Basu makes the numbers add up for doctors

Sanjib Basu
Sanjib Basu

Northern Illinois University Professor of Statistics Sanjib Basu is helping to save lives.

Collaborating with physicians, nurses and other biomedical researchers (at NIU and other universities) he investigates what collections of genes and proteins might play important roles in the progression of, and survival from, cancer. His work has furthered advances in clinical oncology, cancer biology and genetic proteomics. The National Cancer Institute uses his CANSURV software to track and analyze cancer survival rates.

He also has helped doctors identify predictors for repeated heart-failure related hospitalizations, and he is one of only a handful of researchers (out of many) to have developed a clinical trial designs for biomarker development to be embraced by the healthcare industry.

In addition to his work in medicine, Basu also gained some acclaim for his work analyzing failure rates of computer hard drives and software, developing techniques that allowed for the development of richer models. The work was considered unique enough and important enough for him to secure an individual National Science Foundation grant, which few statisticians are granted.

That breadth of work is something that sets him apart in his field, colleagues say.

“I am always impressed by someone who can make fundamental contributions to statistical research while, at the same time, having an extensive interdisciplinary career,” said James Berger, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and past director of the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute.

“I found him the rare example of a nominee who had profound influence on the academic statistician community, the pharmaceutical industry biomedical researchers and government research institutions like the NCI and regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration,” said Debajvoti Sinha, a distinguished professor of statistics at Florida State University.

That wide ranging success has also secured for him a place of esteem among his colleagues in the realm of statistics. He is an honorary fellow of the American Statistical Association, an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, and is much sought after to give scholarly presentations and workshops at national and international conferences.

“He is recognized as one of the leading figures in statistical translation work in biomedicine by his peers and beyond,” says Peter Miller, a mathematician at the University of Texas at Austin.

In addition to publishing more than 75 refereed research papers in top journals, his research contributions have won him invitations to serve on editorial boards of Computational Statistics, Data Analysis and Statistics and the Probability Letters.

In short, Sanjib’s contemporaries say, he epitomizes everything that the title Presidential Research Professor represents.

“Sanjib is a world-class researcher, has made very substantial contributions in several important areas of statistics with high impact, and receiving some of the most prestigious honors and recognitions for his contributions and academic leadership,” said NIU mathematician Biswa Datta, himself an NIU Distinguished Research Professor.

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