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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.

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

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: Hal is a doctoral fellow at the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative (UHC).

Research Interests:

  • Urban and environmental health
  • Spatial statistics
  • Health disparities

Professional Experience: As a research assistant at the UHC, Hal has contributed to 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 empowerment in Latin America. He has also assisted with updating and managing data 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: I am interested in applying statistical methods in the field of medicine and epidemiology. 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

Yuna Kim, MS

Yuna Kim headshot

Degrees: BS in Biology from State University of New York at Stony Brook; MS in Biostatistics from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health.

Research Interests:

  • Development of statistical methodology and its application for drawing inferences from genetic data
  • Understanding the genetic basis of human diseases and traits
  • Translating the genetic basis into clinical application

Professional Experience: Before beginning her study of Biostatistics, Yuna worked in ovarian cancer drug resistance research as a research assistant at the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB) within the Biotherapeutics Translational Research Center.

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.


Darius McDaniel, MSPH

Darius McDaniel  headshot

Degrees: BS in Mathematics from Alabama A&M University; MSPH in Public Health Informatics from Emory University

Research Interests:

  • Health disparities & inequities
  • Statistical consulting
  • Statistical/machine learning methods
  • Clinical trials

Professional Experience: Previously, Darius had served as a biostatistician and data scientist in the research areas of HIV, Tuberculosis, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Alzheimer's clinical trials and most recently the Covid-19 pandemic response at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. He also was an instructor of biostatistics and R programming at Emory University.

Dominique McDaniel, MS

Dominique McDaniel headshot

Degrees: BS in Mathematics from Cheyney University; MS in Applied Statistics from West Chester University; MS in Mathematical Statistics from Purdue University

Dominique’s Focus: Currently Dominique is focused on the development of Estimands for Clinical Trials utilizing causal inference in a Bayesian setting.

Research Interests:

  • Bayesian inference
  • Causal inference
  • Clinical trial – development

Professional Experience: Prior to starting her doctoral studies, Dominique worked in the pharmaceutical industry at Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis, IN. At Lilly Dominique analyzed data from phase III Clinical Trials for biologic medicines. Also, she collaborated with study teams on Bayesian analysis, Clinical Trial simulation and personalized medicine approaches for treatments in early phase development.

Melissa Meeker

Melissa Meeker headshot

Degrees: BS in Mathematics and Computer Science with a concentration in Statistics from Ursinus College.

Melissa’s Focus: Melissa is drawn to biostatistics within public health by the complex web of biological, environmental, and societal factors that need to be dissected in order to understand how to prevent illness.

Research Interests:

  • Developing problem specific methods to handle complex human health data

Professional Experience: Previously, Melissa has worked within the Institute for Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pennsylvania on a project to extend a feature selection algorithm in the hopes of being able to identify what parts of our genetics may cause a certain disease.

Contact: or personal website

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.