Biometrics by the Blowholes, Kiama, NSW, Australia December 4-8, 2011

Invited Speakers

A brief biography of each of the invited speakers presenting a plenary session at the Biometrics by the Blowholes conference appears below.

David Balding

David Balding was born in Kiama and educated at the Kiama Catholic primary school, Chevalier College Bowral and Kiama High School. He achieved a B. Math. with 1st class hons and University Medal at Newcastle, NSW, worked there for a further year as a research assistant and tutor, then took up a Commonwealth Scholarship to study for a PhD in mathematics at the University of Oxford, UK. He then held a junior academic post at Oxford for a year before moving successively to Queen Mary London, the University of Reading, and Imperial College London.

Since October 2009, he has been Professor of Statistical Genetics at the Institute of Genetics, University College London. David researches a broad range of mathematical and statistical problems in genetics - evolutionary, population, medical, forensic and, most recently, crop. Much of his statistical genetics work involves computer-intensive stochastic algorithms, and is usually within the Bayesian paradigm of statistical inference. His early work on methods of analysis for the interpretation of forensic DNA profiles was summarized in his monograph Weight-of-Evidence for Forensic DNA Profiles (Wiley, 2005), and he is a member of the External Advisory Group of the UK Forensic Science Service.

David was lead editor of the Handbook of Statistical Genetics (Wiley, 3rd ed 2007). He is a Fellow of both the Royal Statistical Society and the Society of Biology. He was (2006-08) President of the British and Irish Region of the IBS.

David Clayton

David Clayton was introduced to biostatistics, in 1968, when working as a computer programmer in Professor Peter Armitage's department at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He later transferred to Professor Jerry Morris's MRC Social Medicine at LSHTM, where his lifetime interest in epidemiology began, first in cardiovascular disease, and later in cancer, perinatology and, finally, in genetic epidemiology.

While holding a teaching post at Leicester University, in 1985 he spent a sabbatical period in Nick Day's group at the International Agency for Research in Cancer in Lyon, France. Although very brief, this had a major impact on his later career, leading to involvement in many international instructional courses, and collaborative research work with Nick Day, Norman Breslow, and others. After Nick moved to Cambridge to take over the MRC Biostatistics Unit, he joined him in 1990. Shortly after this he developed an interest in genetic epidemiology, then in its early stages of development in Cambridge. This took up an increasing proportion of his time throughout the 1990's, and in 2000 he finally moved to the Cambridge University Department of Medical Genetics, where he holds a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship.

During this period, David has worked on the genetic epidemiology of autoimmunity, hypertension, and age-related macular degeneration, and has been much involved with methodological developments, particularly of genome-wide association studies.

Brian Cullis

Brian Cullis is Professor of Biometry at the University of Wollongong (close to Kiama!) having been appointed to this position in July 2011 after working as a biometrician for more than 30 years with NSW Department of Primary Industries. The appointment at the University of Wollongong is funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the CSIRO Mathematics Informatics and Statistics. His interests relate to the application of statistical approaches to the analysis of agricultural and biological data. He has co-authored more than 140 refereed papers. Much research involves the application and development of linear mixed models techniques. He is a member of the ASReml project team, which is now used in over 35 countries with more than 1500 citations. He is a past Co-Editor of Biometrics and currently is an Associate Editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics and the Journal of Agricultural Science Cambridge.

Brian will also be presenting a one-day workshop in Wollongong on Saturday 3 December 2011 on the topic: Modern applications of linear mixed models with case studies. Click on the topic for more details.

Monterrat Fuentes

Montserrat Fuentes is a full professor of Statistics (with tenure) and head of the Department at North Carolina (NC) State University in the U.S.A. Dr. Fuentes received her B.S. in Mathematics and Music (piano) from the University of Valladolid (Spain), and her Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Chicago (1999). Dr. Fuentes has authored over 60 scientific publications & served as principal investigator (or co-PI) on 20 research grants, with total funding of more than $10 million.

Dr. Fuentes was named an ASA fellow (2008) for outstanding contributions to research in spatial statistics, for excellence in the development and application of statistical methodology in atmospheric sciences, air pollution and oceanography; and for service to the profession. She is the editor of the Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics (JABES), of the International Biometrics Society. Fuentes is a member-elect of the International Statistical Institute, and has been a member of the Regional Advisory Board (RAB) for the Eastern North American Region (ENAR) of the International Biometric Society.

Dr. Fuentes is a member of the Science Advisory Board (SAB) Integrated Human Exposure Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. representative in the Board of Directors of the International Environmetrics Society. She was a member of the Biostatistical Methods and Research Design (BMRD) study section of the National Institutes for Health, and she is currently a member of the scientific review committee of Health Canada. She has also worked for the U.S. Department of Justice as an expert witness, and was a member of a committee of the National Research Council of the National Academies working on the impact of ozone on mortality. She is a senior leader of the ADVANCE-NSF Developing Diverse Departments program at NCSU.

Montse will also be presenting a one-day workshop in Sydney on Friday 2 December 2011 on the topic: Spatial analysis of public health data: a practical introduction with geocoded and areal data.. Click on the topic for more details.


Hans-Peter Piepho

Hans-Peter Piepho is a Professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany. He has been working as an applied statistician in agricultural research for almost 20 years. His main interests are related to statistical procedures as needed in plant genetics, plant breeding and cultivar testing. He has worked for many years on modelling of genotype-environment interaction in series of experiments using mixed model procedures.

Recent interests include marker-assisted breeding (genomic selection), spatial methods for field trials and experimental design for various applications including cDNA microarrays and series of experiments. His publication record covers 200+ refereed publications, many of which stem from collaborative work in various areas of agricultural sciences and biology.

Currently, he is an Associate Editor of Biometrical Journal and Plant Breeding and a Statistical Consultant on the Editorial Board of Weed Research.

Louise Ryan

Louise Ryan grew up in Bega, not too far down the coast from Kiama! After completing her honours degree at Macquarie University in 1979, she left Australia to pursue her PhD in the Harvard Statistics Department. She stayed on in the Harvard Biostatistics Department, first as a postdoctoral fellow, then a faculty member and finally as the Henry Pickering Walcott Professor and Chair of the Department. Louise returned home in 2009 as Chief of CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics.

Louise is well known for her methodological contributions to statistical methods for cancer and environmental health research. She has been involved in a number of high profile studies sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, including assessing the environmental risks associated with exposure to arsenic in drinking water as well as assessing the health effects of methylmercury. Some of her recent methodological work relates to the development of computationally and cost-efficient approaches to the design and analysis of complex spatial and longitudinal surveys.

Louise has authored or co-authored over 270 peer-reviewed journal articles and has been recognised with several prestigious awards. She is a passionate advocate for the statistical and mathematical sciences in Australia.

Matt Wand

Matt Wand is a Distinguished Professor of Statistics at University of Technology, Sydney. He has held faculty appointments at Harvard University, Rice University, Texas A&M University, University of New South Wales and University of Wollongong.

In 2008 Professor Wand became an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. In 1997 he was awarded the P.A.P. Moran Medal for statistical research. He is also an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Professor Wand has co-authored 2 books and more than 90 papers in statistics journals. He has 5 packages in the R language on the Comprehensive R Archive Network. In 2002 Professor Wand was ranked 23 among highly cited authors in mathematics and statistics for the period 1991-2001. He is also a member of the `ISI Highly Cited Researchers' list. Since 2000 Professor Wand has been principal investigator on 5 major grants. The most recent one, an Australian Research Council Discovery Project, is titled `Fast Approximate Inference Methods for Flexible Regression' and will run for the years 2011-2013.


Last updated 11 September 2011.