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Interview with… Anabel Forte

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Anabel Forte Deltell, graduated in mathematics and statistics, holds a PhD in Statistics from the Univeristy of Valencia. Now she is a lecturer at the economics department of Universitat Jaume I at Castellón. Her research topics cover many fields of statistics as, for instance, spatial analysis or joint modeling of longitudinal (or panel) data and time-to-event data with her main interest beeing Bayesian model selection and, in particular, Objective Bayesian variable selection. Her dissertation (2011) entitled “Objective Bayes Criteria for Variable Selection” focuses on this last topic. She has published various articles in international journals and participated in many national and international meetings.

Email: forte@uji.es

 1.   Why do you like Biostatistics?

Researching in biostatistics is researching in real life and it makes me feel like I’m helping to improve people´s life conditions.

 2. Could you give us some insight in your current field of research?

Despite my main line of research being Bayesian model selection, I’m actually working in joint modeling of longitudinal data and time-to-event data. Nowadays many practitioners are moving to what it is called personalized medicine with medical decisions, practices, and/or products being tailored to the individual patient. In this scenario longitudinal data seems to be of great importance since it allows for the consideration of several sources of uncertainty including patient-specific variability. Moreover, quantifying the risk of suffering a certain event of a patient given its trajectory seems really sensible and can be done using joint modeling.

 3. Which are, in your opinion, the main advantages of being a researcher?

For me, being a researcher is simply a way of life. I can not imaging myself doing anything else.

 4. Your whole professional experience has been within the public sector and the University. How do you see the present and future of research in the Spanish public sector?

From my point of view if things do not change greatly, researching in Spain, at least in the public sector, has a really black future. As I see it, the only way researchers can manage to get money is to call attention of private investors. But private money can compromise the objectivity of research and at the same time avoid researching in some fields that are not so “attractive” for industry. Hence it is something that has to be studied carefully… but something has to be done, that´s for sure.

 5. What do you think of the situation of young biostatisticians in Spain?

As I see it, young biostatisticians have to make a great effort to show their enormous value for private companies as, for instance, food processing companies or health care related companies among others… And I think so because, pitifully, nowadays the Spanish public system can not assume all the biostatistical research that is needed.

 6. What would be the 3 main characteristics or skills you would use to describe a good biostatistician?

For me it is really important to have a good mathematical/probabilistic base and to be well organized when working. But the most important of all is enjoying research.

 7. Which do you think are the main qualities of a good mentor?

For me, a good mentor is someone that supervises your work and is always there for you but at the same time he or she should give you some space for you to fail and learn… in other words someone that teaches you what researching really is.

Selected publications:

  • Francisco Pozo-Rodríguez; Jose Luis López-Campos; Carlos J. Álvarez-Martínez; Ady Castro-Acosta; Ramón Agüero; Javier Hueto; Jesús Hernández-Hernández; Manuel Barrón; Victor Abraira; Anabel Forte; Juan Miguel Sanchez Nieto; Encarnación Lopez-Gabaldón; Borja G. Cosío; Alvar Agusti. Clinical Audit of COPD patients requiring hospital admissions in Spain: AUDIPOC Study.Plos One. 7 – 7, (USA): 2012.
  • M. J. Bayarri; J. O. Berger; A. Forte; G. García-Donato. Criteria fo Bayesian model choice with application to variable selection. Annals of Statistics. 40 – 3, pp. 1550 – 1577. (USA): 2012.
  • C. Armero; A. Forte; A. López-Quílez. Geographical variation in pharmacological prescription. Mathematical and Computer Modelling. 50, pp. 921 – 928. (UK): 2009.
  • Allepuz; A. López-Quílez; A. Forte; G. Fernández; J. Casal. Spatial Analysis of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Galicia, Spain (2000-05). Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 79 – 2, pp. 174 – 185. (Holland): 2007.
  • López-Quílez; C. Armero; A. Forte. Geographical variation of Pharmacological prescription with Bayesian Hierarchical models.Value In Health. 10 – 6, (USA): 2007.
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