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p-values explained

David Blanco (UPC) recently prepared this video following the ASA statement  and we wanted to share it with you. We particularly love the very useful examples (who would not want those work colleagues?!) and the BNE Shiny application.

We also highly recommend this RSS video on the development and impact of the statement, including some very interesting discussions.

We hope you find it useful, please do share your thoughts!

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Reflections from “Dance your PhD”

by Guest Blogger Ipek Guler

In 2015, Ipek Guler submitted a video to the competition “Dance your  PhD” sponsored by Science/AAAS, organisation which each year encourages researchers to represent their work in the form of a dance.

You can check out her video below:

and read her reflections on the experience below:

How did you hear about the competition and why did you decide to enter?

I heard about the competition on John Bohannon’s TED talk where he gives a brilliant example of how to turn a presentation into a dance with a professional contemporary dance company. He talks about how the lasers cool down matter. Amazing! I think I had already decided to do it right at the beginning of the talk. As i do perform contemporary dancing as a semi-professional dancer, the idea was perfect for me.

Where  did you find the inspiration to translate biostatistical concepts into dance?

There are some inspiring sentences on the Dance Your PhD website: “So, what’s your Ph.D. research about?” You take a deep breath and launch into the explanation. People’s eyes begin to glaze over… At times like these, don’t you wish you could just turn to the nearest computer and show people an online video of your Ph.D. thesis interpreted in dance form?”

So this was my starting point. I was very excited to be able to explain my research to my friends, parents, relatives finally. The other good point was that I used it to introduce different concepts, feelings into my dance performances; this is what you are able to do in contemporary dancing that other forms of academic dissemination do not allow.

How  long did it  take you to finish  the video?

For a long time I had already been trying to summarise my PhD research to other people who have no idea about statistics. The process of translating it into dance helped me a lot for my future presentations and in my thesis.

The choreography took a few months to create in my mind. The next step was the rehearsal  with my dance group. It was the fastest and easiest process which took a few days because we used to create, dance and improvise together for years. Finally we shot the video in one day and had  lots of fun (we also added some of these moments at the end of the video. :))

Would you recommend it to other PhDs in Biostatistics?

I definitely recommend it to other researchers in Biostatistics who have just finished their PhD or are still PhD students. First of all you will able to resume your principal aim, the most important points of your PhD research, then you’ll have a great product to show when you are not able to explain to other people who have no idea what you are doing. Especially in biostatistics, people sometimes don’t understand what you’re really doing, so you have a brilliant option. Believe me, it works!

You can watch other Dance your PhD videos on mathematics here and  here, and some biomedical ones too here and here.

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Review of the 3rd Biostatnet General Meeting “Facing challenges in biostatistical research with international projection”

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(Photo from Biostatech website)

Following on from successful meetings back in January 2011 and 2013,  on the 20-21 January 2017 Biostatnet members gathered again in Santiago to celebrate the network’s successes and discuss future challenges. These are our highlights:

Invited speakers

The plenary talk, “Why I Do Clinical Trials: Design and Statistical Analysis Plans for the INVESTED Trial”, introduced by Guadalupe Gómez Melis, was given by Prof. KyungMann Kim, from the Biostatistics and Medical Informatics department at the University of Wisconsin. Prof. Kim discussed challenges faced when conducting clinical trials to ensure follow-up of patients, and the technological and statistical conflicts in the endeavour to make large-scale clinical trials cost-efficient.

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Prof. KyungMann Kim’s presenting his work

The invited talk by Miguel Ángel Martínez Beneito from FISABIO showcased solutions to issues with excess zeros modelling in disease mapping in a very enjoyable talk that generated a fascinating discussion.

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Inmaculada Arostegui introducing Miguel Ángel Beneito’s talk

Roundtables

We really enjoyed the two great roundtables that were held at the meeting.

Young Researchers Roundtable

Firstly, we were delighted to be given the opportunity to organise a roundtable of young researchers at the event, and although we did not have much time, we managed to squeeze in four main topics of discussion including; Biostatnet research visits, reproducibility in research, professional visibility and diversity with a focus on women in Biostatistics (very fittingly just before the celebrations of the 1st International Day of Women and Girls in Science!). The topics proved to be of great interest and raised a lively discussion. Regarding visibility, issues such as how to properly manage a professional online profile and what the potential risks of too much exposure are, were raised in the discussion. Also mentioned was the fact that, while there is no doubt that accessing data and code for replicability and reproducibility purposes is highly important, researchers might lose sight of the conclusions due to a major focus on having full access to these resources.

Some other interesting issues were prompted that we could not expand on (we would have needed more time…!) so we would like to continue here…Feel free to send us your comments either here or via social media! or to answer this brief survey (post here). We are currently preparing a paper summarising the topics covered in the roundtable and we will let you know when it is ready!

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Participants in the roundtable from right to left: Danilo Alvares (with contributions from Elena Lázaro), Miguel Branco, Marta Bofill, Irantzu Barrio and María José López.

BIO Scientific Associations Roundtable

Secondly, a very exciting and lively session gathering researchers with different backgrounds, all members of a variety of BIO associations and networks, gave us their impressions about what it means to work within a multidisciplinary team. In a very constructive and lively atmosphere, promoted by the moderator Erik Cobo (UPC), Juan de Dios Luna (Biostatnet), Vitor Rodrigues (CIMAGO), Mabel Loza (REDEFAR) and Marta Pavía (SCReN) discussed the pitfalls in communication between statisticians and researchers. We all really enjoyed this session, and took home some valuable messages to improve the interactions between (bio)statisticians, clinicians and applied researchers.

Workshops

In addition to a satellite course on “CGAMLSS using R” (post to come on this topic!), we had the opportunity to attend two workshops on the last morning of the meeting.

Juan Manuel Rodriguez and Licesio Rodríguez delivered the Experimental Designs workshop. In a very funny and lively way (and using paper helicopters!!!!), they reviewed key concepts of Experimental Designs. This helpful workshop gave us a great opportunity to dust off our design toolkit.

In the software workshop moderated by Klaus Langohr, Inmaculada Arostegui and Guillermo Sánchez introduced two interactive web tools for predicting adverse events in bronchitis patients (PrEveCOPD) and biokinetic modelling (BiokmodWeb). Esteban Vegas showed a Shiny implementation of kernel PCA, and David Morina and Monica Lopez presented their packages radir and GsymPoint.

Oral communications

Although there were also presentations from less young researchers, there were plenty of sessions for younger members who have been getting a great support from the network (thank you, Biostatnet!). The jury decided that the best talks were “Beta-binomial mixed model for analyzing HRQoL data over time” by Josu Najera-Zuloaga. In his talk, he introduced an R-package, HRQoL, including the methodology to perform health-related quality of life scores in a longitudinal framework based on beta-binomial mixed models, as well as an application in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The second awarded talk was “Modelling latent trends from spatio-temporally aggregated data using smooth composite link models. ” by Diego Ayma on the use of penalised composite link models with mixed model representation to estimate trends behind aggregations of data in order to improve spatio-temporal resolutions. He illustrated his work with the analysis of spatio-temporal data obtained in the Netherlands. Our own Natalia presented joint work with researchers from the Basque country node  on the application of Multiple Correspondence Analysis for the development of a new Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) score and its application in the Imaging Genetics field. This work was possible thanks to one of Biostatnet grants for research visits.

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Natalia’s presentation

Posters sessions

Three poster sessions were included in the meeting. As a novelty, these sessions were preceded by a brief presentation in which all participants introduced their posters in 1-2 minutes. Although imposing at first, we thought this was a good opportunity for everyone to at least hear about the work displayed, in case they missed the chance to either see the poster or talk to the author later on. The poster “An application of Bayesian Cormack-Jolly-Seber models for survival analysis in seabirds” by Blanca Sarzo showed her exciting work in a very instructive and visually effective way and won her a well-deserved award too.

Biostatnet sessions

Particularly relevant to Biostatnet members were also the talks by by three of the IPs, Carmen Cadarso, and Guadalupe Gómez and Maria Durbán (pictured below) highlighting achievements and future plans for the network. Exciting times ahead!

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Last but not least, the meeting was a great opportunity for networking while surrounded by lovely Galician food and licor cafe ;p

We look forward to the 4th meeting!

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Galician delicacies!

You can check the hashtag #biostatnet2017, tell us your highlights of the meeting here or send us your questions if you missed it…

(Acknowledgements: sessions pics by Moisés Gómez Mateu and Marta Bofill Roig)