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2008: Nan Laird

portrait of Nan Laird

Nan Laird

Department of Biostatistics
Harvard University

Dr. Laird is Professor and the former Chair and Henry Pickering Walcott Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard University. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was the winner of the F.N. David Award of the American Statistical Association in 2001.


General Lecture
(November 3, 2008)

Missing Data Problems in Public Health

Missing data arise commonly in many studies in Public Health and Medicine. Here I will review some cases where statistical methodology has contributed to our ability to overcome limitations in technology and sampling and produce good inferences with imperfect data. We will discuss examples from estimation of radon levels from diffusion battery data, longitudinal cohort studies, and testing for genetic effects with family data.

Technical Lecture
(November 4, 2008)

Testing Gene-Environment Interactions with Nuclear Family Data

The widespread availability of genetic markers for samples of reasonable size has intensified interest in testing for gene-environment interactions with complex diseases. Both traditional case-control and family-based designs are used in genetic association studies, the latter having the advantage of
eliminating problems due to population substructure, as well as sensitivity to modeling the genetic effect when testing for genetic effects alone. Here we address the issue of extending the family design to test gene-environment interactions. Robustness to population substructure can be maintained, but robustness to model specification is not. We also discuss joint-tests of gene-environment interaction which are generally more powerful, as well as completely robust to the genetic model and population substructure.