Building a Bridge to Better Health with Numbers

Jiayi Hou, biostatistician

Jiayi Hou, PhD

CTRI Welcomes New Biostatistician Hou

January 30, 2014 - For new UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) principal biostatistician Jiayi Hou, it's all about the numbers.

Hou joined the Biostatistics team in January after receiving a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Sichuan University in China in 2008 and a PhD in biostatistics from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia, in 2013. Biostatistics, she said, combines her two primary interests – numbers and medical research.

"I wanted to do something with numbers that was practical, and I'm interested in how medical science changes people's lives," said Hou, who grew up accompanying her physician-father to his research lab and learning about diseases and medical research. "Biostatistics is a bridge. It connects the dots between data words and clinical words, and helps translate data signals into easier-to-understand language so that researchers can develop better therapies and people can make better treatment decisions."

Hou has extensive statistical analysis experience in modeling, data analysis, clinical trials, data mining, statistical learning, and experiment design. Prior to coming to CTRI, she was a graduate research assistant at VCU, where she developed statistical methodology to predict and classify ordinal response (e.g., cancer staging, severity of organ dysfunction) using patient-level longitudinal high-dimensionality genomics and health data. Hou also developed software to accurately predict and classify the ordinal category each subject belongs to using large-scale, time-depended and clustered information. Her student PhD dissertation was titled, Regularization Methods for Predicting an Ordinal Response Using Longitudinal High-dimensional Genomic Data. Additional research experience includes stints as a biostatistician and a biostatistician intern at a pharmaceutical company.

Hou is part of the growing Biostatistics team at CTRI. Headed by Ronghui Xu, it also includes a master's level biostatistician and a PhD student, with plans to hire an additional master's level biostatistician.

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Written by Patti Wieser