Biostatistics Analysis Center Staff

The Biostatistics Analysis Center (BAC) employs 20 professionally trained staff biostatisticians, seven SAS programmers, and four additional data management and support staff. Individual staff profiles are provided below.


Sanaa Boudhar
MS (Statistics), University of Central Florida, 2001
Ms. Sanaa joined the Biostatics Unit in November 2012 and currently working on active clinical trails and collaborating on SART and EmCA project.


Colleen M. Brensinger
MS (Statistics), Ohio State University, 1997
Ms. Brensinger joined the Biostatistics Unit within the CCEB upon receiving her degree in July of 1997. Prior to graduate school, she worked for two years as a statistical analyst at the Center for Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. Ms. Brensinger currently works on collaborative projects involving schizophrenia, interstitial cystitis, drug-induced sudden death, and predictors of over- and under-anticoagulation while on warfarin treatment. In addition, she serves as a statistical consultant to the Gastroenterology Division.


Mark S. Cary
PhD (Psychology), University of Pennsylvania, 1975
Dr. Cary joined the Biostatistics Unit in February 2003 after 25 years of experience in academia (as faculty at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN) and business settings (as Sr. Statistician at Chilton Research, Radnor, PA, and VP for Management Science at Research International USA). His current work is primarily in psychiatry, conjoint preference measurement, and databases.


Karl Dailey
BS (Computer Science), La Salle University, 2002
Karl Dailey, Database Administrator and lead programmer, joined the Cartographic Modeling Lab 2007 and the Biostatistics Unit since their merge in July 2010. His project history spans various backgrounds and disciplines including public health, city planning, and research. Currently, he is working on a web based platform for stroke and trauma care coverage across the United States that will help health planners in locating locations for new trauma centers and manage where supply meets demand.


Min Du
MS (Computer Engineering), New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2000; BS (Science in Physics), Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 1998; SAS Certificates 2012
Mrs. Du joined the BAC as a SAS Programmer Analyst in April 2013. She is working on collaborative projects including Prop, Testosterone trials, AHA NRCPR Research, HAART in adults w/ HIV/TB. Prior to this, Mrs. Du worked for Nokia Siemens Network (NSN) for eight years as a system test engineer.


Shawn Fernandes - Manager for Database Design, Development, and QA
BS (Business Management), Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 2008
Mr. Fernandes joined the BAC in 2008. Prior to joining the BAC, he served as a Programmer Analyst in the CCEB for several years. During that time Mr. Fernandes collaborated on a wide array of projects which enabled him to develop an expertise in the areas of Database Design, Quality Control, and Patient Tracking. Mr. Fernandes is currently heading the expansion of BAC services to include a comprehensive and customized data management service fir research studies called the Data Management Unit (DMU).


Xiaoyan Han
MS (Statistics), University of Cincinnati, 2002
Ms. Han joined the Biostatistics Unit in January 2005 after serving two years as a biostatistician at the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the VA in Pittsburgh, PA. She currently works on collaborative projects involving the Impact of Quinolone-resistant E. coli carriage study, the PRIME P1 medical errors project, Walking for wellness study, Drug-drug interction study, and the CARBS study.


Maximilian Herlim
BS (Mathematics) University of Pennsylvania, currently matriculating
Mr. Herlim joined the BAC as a SAS programmer in 2001. He is currently a student at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in mathematics. Mr. Herlim currently works on collaborative projects involving schizophrenia, women's health, and several projects using the GPRD and CMS databases.


Xiaoling Hou
MS (Applied Statistics), University of Villanova, 2007
Ms. Hou joined the BAC as a biostatistician in October 2011. Before joining the BAC staff, she served for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia/Westat Biostatistics and Data management Core as a biostatistician/statistical programmer for 4 years on several studies in the field of pediatric medicine. She has good knowledge of clinical data management practices and extensive experience in data analysis, applications development and testing, reporting, and modeling. Currently, she is working on collaborative projects involving interstitial cystitis and sleep disorders.


Tara Jackson
Ph.D. (Psychology), University of Michigan, 1994
Dr. Tara D. Jackson is the Executive Director of the Cartographic Modeling Lab(CML) at the University of Pennsylvania. The CML specializes in Geographic Information System (GIS) projects, with an emphasis on data integration, application development, and spatial analysis to support policy and social science research. Dr. Jackson's research interests and primary responsibilities include the application of Geographic Information System (GIS) to support spatially integrated research to examine a wide range of academic and policy research topics.


Michael J. Kallan
MS (Biostatistics), University of Michigan, 1998
Mr. Kallan joined the Biostatistics Unit upon receiving his degree in 1998. During his time in graduate school, he worked as a statistician for both the University of Michigan Transportation Institute (UMTRI) and the Ann Arbor Veterans' Administration. Mr. Kallan has worked on various collaborative projects during his time at Penn, including those in the fields of child passenger safety, geriatric psychiatry, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, lymphedema, and pneumonia. In addition to being a co-author on numerous papers in the peer-reviewed literature, he has presented research findings from the Partners for Child Passenger Safety project at both scientific and statistical conferences.


Qing Liu
SAS Certificates, Philadelphia University, 2001;
BS (Medical Laboratory Technologist), Hunan Medical University, 1987, Changsha, Hunan, China

Ms. Liu joined the BAC as a SAS programmer in March 2002. Prior to coming to the CCEB, she worked at GEN Trak, Inc. Ms. Liu currently works on collaborative projects involving: lymphedema, psoriasis, sudden death, diet, and lung disease.


Craig Newcomb
BS (Business Economics), Grove City College, 1999; B.A. (Mathematics) West Chester University, 2004; MS (Applied Sciences), West Chester University, 2006
Mr. Newcomb joined the BAC as a SAS programmer in 2004; he is now serving as a biostatistician. He currently works on collaborative projects involving predictors of over- and under-anticoagulation in warfarin treatment, drug-induced sudden death, irritable bowl syndrome, Crohn's disease, and several projects building and maintaining Access databases.


Amobiye A. Nkromah - Manager of Data Management Unit
BA (Health and Societies), University of Pennsylvania
Ms. Nkromah joined the BAC in 2010, bringing with her a wealth of background in management and information technology. Her professional experience is diverse and has specialized in organizational structure and efficiency, implementing systems and strategies to improve functionality and effectiveness. She is currently managing the Date Management Unit, a comprehensive and customized data management service for research services.


Amy Praestgaard
MS (Statistics), University of Washington, 1988
Ms. Praestgaard joined the BAC in January 2007, bringing with her more than sixteen years experience as a consulting statistician and manager. Her applied statistics experience is diverse, and her management experience includes leading the biostatistics group at the College of American Pathologists and managing a fraud analytics department at Citigroup. Ms. Praestgaard's pre-Penn accomplishments include developing a patented methodology to cluster pathology laboratories according to test volume and complexity and saving a credit card portfolio more than $10 million per year by implementing statistically derived fraud rules. Ms. Praestgaard now serves as Managing Director for the BAC, and, along with the BAC Faculty Director and Associate Director, is responsible for ensuring that the unit operates as efficiently as possible, consistently delivers high quality and timely results, and is strategically poised to meet the evolving demands of the research community.


Daohang Sha
PhD (Mechanical Engineering), Xian Jiaotong University, China, 1995
Dr. Sha joined the Biostatistics Unit as Biostatistician in July 2008. Before, he was a research associate scientist in biomechanics at Yale School of Medicine. His current projects involve BRFSS, CMS and THIN databases.


Vicky Tam
MA (Energy and Environmental Analysis), Boston University, 2000; BA (Environmental Science), Boston University, 2000
Ms. Tam has been with the Cartographic Modeling Lab since 2005 and the Biostatistics Unit since their merge in July 2010. She has over 10 years of GIS mapping and analysis experience. Prior to joining the CML, Ms. Tam worked with a private consulting firm that provides GIS services to Federal, State and local governments. She is currently collaborating on projects including Trauma Care and Access mapping and providing analysis for the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans.


Kelvin Tao
MS (Statistics), University of Tennessee, 2007
Mr. Tao joined the Biostatistics Unit in May 2008 as a SAS programmer after completing his master’s degree in Statistics; he is now serving as a biostatistician. He is currently working on the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) study.


Lynne Taylor
PhD (Measurement, Evaluation and Techniques of Experimental Research), University of Pennsylvania, 1987;
MS (Measurement, Evaluation and Techniques of Experimental Research), University of Pennsylvania, 1981

Dr. Taylor joined the Biostatistics Unit in September 2000. She has over 15 years of experience in programming and data analysis, research design, and statistical consulting in psychometrics, program evaluation, and biostatistics. She is also the statistician and program evaluation specialist for the Center of Excellence on Minority Health at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, and was the senior data analyst for the Center of Health Behavior, Communications, and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communications.


Valerie Teal
MS (Biostatistics), University of Pennsylvania, 2006; MS (Materials Engineering), MIT, 1984
Ms. Teal joined the Biostatistics Unit in August 2006 after completing her degree. Prior to returning to graduate school, she accumulated over 15 years of experience as an engineer with Boeing, GMT Microelectronics, and Lucent. As a biostatistics grad student she worked on clinical trials. She is currently collaborating on several projects including the CRIC study (Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort), intervention studies, and working with NHANES III data.


Ann M. Tierney
MS (Applied Statistics), West Chester University of Pennsylvania, 2008
Ms. Tierney joined the Biostatistics Unit in August 2010. After completing her master's degree she worked for two years in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to returning to graduate school she spent several years working in schizophrenia research. She is currently collaborating on two HIV studies and a study of prostate cancer.


Fei Wan
MS (Applied Statistics), University of Vermont, 2001;
MS (Applied Math), University of Cincinnati, 2003

Mr. Wan joined the Biostatistics Unit in Aug 2006 and currently works on collaborative projects involving Medicare and statistical genetics.


Xingmei Wang
MS (Biostatistics), University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), 2004
Ms. Wang joined the BAC as a biostatistician in August 2004. She currently works on collaborative projects involving the GPRD database for psoriasis, and the hormonal prevention of CV disease. She uses various statistical techniques including survival analysis, conditional logistic regression, multiple imputation for missing data and propensity-matching. She is also involved in short-term consulting projects such as the economic impact on adherence in HIV/AIDS study.


Yanli Wang
MS (Statistics), Stony Brook University, 2004
Ms. Wang joined the Biostatistics Unit as Biostatistician in Jan 2013 after more than 8 years of statistics and programming experience at the Center for Outcome Research in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She currently works on collaborative projects COAG (Clarification of Optimal Anticoagulation through Genetics) and several other projects


Anita L. Weber
PhD (Psychology), University of Pennsylvania, 1975
Dr. Weber joined the Biostatistics Unit in October 1998. Some highlights of her work include collaboration on case-control studies of cancer and its sequelae, with Drs. Brian Strom, Sandra Norman, and Timothy Rebbeck (CCEB); and a clinical trial of exercise in the frail elderly, with Drs. Neville Strump (School of Nursing, UPenn) and JA Grisso (formerly of the CCEB, now at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). She has used various statistical techniques including survival analysis, conditional logistic regression, and propensity-matching.


Catharine T. Williams
BS (Business Management), University of Phoenix, 2007
Mrs. Williams joined the BAC as a SAS Programmer Analyst in November 2007. Prior to joining the BAC, she worked in the Faculty Affairs and Professional Development Department in the School of Medicine, as an Office System Coordinator. There she analyzed faculty data using SQL and Crystal Reports reporting tools. Catherine has also worked at the Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation as a Database Coordinator, maintaining Microsoft Access Databases to track and monitor job seeker data. Her knowledge of SQL has helped her transition to using SAS, since their languages are interchangeable in Proc SQL. In the BAC, Mrs. Williams is currently collaborating on the PAL, UPHS and PIPS projects.


Qufei Wu
MS (Computer Engineering), University of Maryland, 2007
Mr. Wu joined the CCEB in October 2008. He is working on collaborative projects involving Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder study and Antiepileptic research with Medicaid, Medicare and THIN data and other project for lung transplant outcomes. Prior to this, Mr. Wu worked part time at NIH for bioinformatics research project.




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