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ACTRI Biostatistics

The Biostatistics Unit supports the mission of the ACTRI to provide research resources, training, and collaboration opportunities for ACTRI scientists, health care providers, and the community. We assist investigators at every stage of the research process to produce results that are rigorous, meaningful, and easy to communicate. We believe that the biostatistician should play an integral role as collaborator and co-investigator.

The Unit is supported by six full- and part-time statisticians. We have experience in a broad range of research settings, with areas of interest that include clinical trials, longitudinal data, survival analysis, observational studies, and high-dimensional data.

Request ACTRI Biostat Services
Recharge Rates

Statistical Support

The Biostatistics Unit provides statistical support at all research phases. We encourage investigators to collaborate with biostatisticians beginning in the early stages. Areas of support include:

did you know?Study Design and Proposal Writing

  • Specifying and refining the research hypotheses.
  • Choosing the specific aims, primary and secondary outcomes, and appropriate statistical methods.
  • Reviewing the literature regarding relevant statistical methods.
  • Creating randomization assignments.
  • Performing sample size and power calculations.
  • Writing statistical analysis plans for grants and IRB submissions.
  • Responding to reviewer comments.
  • Consultation on appropriate data capture, such as definition of data elements, format and structure of variables, and treatment of missing data.

Statistical Analysis

  • Reviewing data sets for quality and completeness.
  • Statistical software support, particularly for R and SAS.
  • Fitting of statistical models; scientific computing.
  • Interpreting, visualizing, and summarizing results.

Publishing and Communication

  • Generating internal statistical reports.
  • Editing and preparing abstracts and manuscripts for publication.
  • Producing journal-quality tables and graphics.
  • Responding to journal referees.

Getting Assistance

All requests must be submitted using the above "Request ACTRI Services" link. Investigators must become ACTRI members before submitting the requests. Up to four hours of assistance is available to ACTRI members for grant preparation without recharge. After 4 hours, you will be charged the regular hourly rate. All investigators receiving biostatistics assistance during grant preparation are required to include biostatistics costs in the budgets for their grant proposals (a practice that usually strengthens the applications).


Since we usually work on multiple projects at a time, advance notice is strongly encouraged.

  • For grant submissions that do not involve preliminary data analysis, at least one month advance notice is required.
  • For grant submissions involving preliminary data analysis as well as for abstract submissions, at least two months advance notice is required. It is ACTRI policy that a statistical analysis plan be formally approved by our co-investigators before analysis is carried out.

Walk-in Consultation 

(Currently suspended due to campus on site restrictions. Place request for services using link above)

New Walk-in Hours: Free walk-in biostatistics consultation is available for ACTRI members every Wednesday from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. in the Altman ACTRI Building, Second Floor West, Cubicle 2W101 C1 and 2W102 B1, Phone: 858-822-1837. No appointment is necessary; assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Note: these are intended as quick consults (typically within an hour) and sometimes serve educational purposes; they are not part of the finalized Quality Control work we provide that should be included in proposals and publications, etc.


Considerations of co-authorship should be based on intellectual and research contributions, which include design, analysis, and interpretation, regardless of compensation. For more on authorship guidelines, see International Committee of Medical Journal Editors uniform requirements for manuscripts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can receive support?
ACTRI membership is required in order to receive support. Please visit the membership page and apply for membership before requesting support. Investigators whose membership is pending may request support.

What happens after I submit my request for assistance? How long will it take to receive a response?
Your request will be reviewed, and a first response will be made within two work days after it has reached our Biostatistics Unit. In the (likely) event that we have a project queue, the length of the queue typically depends on recent and current demands; the queuing time can be anywhere from a few days to several weeks. You will be informed of the specific queuing situation (if any) in our first response. When your project reaches the front of the queue, you will be contacted to arrange a face-to-face meeting. We recommend making a request as early as possible to ensure your deadlines are met (see the Timelines section above).

What will happen at the initial meeting?
The first meeting typically involves a supervising statistician, as well as one or more staff statisticians assigned to the project, and lasts no more than one hour. During the meeting, the background and research aims are discussed, and the goals of the project are outlined. Specific work items to be produced by the statistician are established (e.g., a power calculation or statistical analysis plan), including a timeline for delivery.

How will the project proceed?
After the initial meeting, the statistician will work to execute the planned objectives. Most projects will include a report detailing the results. For small projects, an analysis plan or analysis report may be sent to the investigator after the meeting; larger projects may involve multiple meetings or other communication as the investigator and statistician work together.

My deadline is this Friday, what should I do?
We are often engaged in multiple projects and generally are unable to accommodate last-minute requests. As a last resort, you may consider the weekly walk-in consultations; see above for details.

Other Resources

ACTRI Biostatistics Team

Karen Messer, PhD

Karen Messer, PhD
Biostatistics Director

Xin Tu, PhD

Xin Tu, PhD
Professor of Biostatistics

Ronghui (Lily) Xu, PhD

Ronghui (Lily) Xu, PhD
Professor of Biostatistics

Euyhyun Lee, MS

Euyhyun Lee, MS

Wesley Thompson

Wesley Thompson
Professor of Biostatistics

Hyeri You, MAS

Hyeri You, MAS

Tuo Lin, MS

Tuo Lin, MS

Xinlian Zhang

Xinlian Zhang
Assistant Professor of Statistics