Biostatistician scores trifecta with Forbes' listing

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Biostatistician scores trifecta with Forbes' listing

Daniela Witten ID'd in third consecutive '30 Under 30' grouping of U.S. innovators
Monica Feliu-Mojer

Daniela Witten, assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, has been named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list for the third year in a row. The Forbes list recognizes influential people in 15 categories, including Education, Social Entrepreneurship and Music, among others.  In 2013 and 2012, Witten was recognized in the Science and Health category.  In 2011 she was recognized in Science and Innovation. 
Witten’s research focuses on statistical machine learning to analyze large-scale data sets (aka “big data”).  New technologies have made it possible to obtain massive amounts of biological data (such as DNA sequence data) from tissue samples or from individual cells. Researchers hope to use this data to improve healthcare, by predicting an individual patient's disease risk or by determining what treatment is best for a particular patient. In order to make this customized healthcare a reality, new and improved statistical methods to analyze the data are needed. Witten’s research focuses on developing those methods.
"Statistical learning refers to a set of tools for modeling and understanding large and complex data sets. It is a recently developed area in statistics and blends with parallel developments in computer science,” Witten said.
She added that with the explosion of “big data” problems, improved statistical methods and people with statistical learning skills are needed to answer some of today’s most pressing challenges, from science to business and finance.
Witten hopes that this recognition serves a greater purpose. “I am optimistic that as the broader scientific and non-scientific communities become more aware of the challenges and opportunities of big data, we will see more recognition of statisticians in the popular media. It's a great time to be a statistician!” 

The UW School of Public Health fosters healthy people in sustainable communities – locally, nationally, and globally. It is dedicated to education to prepare outstanding, innovative, and diverse public health leaders and scientists; research to advance public health science and policies, and service to promote the health and well-being of communities.

Contact: Monica Feliu-Mojer, outreach manager for the Dept. of Biostatistics, UW School of Public Health, 206-543-5912;