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Nilanjan Chatterjee Receives Prestigious Statistics Award

November 2011 - Linkage Newsletter

by Wendy Schneider-Levinson

In August, Nilanjan Chatterjee, Ph.D., Chief of the Biostatistics Branch (BB), was awarded the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) Presidents' Award at the 2011 Joint Statistical Meetings in Miami Beach, Florida. The award is presented annually to a person under the age of 41 in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession of statistics.
Nilanjan Chatterjee receives the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies Presidents' Award from the organization's President, Xihong Lin

First given in 1979, the COPSS Presidents' Award is generally recognized as the most prestigious award worldwide for early-career statisticians. The award is given by the five sponsoring societies: the American Statistical Association (ASA), Statistical Society of Canada, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the two North American Regions of the International Biometric Society.

Dr. Chatterjee is the first recipient outside of academia in the 32 years that the award has been given. He obtained his Ph.D. in statistics in 1999 from the University of Washington, Seattle. He then joined BB as a postdoctoral fellow and became a tenure-track investigator in 2001, a senior investigator in 2004, and Branch Chief in 2008.

Dr. Chatterjee is well-known for his groundbreaking research into increasing the efficiency of gene-environment and gene-gene interaction studies, assessing the future yield of modern genome-wide association studies (GWAS), and modeling subtype heterogeneity for complex diseases. He has made fundamental contributions to the analysis of case-control studies by developing new paradigms that exploit natural population genetic models for studies of genetic epidemiology. His research is grounded in many modern and classical aspects of statistics, including theory of biased sampling, missing data models, semiparametric inference, survival analysis, and shrinkage estimation techniques. He also collaborates on a variety of epidemiologic studies, including recent GWAS that have contributed to a better understanding of the genetic basis of a variety of cancers. In addition, Dr. Chatterjee has published more than 175 articles, many of which appear in the top-tier journals of both statistics and genetics.

In 2008, he was elected to a fellowship in ASA, and in 2010, he received the Mortimer Spiegelman Award from the Statistics Section of the American Public Health Association. Earlier this year, Dr. Chatterjee received the Gertrude M. Cox Award from RTI International and the Washington Statistical Society for his outstanding scientific contributions as a young statistician. He was also selected to receive the COPSS George W. Snedecor Award, which is presented every two years to a statistician who has made distinguished contributions to the theory of biometry, including outstanding publications within three years of the date of the award.

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