Biostatistics involves the capture and interpretation of quantitative data in the biomedical sciences. It is integral to the advancement of knowledge in biology, health policy, clinical medicine, public health, health economics, proteomics, genomics, and other disciplines.
Biostatistics is particularly concerned with isolating sources of variation between subgroups of individuals. This variation may be due to intrinsic properties of those individuals or the result of experimental manipulation. In human intervention trials, for instance, variation is introduced through the mechanism of treatment assignment, which may by randomization or other means. Biostatisticians are involved both in the design of such projects, meant to induce specific differences that can be characterized as treatment effects, and in their analysis.
More broadly, biostatistics investigates associations between exposures or risk factors and outcomes, and seeks to determine the degree to which such associations can be interpreted as unidirectional or causal. To support these efforts it also involves the study of computational tools and techniques for the summary and analysis of data, as well as the graphical display of quantitative information in two or more dimensions.
At IFAR, biostatisticians engage in a large number of collaborative interactions with HSL investigators, as well as clinical and quantitative scientists both national and international. These projects include clinical trials and epidemiologic investigations in physical functioning, nutrition, musculoskeletal health, cognitive function and the endocrinology of aging, among others. Our work therefore supports and is integral to IFAR’s uniquely holistic approach to aging research.