New partnership engages UW students in developing statistical methods to prevent and treat infectious disease

March 23, 2020

The University of Washington Departments of Biostatistics and Statistics have teamed up with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to involve UW students in efforts to prevent and treat HIV and other infectious diseases such as malaria, influenza, and tuberculosis.

The recently established Infectious Disease Prevention Research via Innovative Statistical Methods (ID-PRISM) center connects UW students with Fred Hutch faculty and brings together individuals who utilize innovative statistical methods to explore best practices in promoting positive health outcomes worldwide.

“While the UW and Fred Hutch have a long track record of effective education and research on infectious disease prevention, we are establishing this new center to more clearly define an affinity group and community that students can identify with,“ says Peter Gilbert, director of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Epidemiology at Fred Hutch’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division and a UW research professor of biostatistics.

Recent Biostatistics graduate Brian Williamson was the first PhD student to complete his doctoral degree while working with ID-PRISM.

“Collaborating with ID-PRISM provided an incredible opportunity for me to develop statistical methods and to immediately deploy these methods in impactful collaborative science” says Williamson. “My work with ID-PRISM focused on harnessing machine learning tools to help identify potential correlates of risk and correlates of protection. These correlates may help to better understand diseases and design better vaccines,”

Other student training opportunities include research assistantships, supervision of masters thesis/projects, and undergraduate internships.

In addition to representatives from UW Biostatistics and Statistics, ID-PRISM leadership includes members of the Fred Hutch HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Statistical Data Management Centers and other Fred Hutch groups.