Dr. Paul J. Nietert, Associate Professor of Biostatistics, will serve as the Principal Investigator (Director) for the MCRC Methodology Core. He will be assisted by Dr. V. Ramakrishnan (Professor of Biostatistics), who will serve as Associate Director, Dr. Bethany Wolf (Assistant Professor of Biostatistics), and Dr. Paula Ramos. The overall objective of this Core is to provide rigorous methodological and biostatistical support to the MCRC investigators and to lead investigations into racial/ethnic components of rheumatic disease that are focused in methodological areas including studies of gene x gene and gene x environment interactions. The Methodology Core will serve all proposed projects as well as any future pilot projects of the Center, not only by providing methodological and biostatistical support, but also by providing important teaching functions, e.g. regular meetings for presentation and critique of proposals and draft manuscripts by Center investigators. In MUSC's prior MCRC (2003-2008), Dr. Nietert was the primary collaborating biostatistician (40% FTE) and co-Director. He is currently the Director of the Biostatistics Epidemiology and Research Design Program Director within the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research (SCTR) Institute, our institution's Clinical and Translational Science Award. This experience has provided him with opportunities to lead multiple projects and assist with development of translational research protocols, including small pilot projects and large clinical trials. Dr. Nietert and Dr. Ramakrishnan have extensive experience in facilitating the development of research through biostatistical core facilities, and Dr. Wolf has also worked within two of such entities (our cancer center and our CTSA program) since receiving her PhD. Dr. Ramos will provide additional expertise specifically in the area of analyses of genetics data. The master's trained statistician who will assist us, Ms. Stephanie Shaftman, MSc, MS, has collaborated with rheumatologists for 7 years, and will also help make our Core strong.
The specific aims of the Methodology Core will be to provide 1) data management;2) biostatistical collaboration;3) novel biostatistics methods development;and 4) didactic training in clinical research methodology. In addition to participating in each of the major MCRC projects, the Core will collaborate with investigators from our research base who receive pilot project funding as well as examine research questions within their areas of methodological expertise.
The purpose of this Core will be to help the MCRC scientists with managing, analyzing, and reporting their data. We will also help MCRC investigators make sure their study designs are optimal, and we will perform some of our own research to find new ways of handling large amounts of information from people's genes and their environments. Finally, we will help teach new scientists about statistics.
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