

10-12 July
Channel Network Conference
Rothamsted Research, England

27 July-1 August
2019 JSM Joint Statistical Meetings
Denver, Colorado, USA

29 July – 2 August
64th Annual meeting of the Brazilian Region of the IBS
Center of events Pantanal Cuiabá,
Mato Grosso, Brazil

2-6 December
IBS Australasian Region Conference
Adelaide, South Australia


22-25 March
ENAR Spring Meeting)
Nashville, TN, USA

6-11 September
Berlin, Germany