Biostatisticians M. Elizabeth Halloran and Ira Longini join PHS Division

Two longtime collaborators in biostatistics at Emory University joined the Public Health Sciences Division in January.

Drs. M. Elizabeth (Betz) Halloran and Ira Longini are new faculty members in the PHS Program for Biostatistics and Biomathematics. The two researchers have worked together on areas of infectious disease, including HIV, influenza and malaria. They are particularly interested in problems involving vaccine creation and evaluation and represent key initial recruitments in the development of the Seattle Vaccine and Immunization Research Center, a joint project with the University of Washington. Halloran, who is also a physician, studied tropical public health and population sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health. While at Emory, she was the director of the Center for Highthroughput Experimental Design and Analysis and the director of the Center for AIDS Research, Biostatistics Core. Her primary research focus is statistical methods for infectious-disease studies as well as foundations of inference.

Longini, who received his Ph.D. in biometry/biomathematics at the University of Minnesota, also taught at the Universidad del Valle in Columbia and at the University of Michigan. He conducted research in Latin America and Bangladesh. Longini has analyzed numerous actual or threatened infectious-disease epidemics and created statistical models for the control of a possible bioterrorist attack with an infectious agent. He has also worked extensively on the design, analysis and interpretation of vaccine trials.

Both will also serve as professors in the UW Department of Biostatistics.

"It was a real coup to be able to bring Betz and Ira to the Center," said Dr. Steve Self, head of the Biostatistics and Biomathematics Program. "They are one of the few research teams in the world that integrate sophisticated mathematical modeling of infectious-disease dynamics with strong foundations in the design and analysis of field studies. They will enrich the collaborative landscape for those working on public-health aspects of infectious disease and give the development of a vaccine center in Seattle a tremendous boost."

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