With a marked focus on young researchers in particular and health-related Biostatistics in general, this 2nd Biostatnet General Meeting, celebrated in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) the 25th and 26th of January, has been a fantastic opportunity for the Network´s members to gather together and discuss common topics of concern as well as successful stories.
FreshBiostats bloggers participated actively and now want to make our readers witnesses of this stimulating event.
7 of the 8 Biostatnet´s main researchers
After the welcome and opening session chaired by Carmen Cadarso, focusing on presentations on the past activities of the Network by Emilio Letón, David Conesa, Inmacularada Arostegui, and Jordi Ocaña, a busy program of events was fitted in a day and a half conference-like event:
Young researchers oral communications
Because of the meeting´s high participation, oral communications by young researchers of Biostatnet, were divided into three sections:
The topics discussed in this first parallel session were the choice of primary end-points by using a web application interface by Moisés Gómez-Mateu, the modeling of a non proportional hazard regression by Mar Rodríguez-Girondo, and the randomization tests implemented in clinical trials by Arkaitz Galbete. The second part of the session continued with two talks on Chronic Kidney Disease but from two different approaches: the first one, from a survival analysis (competing risks analysis) point of view, was presented by Laetitia Teixeira, and the second one, based on longitudinal analysis (Bayesian longitudinal models), was defended by Hèctor Perpiñán. Finally, Mónica López-Ratón presented his work on estimation of generalized symmetry pointS for classification in continuous diagnostic tests. This session was moderated by Carles Serrat.
A varied arrangement of talks were framed within the STAT session that featured the interesting view of Joan Valls on the experience of the biostatisticians working in the IRBLleida, two applications of Structured Additive Regression (STAR) models by Elisa Duarte and Valeria Mamouridis, a comparative analysis of different models for the prediction of breast cancer risk by Arantzazu Arrospide, an optimal experimental design application presented by Elvira Delgado, and a simulation study on the performance of Beta-Binomial SGoF multitesting method under dependence.
In this third parallel session, topics such as “bio” research as well as others related to design of experiments were covered. Irantzu Barrio started with a talk on development and implementation of a methodology to select optimal cut-points to categorise continuous covariates in prediction models. Also in this session, Mercedes Rodríguez-Hernández presented her work on D-optimal designs for Adair models.
Also covering “bio” topics, a talk on derivative contrasts in quantile regression was given by Isabel Martínez-Silva. María Álvarez focused afterwards on the application of the method of maximum combination when comparing proportions. The two last communications dealt with the cost-efectiveness study of treatments for fracture prevention in postmenopausal women by Nuria Pérez-Álvarez, and the application of Generalised Additive Mixed Models for the assessment of temporal variability of mussel recruitment, by María P. Pata.
Congratulations to the happy winners!!
To conclude these three sessions, Moisés Gómez-Mateu and Irantzu Barrio, the two winners of both ERCIM´12 Biostatnet invited sessions, received their awards (see picture above).
Two posters sessions were also included within the hectic program of the meeting, covering a wide range of topics varying, for instance, from the analysis of clinical and genetics factors (Aurora Baluja) to a collective blogging experience like ours (find it here)
As a courtesy to the young researchers participating in the meeting, Biostatnet´s main researchers gave each of us The Cartoon Guide to Statistics, which definitely finds the fun side of Statistics (see the snapshot below for a nice example ;P). We are very grateful for this gift and promise to make good use of it, maybe by trying to convince those that are still skeptical about the enjoyable side of this amazing science!
Image extracted from “The Cartoon Guide to Statistics”
Throughout the meeting a total of 5 sessions of roundtables and colloquiums took place. Both professionals in the field of Biostatistics as well as young researchers participated and offered their views on different topics.
“Biostatisticians in biomedical institutions: a necessity?” was the first of the interventions of the meeting, which was covered by Arantza Urkaregi, Llorenç Bardiella, Vicente Lustres, and Erik Cobo. They attempted to respond the question with their professional experiences. The answer was unanimously positive.
The colloquium “Genomics, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics” was chaired by Malu Calle and featured presentations from Pilar Cacheiro (one of our bloggers), Roger Milne, Javier de las Rivas, and Álex Sánchez. They emphasized the importance of bringing together biostatistics and bioinformatics in the “omics” era, and a vibrant discussion followed regarding the definition of both terms.
The “Young Researchers roundtable” also generated a refreshing discussion about opportunities for young researchers in Biostatistics. Again, two of our bloggers, Altea Lorenzo and Hèctor Perpiñán, were involved in the session along with Núria Pérez and Oliver Valero, with Moisés Gómez as moderator and Isabel Martínez as organiser. The main conclusions reached in this table were the need for the young biostatisticians to claim their important role in institutions, the aspiration to access specialised courses on the field, and the importance of communication, collaboration, and networking.
In the second morning, another very important topic, “Current training in Biostatistics”, was presented by three professors, Carmen Armero, Guadalupe Gómez and José Antonio Roldán, who currently teach in Biostatistics masters and degrees programmes offered by Spanish universities. Some interesting collective projects were outlined and will hopefully be implemented soon.
We cannot forget the invited talk on “Past and Current Issues in Clinical Trials” by Urania Dafni, director of the Frontier Science Foundation-Hellas and Biostatistics professor and director of the Laboratory of Biostatistics of the University of Athens´ Nursing School of Health Sciences. An overall view of this hot topic and the importance of the presence of biostatisticians in the whole process of design and development of drugs was given by this reputed professional in the field. This session and the following discussion were moderated by Montserrat Rué.
Finally, a session on the future of Biostatnet and the different alternatives for development and improvement was chaired by Jesús López Fidalgo and María Durbán, with the collaboration of experts on international and national research projects funding, Martín Cacheiro and Eva Fabeiro, and Urania Dafni, director of the greek node of the International Network Frontier Sience.
From what was shown, it seems like the year ahead is going to be a very busy and productive one for the Network and its members. All that we have left to say is… We are already looking forward to the 3rd General Meeting!!
LONG LIFE TO BIOSTATNET!!!
Your comments on the Meeting and this review are very welcome, let´s keep the spirit up!