The “II Congreso de Jóvenes Investigadores en Estadística: Diseño de Experimentos y Bioestadística (JEDE II)” was held in Tenerife (Spain) from the 18th to the 20th of July 2012. The following is a review of the event.
Biostatistics as a discipline of its own is slowly developing in Spain. As such, students in the area find it difficult to interact with each other, to access training on advanced skills and in final instance, to work as biostatisticians.
JEDE II´s initial aim was to provide both knowledge and experience sharing for young researchers in Biostatistics (as it is very well explained in the conference´s program), and we can confirm (this blog is a proof for that!) that it definitely succeeded.
From the invited sessions and the other young researchers´ presentations and posters, a highly motivated young audience was able to learn and discuss about the following topics:
Vicente Núñez and Jesús Fidalgo, two of the 8 main researchers of the National Biostatistics Network Biostatnet , gave a very interesting and encouraging presentation specially aimed to young biostatisticians, providing information both on the network and Biostatistics in general.
Vicente Lustres´s talk also came as a ray of hope for all the researchers attending the conference. The creation of academic spin-offs like Biostatech, whose scientific director is Carmen Cadarso, also main researcher of Biostatnet, appears as one of the alternatives to institutional research that are sure to become an option for many departments in order to survive in the current context of budget cuts in Spanish institutions.
Bayesian Statistics as one of the paradigms of Statistics was also covered in Jede II by Vicente Núñez, Silvia Lladosa and Hèctor Perpiñán. They talked, respectively, about a Bayesian model to solve the overdispersion in Poisson models, Bayesian models to assess the spatial distributions of parasite species, and Bayesian longitudinal models applied to the evolution of pediatric renal transplants.
In the context of clinical Biostatistics, Inmaculada Arostegui´s talk focused on the validation of methods for obtaining optimal cut-off points to categorize continuous predictor variables. Another problem to address in this field is how to handle missing data in clinical studies. Urko Aguirre talked about the performance of different statistical approaches to impute Health Related Quality of Life missing outcomes in longitudinal studies. Also in the broad area of medical Statistics, Isabel Martínez gave an example of the application of smoothed quantile regression in Pediatrics.
Pilar Cacheiro gave us a general overview of the field of statistical Genetics, focusing on statistical methods applied to Next Generation Sequencing data analysis and highlighting the opportunities for biostatisticians in this area of expertise.
In the area of Biology, Anabel Blasco and Altea Lorenzo provided and insight of the application of different statistical techniques in the areas of Botany and marine species reproduction respectively.
Design of Experiments
The subject of design of experiments was widely discussed during the conference. Some speakers presented applications of optimal designs, like Peter Goos in block designs, Juan Rodriguez in spatial designs, Mariano Amo in kinetic processes and Mercedes Fernandez in multifactorial models. Victor Casero talked about experimental design in simultaneous equations and Roberto Dorta presented some optimal factorial designs.
Covering clinical trials, Jesús López-Fidalgo and José Antonio Moler talked about compound designs and optimality, and Arkaitz Galbete explained the use of randomization test in clinical trials. Finally, Licesio Rodriguez gave us a broad perspective on the use of R in design of experiments.
Another important event was the roundtable on Advances in Design of Experiments and Biostatistics which also gave young researchers the chance to discuss and enquire about employment matters in the sector which could be identified as one of the hot topics of JEDE II given the current economic climate.
In conclusion, the conference was in our opinion a fantastic opportunity to get to know other young researchers and their lines of study, as well as giving us the chance to learn from reputed professionals that were kind enough to show interest in our research and gave us an insight in their fields of expertise.
It is only left for us to say…We cannot wait to the JEDE III Conference!!!
(Unfortunately, we can not either fit in here all the presentations of the conference or give more detailed descriptions, so please feel free to comment on your experience!)