Pyne appointed scientific director of PHDL


Saumyadipta Pyne will join the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) as its scientific director and will also serve as an associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics, both at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, beginning October 1.

“I am very excited that Dr. Pyne will be joining PHDL with an associate professor appointment in our biostatistics department,” commented Shyamal Peddada, chair of the Department of Biostatistics. “Dr. Pyne is a scientist with a broad research program and perspective. He will play an important role in our program on big data.”

As the PHDL scientific director, he will be responsible for advising and collaborating with the director and fellow faculty members on computational and statistical issues. He will play a key role both in the development of computational platforms and tools such as FRED and in establishing international collaborations in India and other countries. Furthermore, Pyne will provide leadership in strategic planning, grant seeking, management, training, and education. He will also contribute to the research, service, and teaching missions of the biostatistics department and harmonize these scholarly activities with his PHDL responsibilities.

“I’m delighted to welcome Dr. Pyne to the PHDL team,” said Director Mark Roberts. “He brings an outstanding set of skills and expertise in computational science and statistical analysis that is coupled with many years of working to improve public health. He is well positioned to support and advance the scientific foundations of the work of the PHDL, and is a welcome addition to the leadership of the laboratory.”

Pyne previously served as a professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad. Formerly he held the prestigious post of P. C. Mahalanobis Chair, as well as professor and head of bioinformatics in the C. R. Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science. He is a former senior research fellow of the Indian Statistical Institute. Pyne is the founding chairman of the Computer Society of India’s Special Interest Group on Big Data Analytics, and also leads the Health Analytics Network.

Pyne received his doctorate from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, working simultaneously in the departments of computer science and molecular genetics and microbiology. He conducted his postdoctoral research in the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and then worked at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School.

Pyne’s research interests include big data in life sciences and health informatics, computational statistics, and high-dimensional data modeling. He is actively engaged in promoting big data research and training activities, serving on high-level advisory committees. He served as editor of Big Data Analytics: Methods and Applications (Springer, 2016) and co-edited the two-volume Handbook of Statistics: Disease Modelling and Public Health (Elsevier, 2017).

As Pyne assumes his new responsibilities, former director John Grefenstette will continue his long-term association with the PHDL. Grefenstette is professor of health policy and management and a PHDL senior scientist. He was the inaugural PHDL director, serving in this role from 2009-14.

Pyne was featured in Pittsburgh Quarterly as one of "Professionals new to Pittsburgh."


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