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Our biostatistics people

Ō mātou tāngata

Meet the members of our Biostatistics Centre who provide research design and research method expertise to Health Sciences researchers on Dunedin Campus at the University of Otago.

Meet the biostatistics team

Biostatistics team 2022 image
From left: Dr Ella Iosua, Dr Jill Haszard, Research Associate Professor Claire Cameron, Professor Robin Turner, Mr Andrew Gray, Ms Elise Velenski, Dr Ari Samaranayaka.

Professor Robin Turner, Director

Robin Turner 2021 imageProfessor Robin Turner is head of the Centre and is passionate about Biostatistical research and teaching. Her research areas of interest include patient preferences, shared decision-making, diagnostic test accuracy, screening and risk prediction.

She enjoys the challenge of applying statistical methods to health-related studies and developing novel methods. Robin currently runs the introductory biostatistics short course and teaches into Health Sciences First Year. If you are interested in developing as a biostatistician or undertaking a research degree within the Centre please contact her.

Email Director.biostatistics-centre@otago.ac.nz

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Research Associate Professor Claire Cameron

Claire Cameron 2021 imageResearch Associate Professor Claire Cameron particularly likes to be a member of a research team contributing methodological expertise to a project. This means early involvement in a project with the analysis of the data being part of the role. She can also provide advice on the design of studies, including sample size calculations, analysis of data, interpretation of results, and assistance with preparation of papers for submission to journals.

She has worked with official statistics, hospital data, and wildlife. She has also taught statistics at first and second year level. Her PhD investigated the use of open population capture-recapture models to estimate diabetes prevalence and incidence in Otago.

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Mr Andrew Gray

Andrew Gray 2021 imageMr Andrew Gray has specialist skills in longitudinal data analysis, power and sample size estimation, structural equation models, item-response models and in the fields of cancer, nutrition and physical activity, and paediatrics.

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Dr Jill Haszard

Jill Haszard 2021 imageDr Jill Haszard works in the Division of Sciences as well as the Biostatistics Centre (on contract to the Department of Medicine). Jill has a PhD in Human Nutrition so she brings that experience into her role as a biostatistician. She has particular expertise in paediatric research along with dietary assessment, feeding practices, physical activity, sleep, gut microbiota, food environment, and body composition.

Jill has experience with a variety of study designs including surveys, randomised controlled trials, cross-over trials, longitudinal observational studies, and validation projects. Jill’s personal area of research includes the development of methods for compositional data – especially 24-hour time-use and gut microbiota.

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Dr Ella Iosua

Ella Iosua 2021 imageDr Ella Iosua has substantial expertise in the field of cancer including examining mortality, services, awareness and perception, and risk factors. She also has aided investigations in longitudinal studies of children's eating behaviours.

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Dr Ari Samaranayaka

Ari Samaranayaka 2021 imageDr Ari Samaranayaka is a Biostatistician (Senior Research Fellow) with research interests in a spectrum of study types involving cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys, experiments with repeated measures, and correlated panel data. He has expertise in designing such studies in a wide range of health related disciplines including epidemiology, dentistry, internal medicine, surgery, physiotherapy, nephrology, and pathology. He has experience on using of administrative data from sources such as ACC, hospital discharges, police records for scientific research within limits of their pros and cons.

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Affiliates of the Centre

Dave Barson

Dave Barson thumbnailDave Barson works as a Data Manager with the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine. He specialises in utilising large routinely collected administrative health data, linking disparate data sources, data collection and management. Dave currently applies this knowledge as a member of the Injury Prevention Research Unit and the Pharmacoepidemiology Research Network. Dave also has considerable expertise in the use of online data collection tools such as REDCap and LimeSurvey.

Associate Professor Gabrielle Davie

Gabrielle Davie thumbnail

Associate Professor Gabrielle Davie is a health data researcher in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine. She has a background including a master's in Biostatistics from the University of Melbourne and 20 years of involvement in quantitative research projects. She has considerable research expertise with using routinely collected datasets in health research over a range of areas including injury, prehospital care and rural health. Gabrielle leads a team of data managers / programmers that provide crucial expertise in research projects across the University.

Brandon de Graaf

Brandon de Graaf thumbnail

Brandon de Graaf is a health data scientist in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine. He has a keen interest in data capture, processing, process optimisation and automation, database management systems and data warehouses, and machine learning. Brandon also has specific expertise in geocoding, geospatial mapping, linking datasets, preparing and running online surveys, automating repetitive processes, and generally finding better ways to solve data problems and keep projects running smoothly.

Professor John Pickering

John Pickering image 2022Professor John Pickering Ahorangi Rangahau (Research Professor) John Pickering is a kaipūtaiao (scientist) and kaitātara koiora (biostatistician) in Christchurch with the Rangahau Manawa o Ōtautahi (Christchurch Heart Institute) and Big Data and Ageing research groups of University of Ōtago Christchurch, and the Emergency medicine research group of Christchurch Hospital. His interests include optimising the use of biomarkers for diagnosis, clinical pathway development and translational research in acute care, and using the interRAI data to improve the wellbeing of older persons.

Associate Professor Trudy Sullivan

Trudy Sullivan 2022 thumbnailAssociate Professor Trudy Sullivan is a health economist based in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine with a consultancy position in the Dunedin School of Medicine where she supports and works with clinicians and researchers to integrate health economics into their research. Her main area of research is measuring and valuing health-related quality of life. Her other research interests include multi-criteria decision making, implementing priority-setting frameworks, cost-effectiveness analysis and applied health economics in general.

Dr Jimmy Zeng

Jimmy Zeng imageDr Jimmy Zeng is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine. His research interests lie in the development of Statistical methodology and application of statistics in health-related areas including epidemiology, public health and clinical research. He has research expertise in model selection, model averaging, longitudinal data analysis and causal inference.

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Research method expertise

The Biostatistics Centre has the goal of improving the quality of health research undertaken within the Division of Health Sciences. We provide rigorous and timely advice and support to researchers whom we work with in a collaborative and collegial manor. We have broad expertise in the application of statistics to health-related research across all aspects of the life cycle of research including study design, analysis and interpretation and writing of results.

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Postgraduate students

Postgraduate students in the Biostatistics Centre

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Christchurch and Wellington Campus contacts