Meet alumna Shumei Sun

"Professor John Tukey of Princeton famously said that as a statistician he could play in everyone’s backyard. This observation applies to my own career, too. My most rewarding research experiences have been in working with scientists in other fields. I am the director of a data coordinating center for a multisite longitudinal study of febrile status epilepticus and its cerebral sequelae. I have also served as the director of the biomedical informatics Key Function of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) supported, in part, by VCU’s CTSA award. This position entailed applications of bioinformatics methods to the Virginia Health System EHR collection which dates back to 1986. I am also a PI on a cooperative agreement called ENVISION, devoted to developing agent-based and system dynamic computer models of the obesity epidemic." 

Shumei Sun (BIOS '83) has been funded continuously by the NIH since 1989 as PI on a series of R01 grants centered on the application of statistical methodology to the analysis of human growth and body composition from infancy through adulthood. This research focuses on the development of obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and the metabolic syndrome in the first and second decades of life. While at Wright State University from 1985-2007, she served as co-PI of the Fels Longitudinal Study (FLS) which has enrolled more than 2500 infants since 1930 and is now the largest and longest running longitudinal study of human growth and development in the world. As co-PI of the FLS, she was in charge of all data collection, editing, curation, storage and analysis. My colleagues and I were first to apply logistic regression analyses to predict the odds of being obese decades in the future, given certain anthropometric measurements in childhood. This body of research has provided fundamental evidence to support the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis. Over the past 12 years, as chair of the Department of Biostatistics in the School of Medicine at VCU, Sun has doubled the size of the faculty, initiated new courses in mathematical genetics, omics and informatics, and encouraged faculty members to seek collaborative funding. Now 70% of faculty salary support emanates from funding sources external to VCU. These efforts indicate how the department has been transformed over the past decade. 

Read more about Sun on her VCU profile.


Search for an Article