Faculty Spotlight: Jiebiao Wang
Jiebiao Wang started his education at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, where he earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in statistics. He then became interested in biostatistics and pursued a doctoral degree in biostatistics at the University of Chicago. Wang moved to Pittsburgh in 2017 to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Statistics and Data Science at Carnegie Mellon University and then began his career at Pitt in January 2020.
What brought you to the University of Pittsburgh?
The supportive and friendly research environment in Pitt Biostats matches my research interests very well. The faculty members serve as my role models, and I always benefit a lot from communicating with them. The world-class biomedical research at Pitt and UPMC provides rich opportunities for me to expand collaborations, motivating my own methodological research. My wife is also a faculty member in quantitative methods at Pitt, and I did my postdoctoral training at Carnegie Mellon. These factors naturally made Pitt my top choice.
Tell us about some of your research interests and why are you passionate about this topic.
When I got involved in biostatistics, I was mainly interested in mixed-effects models and missing data. I was attracted by their statistical elegance after reading several excellent textbooks and papers on longitudinal and missing data. Then at the University of Chicago, I was introduced to the colorful world of statistical genomics. I got a chance to touch a broad spectrum of genomics data, including whole-genome sequencing, RNA sequencing, and proteomics. At Carnegie Mellon University, I became familiar with the emerging single-cell data and psychiatric studies.
My research interests lie in designing statistical methods to extract meaningful information from massive biological data. These methods span from machine learning methods for prediction to causal inference methods for explanation. I think it is cool to develop methods and software to solve real biomedical problems.
What is your favorite part of being a Biostatistician?
As a biostatistician, I like deriving statistical methods and developing computational software to turn huge biomedical data into interpretable results. I try to make my methods sound in terms of statistics, and my favorite part of being a biostatistician is to see that the applications also make sense in science. It is fantastic to exchange ideas with scientists when I can identify or develop a tool to answer their questions.
How do you spend your free time outside of work?
After our daughter was born seventeen months ago, my wife and I started to spend most of our free time with her, and it is joyful. When weather permits, we enjoy taking her to explore different hiking trails in Pittsburgh. She toddles along the trail together with other children and dogs, watching deer or various plants in the beautiful nature. It is fun to witness the achievement of milestones in her life.
“I love all the places I have spent time in and appreciate the help of all the people I have met.”