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Applications and Careers In Statistics Purdue University Science 111 Presentation March 21, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Applications and Careers In Statistics Purdue University Science 111 Presentation March 21, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Applications and Careers In Statistics Purdue University Science 111 Presentation March 21, 2005

2 Outline What is Statistics? What do statisticians do? Statistics in the Community Research at Purdue Our research interests

3 What is Statistics? The science of collecting, organizing, and interpreting numerical facts The science of understanding data and making decisions in the face of uncertainty The art of making numerical conjectures about puzzling questions The construction of useful information out of data

4 Where Can Statisticians Contribute? Business and Industry Health and Medicine Natural Resources and Sciences Education Government, Media, and Law

5 Business and Industry Manufacturing Improve product quality Increase efficiency of processes Marketing Conduct sample surveys Determine product viability Engineering Make consistent product Predict product life Computing Software design and development Efficient implementation of complex analytic tools

6 Health and Medicine Epidemiology Calculate cancer incidence rates Monitor disease outbreaks Public Health Design community efforts Education programs Pharmacology Drug discovery, development, and approval Ensure validity of results in clinical trials Genetics Identify potential indicators for specific diseases or traits Develop effective plant and animal breeding strategies

7 Natural Resources and Sciences Agriculture Study pesticides to maximize crop yield Evaluate differences in crop management Ecology Study changes in local and global climate Develop strategies to improve the environment Chemistry Predict shape of large molecules Analysis of mass spectrometry data Biology Seek to better understand why insects cluster Identify genes related to a particular disease

8 Education Develop effective teaching strategies Research appropriate and informative evaluation (testing) instruments Identify risk factors for bullying, dropping out, failing Help students acquire quantitative reasoning skills

9 Government, Media, and Law Government Agencies Design and implement effective sampling strategies Estimate the U.S. unemployment rate Track and report changes in the economy Regulations on stock trading, drug approval, pollution Journalism Effective communication of statistical ideas to a broad audience Participation in education efforts Expert Witness Testify in court cases involving DNA evidence, salary discrepancies, discrimination, and disease clusters

10 Skills Needed By Statisticians Quantitative Skills Statistics, Mathematics, Science Problem-Solving Skills Analysis, Teamwork Communication Skills Verbal, Written Computer Programming Foundation in Field of Application

11 What is STATCOM? A student-run volunteer organization to provide free statistical expertise to the local community Primarily graduate students in Purdue Department of Statistics Work with local non-profit and government groups An opportunity to develop consulting, leadership, teamwork, and communication skills

12 Statistics in Local Government Sagamore Parkway Task Force How should Sagamore Parkway be improved to make it safer and more attractive to residents and new businesses? West Lafayette Strategic Plan What should the citys priorities be and where should it spend taxpayers money?

13 Statistics in the Schools Are state funds allocated fairly across school districts? Do schools perform differently on standardized tests, and if so, why? How can teachers identify students needing extra help?

14 Statistics in Libraries What genres are the most popular? Where should the library spend its money? Does location within the library affect checkout rates?

15 Statistics in Community Organizations How effective are a rehabilitation centers programs? Why is there high staff turnover at some organizations? How can an organization increase the response rate of a survey? Which community services should be expanded?

16 Benefits of STATCOM Provide students with hands-on experience Improve relations between university and local community Assist local organizations that would not normally seek statistical consulting services Allow students to give back to the local community

17 Statistical Consulting at Purdue: Samples Advice on experimental design and analysis for: Determining the best balance of corn and soy in the diets of lambs in Tunisia to maximize Nitrogen retention and body weight gain Evaluating the effects of different weed control strategies on the growth of new hardwood forest growth in Alabama Investigating how cockroaches past diets affect what baits they find most appealing

18 Fields of Statistics Research at Purdue Health and Nutrition Bioinformatics Computational Methods Computational Finance Mathematical Physics Quality Control

19 Research Example – Microarrays Study gene expression levels in different conditions (e.g., cancer vs. noncancer) Labs use this technology to identify genes related to a particular condition

20 Statistical Issues with Microarrays Accounting for different sources of variability Measuring gene expression levels Combining results from multiple laboratories Massive data sets Multiple testing Visualization techniques Defining significance

21 Different Results From Multiple Microarray Studies Need to reconcile differences between labs results

22 Combining Results From Multiple Microarray Studies Meta-analysis The analysis of analyses Research synthesis Accounting for known differences between experiments Dependence structure Experiments from the same lab, for example Efficient implementation Analyze all 13,000 genes (mouse data) quickly

23 Tackling Malnutrition in Young Children Corn is a staple food in Latin America, Sub- Saharan Africa, and parts of Asia The quality of protein in corn is poor Malnutrition is a common problem in places where corn is the main source of food

24 A Genetic Solution to Poor Protein Quality


26 How Do You Know It Works? What kind of experiment would you do? What would you measure?

27 Quantifying the Nutritional Benefits Does the body take up the protein? Does it lead to better health and growth in children? Are families who eat QPM instead of regular corn better off?

28 Does the Body Take Up the Protein? Six children in Guatemala fed QPM or milk (1969) Eight children in Peru fed QPM, regular corn, or milk protein (1980) Another six children in Peru fed QPM, regular corn, or milk protein (1989)...

29 Does It Lead to Better Health and Growth? Twenty children in Peru fed QPM or milk formula (1990) 134 children in India (1977), but the study wasnt published...

30 Are Families Better Off? Studies have been done in communities and schools in: Mexico Guatemala Brazil Ghana Ethiopia India

31 Who Needs It Most?

32 Summary Statistics is a widely-used tool in virtually all fields of science and technology There are substantial open research questions in statistics, and there is great room for growth Statistical consulting at Purdue serves both on- campus researchers and non-profit organizations in the local community You can develop the necessary skills to become a statistician or to use statistical tools in your field of interest

33 Thank You! References: Samuels and Witmer (1999). Statistics for the Life Sciences. Freedman, Pisani, and Purves (1998). Statistics. Moore and McCabe (1999). Introduction to the Practice of Statistics. Careers in Statistics: A World of Opportunity. Presented by the American Statistical Association, available at Purdue University Department of Statistics

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