Dr. Yingye Zheng named fellow of American Statistical Association

Honored for work to develop biomedical decision tools
A photograph of biostatistician Dr. Yingye Zheng wearing a dark jacket and light shirt.
Hutch biostatistician Dr. Yingye Zheng was named fellow of the American Statistical Association. Fred Hutch file photo

Dr. Yingye Zheng, a professor of biostatistics in Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Public Health Sciences Division, has been elected as a fellow of the American Statistical Association.

Zheng joined Fred Hutch in 2003 and is an affiliate professor of biostatistics in the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

She was selected for the prestigious fellowship for her "novel methodological development for efficient design and analysis of prognostic biomarker validation study; significant advancement in dynamic risk prediction with longitudinal biomarkers and for outstanding collaboration in cancer screening and cancer biomarker research," according to the organization’s announcement.

“I am honored for the recognition,” Zheng said. “I’ve always excited about engaging in research to develop and evaluate novel biomedical decision tools to optimize clinical outcomes and minimize harm in the population. I am grateful for the outstanding colleagues that I have collaborated with for the past 20 years at the center to achieve that goal.”

Fellowships are awarded to scholars who have made exceptional contributions to statistical science. Only about a third of 1% of the total ASA membership is elected as a fellow each year.

“Dr. Zheng has made impactful scientific and public health contributions through her collaboration, leadership, and methodological development,” said Dr. Li Hsu, a colleague and fellow Hutch biostatistician who was named an ASA fellow in 2017. “She is a leading statistical methodology researcher creating efficient study designs for prospective biomarker evaluation, assessment of biomarker performance for cancer screening, diagnosis and prognosis, and development of personalized risk prediction using longitudinal biomarker measurements.”

A national leader

Zheng works primarily in the realm of cancer screening and surveillance research. She is one of the principal investigators of the data coordinating center for the National Cancer Institute’s Population-based Research to Optimize the Screening Process (PROSPR) network, which focuses on colorectal, cervical and lung cancer screening. PROSPR’s goal is to improve the cancer screening process as practiced in multiple health care environments in the U.S.

Zheng is also one of the multiple principal investigators in the NCI’s Early Detection Research Network, or EDRN, and a lead biostatistician for the Prostate Cancer Active Surveillance Study (PASS), which is the largest and the most rigorous multicenter investigation to address both the overdiagnosis and the overtreatment of prostate cancer in this country.  

The Hutch’s Dr. Daniel Lin, director of the Hutch and UW Medicine’s Institute for Prostate Cancer Research and principal investigator of PASS, said Zheng has made contributions both as a leader and a collaborator.

“[She’s] not only a leader of investigative endeavors, but also a trusted and integral collaborator in large integrated research efforts that are often multisite and multidisciplinary in nature,” he said. “Dr. Zheng has developed a unique niche in highly innovative research that involves modeling the impact of candidate biomarkers on established clinical prediction tools for prostate cancer active surveillance — tools that she initially had developed.”

These endeavors, he said, have resulted not only in a strong publication track record (she’s had over 120 peer-reviewed manuscripts) but also consistent and recurring National Institutes of Health funding as a principal investigator.

“There is no doubt that Dr. Zheng is a national leader in designing innovative and impactful studies for the prostate cancer biomarker investigative community,” Lin said of his colleague. “Dr. Zheng is an exceptionally creative, motivated, and accomplished scientist who has made substantive contributions to the prostate cancer biomarker field.”

Other Fred Hutch faculty members who’ve been honored as ASA fellows include Drs. Garnet Anderson, who holds the Fred Hutch 40th Anniversary Endowed Chair (2020), Charles Kooperberg (2019), Michael LeBlanc (2019), Ying Qing Chen (2018), Li Hsu (2017), Wei Sun (2017), Ruth Etzioni, who holds the Rosalie and Harold Rae Brown Endowed Chair (2016), Peter Gilbert (2014), Ziding Feng (2007), Patrick Heagerty (1997), M. Elizabeth Halloran (1996), Steven G. Self (1996), Ira Longini (1995), Tom Fleming (1987) and Ross L. Prentice (1982). In 2019, Halloran also received the association’s Nathan Mantel Lifetime Achievement Award.

Diane Mapes is a staff writer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. She has written extensively about health issues for NBC News, TODAY, CNN, MSN, Seattle Magazine and other publications. A breast cancer survivor, she blogs at doublewhammied.com and tweets @double_whammied. Email her at dmapes@fredhutch.org. Just diagnosed and need information and resources? Visit our Patient Care page.

Read more about Fred Hutch achievements and accolades.

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