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Biostatistics Doctoral Student Profiles

Learn more about the focus of our students' research in Drexel Dornsife's PhD in Biostatistics program.

Table of Contents:

Kelsey Alexovitz, MA

Kelsey Alexovitz headshot

Degrees: BS in Applied Mathematics & Statistics from Stony Brook University; MA in Biostatistics from Brown University; MBA in Management from Stony Brook University.

Research Interests:

  • Spatial statistics
  • Environmental health
  • Longitudinal data analysis

Professional Experience: Before beginning her PhD at Drexel, Kelsey worked as a statistical programmer at the Baltimore Research and Education Foundation on joint clinical trials with the VA and NIDA regarding substance abuse therapies.

Contact: or personal website

Giancarlo (Gianni) Anfuso, MS

Giancarlo (Gianni) Anfuso  headshot

Degrees: BS in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania; MS in Biostatistics from Drexel University

Gianni's Focus: My current research focuses on developing Bayesian spatial models to examine life expectancy and disparities in life expectancy across census tracts in Philadelphia. For my doctoral research fellowship at the Urban Health Collaborative, I am currently providing support for research that conducts similar analyses across 6 cities in Chile.

Research Interests:

  • Spatial tatistics
  • Bayesian methods
  • Urban health
  • Health disparities


Ruby Bayliss

Degrees: BS in Mathematics from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Research Interests:

  • Environmental health
  • Urban health
  • Health disparities

Professional Experience: Before starting the doctoral program in Biostatistics at Drexel, Ruby worked as a research assistant for Dr. Meghan Mason, where she analyzed the relationship between behaviors and exposures associated to pathogen carriage at a large community gathering.

Contact: or personal website

Jenna Cody Carcione, MS

Jenna Cody Carcione headshot

Degrees: BA in Neuroscience with a minor in Statistics at Swarthmore College; MS in Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Research Interests:

  • Adaptive designs for clinical trials
  • Multiplicity in group sequential designs
  • Predictive/prognostic biomarkers & personalized medicine

Professional Experience: Jenna works as a Principal Statistician at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Prior to her current role, Jenna worked as a Senior Statistician at Johnson & Johnson, Biostatistician at IQVIA, Statistical Programmer at IQVIA, and various academic research positions.


Hal Chen, MS

Hal Chen headshot

Degrees: BS in Biological Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University; MS in Biostatistics from Drexel University.

Hal's Focus:

  • Dissertation research: Application and extension of machine learning methods (specifically the fused Lasso) to urban and environmental health data.
  • Doctoral research fellow: Investigating effects of the urban/built environment and climate change on health inequities and outcomes in cities as part of the SALURBAL project.

Research Interests:

  • Machine learning applications in public health
  • Urban and environmental health
  • Statistical consulting

Professional Experience: Previously, as research assistant at the Urban Health Collaborative, Hal has contributed to statistical analysis for multiple research projects ranging from an investigation into the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints on road safety to a study on gender inequality and women’s achievements in Latin America. He has also assisted with updating and managing large city- and country-level datasets for various projects.


Saishi Cui, MS

Saishi Cui headshot

Degrees: BS in Biotechnology from Shandong University School of Life Science in China; MS in Biostatistics from Georgetown University.

Research Interests:

  • Omics data analysis
  • Machine learning methods employed in biomedical field
  • Statistical methods in Meta-analysis
  • Bayesian Inference

Professional Experience: Before beginning his study of Biostatistics, Saishi minored in Bioinformatics under the department of Biotechnology, and he was involved in a project about sequencing marine microbial genome. At Georgetown University, he worked on a project of which aimed to optimize the algorithm about intra-tumor heterogeneity from high-throughput DNA sequencing data, and he got involved in another practicum of meta-analysis about circulating cell-free DNA as a diagnosis and prognosis tool for prostate cancer.

Contact: or personal website

Jintong Hou, MS

Degrees: BS in Clinical Medicine from Capital Medical University, China; Master of Clinical Medicine from Capital Medical University, China; MS in Biostatistics from Drexel University

Focus: My master’s final project was to examine the relationship between total oxytocin dose and the risk of primary cesarean section among low-risk women using lasso, generalized additive model and random forest.

Md. Karimuzzaman, MS

Degrees: MS in Statistics, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh; BSc in Statistics, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh

Research Interests:

  • Longitudinal data analysis
  • Spatial statistics
  • Machine learning for public health
  • Survival analysis
  • Clinical trials

Publications: View list of publications

Professional Experience:

  • Research Associate and Teaching Fellow of Biostatistics at BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University
  • Adjunct Faculty, Statistics Department, Government Titumir College, Dhaka University, Bangladesh
  • Data Analyst, SAARC Development Funded Project

Contact: or personal website

Jihyeon (Ji) Kwon, MS

Degrees: BA in Statistics from Korea University; MS in Statistics from Wake Forest University

Research Interests:

  • Bayesian statistics
  • Spatiotemporal statistics
  • Disease mapping
  • Applications in public health, infectious diseases, and social sciences

Professional Experience: Jihyeon worked in the IT industry at NAVER, South Korea, where she analyzed Human Resource data after obtaining her BA in Statistics. Before joining Drexel, she also worked at Los Alamos National Lab as a post masters student where she developed a spatiotemporal model for Histoplasmosis.


John Pluta, MS

John Pluta headshot

Degrees: BS in Psychology from Drexel University; MS in Biostatistics from University of Pennsylvania

John’s Focus: John’s doctoral work will focus on developing new methods for the analysis of genetic data.

Research Interests:

  • Statistical genetics
  • Neuroimaging
  • Variable selection

Professional Experience: For many years, John has worked as a research scientist focusing on data-intensive biological systems, namely human imaging and genetics.

Yang Xu, MS

 Yang Xu headshot

Degrees: BS in Economics at Hebei Finance University; MS in Applied Statistics at West Chester University; MS in Biostatistics at Drexel University

Research Interests:

  • Violence and trauma
  • Health disparities

Focus: I have strong interest in public health issues, which lead me to pursue a PhD degree in biostatistics. Specifically, I am interested in developing statistical approaches to help minority groups and vulnerable populations.

Professional Experience:. Previously, I worked at Healing Hurt People Program under Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice at Drexel University during my master’s studies. I applied and compared different missing data approaches to tackle missing values problem in the data.

Learn more about research and learning opportunities available with Drexel Dornsife’s Master of Science (MS) in Biostatistics and PhD in Biostatistics.