Yujie Zhong, winner of Pierre Robillard Award

YujieWe are very pleased to announce that Investigator Statistician, Yujie Zhong, has been awarded the Pierre Robillard Award by the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC), which recognises the best PhD thesis in probability or statistics defended at a Canadian University.

Yujie’s thesis, entitled “Life History Analysis with Response Dependent Observation”, focused on the analysis of life history data under response-dependent observation schemes, which may arise by design or as a consequence of censoring. A major focus of her work was on the development of innovative methods for the analysis of biased samples routinely collected in family studies aiming to explore the genetic basis for disease. Disease onset times of some participants in such studies are subject to a current status observation scheme and the response-biased selection process yields truncated data. Integration of auxiliary data on the marginal onset time distribution, through use of augmented likelihood and composite likelihood, facilitates more efficient dependence modelling. Through application of her methods to a motivating study, insight has been gained regarding excessive paternal transmission of psoriatic arthritis. Other topics explored in her thesis included the design of cluster-randomized trials based on right- or interval-censored failure time data, the consequences of error in reporting disease onset times in prevalent cohort studies, and multistate analysis of progression and survival times in cancer trials.

Yujie joined the MRC Biostatistics Unit (BSU) in 2015, following completion of her PhD at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Yujie’s current research at BSU is focused on stratified medicine including longitudinal modeling of biomarker processes, risk stratification, prediction and validation, working with Programme Leader, Dr Brian Tom.

The criteria used in selecting the winner of the Pierre Robillard Award include the originality of ideas and techniques, the possible applications and their treatment, and the potential impact of the work. The award itself is named in memory of Professor Pierre Robillard, an outstanding dynamic young statistician at the Université de Montréal, who sadly died in 1975, on the cusp of a highly successful career.

Yujie said: “I am delighted to win the Pierre-Robillard Award and very grateful to the SSC committee for having chosen me. It is a fantastic recognition of my PhD work. With more complex life history data in both observational studies and clinical trials, which may arise by design or as a consequence of censoring, the analyses of correlated failure time data under response-dependent observation schemes become increasingly important.”

Congratulations Yujie!