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UK Graduate Student’s Paper Wins National Award

Contact: Ralph Derickson


Photo of Xuejun Peng
Xuejun Peng

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Peng described his work in statistics and bioinformatics as an interdisciplinary area that is “growing very fast, an area critical to basic biology and to biotechnology and posing new questions in statistics.”

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August 1 , 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- A research paper, written by a University of Kentucky graduate student that may help biomedical researchers make better decisions about microarray expression in gene research, has won a national award.

Xuejun Peng, who will receive a doctorate in statistics from the UK College of Arts and Sciences in August, will receive his award and a $1,000 cash prize at the 2003 annual meeting of the American Statistical Association (ASA) set for Aug. 2-7 in San Francisco, Calif. His dissertation research is supervised by Arnold Stromberg, Richard Kryscio, Constance Wood, and William Griffith in the Department of Statistics and Chuck Staben, Department of Biology.

Peng’s work has been supported by the Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (KBRIN), funded by the National Institutes of Health. Among Peng’s collaborators in the UK Chandler Medical Center was Philip Landfield of the Pharmacology Department. Stacy R. Lindborg, chair of the ASA’s biopharmacy program at the 2003 conference, said Peng’s paper was chosen for the award from 20 strong papers submitted from 12 major universities.

Peng, who has won many other awards for his statistical research while a student at UK, said the statistical conference attracts researchers from hospitals, universities and biotechnology companies around the world.

A native of China who received his medical diploma from Hunan Medical University in China in 1994, Peng has worked the past four years as a research assistant, specializing in statistical consulting in the UK Chandler Medical Center. He has taken a new position as a biostatistical researcher at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. He begins his new job Aug. 1.

Peng described his work in statistics and bioinformatics as an interdisciplinary area that is “growing very fast, an area critical to basic biology and to biotechnology and posing new questions in statistics.” He said his paper documents how to statistically analyze the expressioin of thousands of genes at the same time. These statistical methods allow researchers to identify with much greater confidence and sensitivity those genes whose expression changes during a biological process. Understanding changes in gene expression is critical to understanding many fundamental biological issues, such as the differences between cancer cells and normal cells, or changes that occur during aging.


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