Lectures and seminars IMM Seminar: An Epidemiologist’s View of Statistics
Prof. James R. Hébert, Sc.D., University of South Carolina
Epidemiology is about determining the cause(s) of diseases and providing inference that can be used for decision-making. As such, it provides an excellent platform for the dance of inductive and deductive reasoning. Statistics are essential in both these domains – i.e., for determining cause (causal inference), information useful for predictive modeling, and a basis to extrapolate beyond results from any particular study (e.g., meta-analysis) that, in turn, can be used for setting dietary goals, defining the research agenda, and for making nutrition policy.
Epidemiology focuses on time and space – however, intrinsic properties of individuals; e.g., genetic differences and phenotypic expression are crucially important in determining disease processes and health status. Nutritional exposures are very complex and the way that epidemiologists typically collect data (i.e., via self-report) adds yet more complexity. Without statistics, we are at a loss to understand this complexity.
So, the wonderful world of nutritional epidemiology has provided many opportunities to explore these issues. Indeed, the journey, which has entailed many statistical diversions, has been as interesting as the destination. In this talk Dr. Hébert will provide examples from his four decades working in the field. The goal is to impart an appreciation of the role of statistics in understanding both the complexity and elegance of biological processes needed to sustain life and our profound ability to control and regulate these processes through our behaviors.
About the speaker:
James R. Hébert, Health Sciences Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology, focuses his research efforts on: 1) the role of diet in cancer and other chronic diseases; 2) the relationship between diet and other important risk factors; and 3) methodologic improvements in both study design and measurement technologies for diet and other risk factors. As Director of University of South Carolina’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Dr. Hébert oversees a large, eclectic research portfolio that addresses a wide array of public health concerns. Though wide-ranging in his interests, the centerpiece of his current research efforts is the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII®), which he invented in 2004. Collaborating with hundreds of scientists in most of the United States and in 54 countries throughout the world, this body of work is now producing one peer-reviewed publication per week and being cited over 50 times per week. Students and former students are involved in all of this work, which imbues the research with an incredible level of energy, enthusiasm and creativity.
Prof. Hébert will be visiting KI for about two weeks starting May 30th, 2022. During his visit, he wishes to meet informally with faculty, researchers and students to discuss possible collaboration. Please forward this message to anyone who might be interested.
The seminar will be held both on location at Karolinska Institutet, as well as on Zoom. There is no need to register.
Host: Unit of Biostatistics, Institute of Environmental Medicine, IMM