That was the title of the session put together by SDSU Professors Rich Levine and Barb Bailey and UCSD Professor Wes Thompson highlighting statistical innovations for studying brain images, genetic data, and cystic fibrosis by Computational Statistics PhD students Kameryn Denaro, Manning Richardson, Kelly Spoon, and Rong Zablocki at the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM).

JSM (the Joint Statistical Meetings) is the largest gathering of statisticians held in North America, on the order of 6,000 statisticians hitting the streets of San Diego on the heels of Comi-Con.  The conference theme this year was “Statistics: Growing to Serve a Data-Dependent Society”, taking place July 28 to August 2, 2012 at the San Diego Convention Center.

SDSU played a major role in organizing the event. Professor Kristin Duncan served as the Chair of Poster Sessions, organizing on the order of 400 posters.  Professor Barbara Bailey organized a pre-conference workshop at SDSU on statistical methods for atmospheric and oceanic sciences.  Professors Barbara Bailey, Jianwei Chen, Joey Lin, Richard Levine, and Enrico Marcelli and graduate student William Hadjuk chaired oral and poster presentation sessions, Drs. Levine and Marcelli organizing sessions on computational innovations for analyzing massive data and estimating unauthorized migration respectively.  Graduate students Jeff Ledahl, Chris Lehnig, and Lucie Nguyen helped the American Statistical Association Biopharamaceutical Section organize the student paper awards at the meetings.

SDSU faculty and students made significant contributions to the meeting content as well.  Professor Richard Levine was awarded a distinguished service award by the ASA for his work as Editor of the Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics.  The meetings featured an invited talk by Professor Barbara Bailey on predicting zooplankton abundance in the Gulf of Maine and a poster by Professor James Lackritz on an analysis of the golf handicap system.

Professor Jianwei Chen and his students Boming Fan, Anna He, and Jane Xu presented a talk and posters on mixed effect modeling of HIV and health care expenditure as well as varying coefficient models in the presence of missing data.

Professor Kristin Duncan presented a talk on assessing reliability of ratings at the SDSU Student Research Symposium.  Professors Joey Lin and Kung-Jong Lui each presented their biostatistics research, on power analysis when faced with covariate-dependent stratification and on ordinal data analysis for crossover designs respectively.

Of course a primary goal of such meetings is to provide networking opportunities, carry forward statstics associations business, and reconnect with long-time friends and colleagues.  The SDSU statisticians played the host, organizing numerous lunches and dinners at favorite local hangouts and BBQs.  The San Diego weather, attractions, and Bay front were the talk of the conference, but SDSU’s presence was noted.  On assessing the meeting, Dr. Mitch Watnik, Professor of Statistics and Chair of the Academic Senate at CSU East Bay noted “Everywhere I turn, I see SDSU and the SDSU footprint on the meetings.”

SDSU Statistics faculty and students at JSM, from left to right: Rong Zablocki, Kelly Spoon, Wes Thompson, Selwyn Au (alumnus), Rich Levine, Max Handy, Manning Richardson, Kameryn Denaro, Barb Bailey, Lucie Nguyen, Jonathan Wilson, Yi Lu (alumna), Anna He