Invitation to the Biostatnet Workshop on Biomedical (Big) Data

Hi again!

As active members of the National Biostatistics Network Biostatnet, we would like to invite everyone to participate in the Biostatnet Workshop on Biomedical (Big) Data that will take place the 26th and 27th of November 2015 in Centre de Recerca Matemàtica​ ​​(Barcelona).

The aim of this workshop is to provide a meeting point for senior and junior researchers, interested in statistical methodologies, analysis and computational problems arising from biomedical problems with large and complex data sets.

Contributed oral and poster presentations on biostatistical methods, in general, and with a special emphasis on methods, problems and solutions for large data sets from the biomedical field, are welcome and the deadline for abstracts submission is October the 25th, so hurry up if you don’t want to miss this great opportunity to show your research!

Aedin Culhane (Harvard University), Rodrigo Dienstmann (Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology), Jonathan Marchini (Oxford University), Giovanni Montana (King’s College London​) and Simon Wood (University of Bath) will be the invited speakers.

Further details are available on the website of the workshop:




2nd Biostatnet General Meeting Review

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:

  • BIO session

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.

  • STAT session

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.

  • NET session

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).

Posters sessions

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.

Plenary talk

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.

Closing colloquium

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!!


Your comments on the Meeting and this review are very welcome,       let´s keep the spirit up!

Invitation to the Biostatnet 2nd General Meeting

Hi everyone!

As active members of the National Biostatistics Network Biostatnet, we would like to invite all the young (and not so young) members to participate in the Biostatnet 2nd General Meeting that will take place the 25th and 26th of January 2013 in Santiago de Compostela. You can find the program of the event here and can request any further information at biostatnet@gmail.com.


Apart from some really interesting talks and roundtables, this meeting has a main focus on young researchers, and as such we believe it is particularly important that we participate and try to get involved in this amazing network that is setting us closer and closer despite the physical separation.

Remember!! The deadline for submission of posters and oral communications is the 14th of December, so HURRY UP!!

FreshBiostats will be represented in the roundtable that will be held on the 25th so it would be fantastic to get your comments as to which topics you would like to see discussed or any issues that affect you directly. Thank you for your collaboration!!

Invitation to the XIV Spanish Biometric Conference 2013

Elvira Delgado Márquez, MSc in Applied Statistics, BSc in Computer Engineering and BSc in Statistics (University of Granada) is a PhD student at the University of Castilla-La Mancha where she works with Professor López Fidalgo and Dr. Amo Salas. Her area of expertise is Optimum Experimental Designs.Contact Elvira 

The term “Biometry” has been used to refer to the field of development of statistical and mathematical methods applicable to data analysis problems in the biological sciences. Statistical methods for the analysis of data from agricultural field experiments to compare the yields of different varieties of wheat, for the analysis of data from human clinical trials evaluating the relative effectiveness of competing therapies for disease, or for the analysis of data from environmental studies on the effects of air or water pollution on the appearance of human disease in a region or country are all examples of problems that would fall under the umbrella of “Biometrics” as the term has been historically used.

Recently, the term “Biometrics” has also been used to refer to the emerging field of technology devoted to identification of individuals using biological traits, such as those based on retinal or iris scanning, fingerprints, or face recognition. Neither the journal “Biometrics” nor the International Biometric Society areengaged in research, marketing, or reporting related to this technology. Likewise, the editors and staff of the journal are not knowledgeable in this area.

On behalf of the Spanish Biometric Society, the area of Statistics and Operations Research at the University of Castilla – La Mancha welcomes the celebration of the XIV Spanish Biometric Conference – 2013 that will be held in Ciudad Real (Spain), from the 22nd to the 24th of May, 2013.

Full information can be found at the Conference´s website  as well as contacting the following e-mail address: biometria2013@gmail.com

We invite scholars willing to promote de development and application of the mathematical and statistical methods in the areas of Biology, Medicine, Psychology, Pharmacology, Agriculture, Bioinformatics and other areas related to life sciences, to come to Ciudad Real and participate in the presentation of the latest results in these areas.

Furthermore, the Biometrical Journal (edited in cooperation with the German and the Austro-Swiss Region of the International Biometric Society), indexed in Journal Citation Reports (JCR), will publish a special issue with a selection of the papers presented at the conference.

We remain at your disposal and we look forward to welcoming you in Ciudad Real very soon.

Elvira Delgado on behalf of the organizing committee.

Jede II Review

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

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!)