our alumni

Huiru Chang, MA

Huiru Chang, Biostatistics MA student.

How did you become interested in biostatistics/bioinformatics?

Prior to pursuing my master's degree in biostatistics, my research experience was in the field of nutrition. I've always had a strong and sincere feeling of duty to help improve the health of individuals. Ever since I gained more exposure to fieldwork and became increasingly aware of global epidemics, I felt as if my responsibilities to help stretched beyond the provision of patient care. Biostatistics is an exciting field that merges my passion and skill, in which biostatisticians use the tools of statistics to help solve pressing issues in public health and medicine. Great examples include understanding what causes cancer and whether new drugs will work in the field of medicine. 

Why did you choose UB?

UB is one of the leading public research university in the United States. The graduate programs at UB are well known for having a rigorous and challenging curriculum. I have benefited tremendously from the great diversity of people and thinking, the friendly learning environment, and the practical experience with mentors and collaborators. I enjoy my life and work here and appreciated the strong and caring support throughout the university.

Tell me about your experience in the Bioinformatics and Biostatistics program?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the theoretical and applied courses in statistics. I acquired the systemic and in-depth knowledge on study design, analysis, evaluation, and result interpretation which has made me more confident in my research abilities.

I have collaborated as part of a team of students and professors from epidemiology, sociology, geography, economics and with international collaborators, to study the global trends, lifestyle risk factors, and prevention of childhood obesity. It was a great experience to work on a long-term project with a group of distinguished scholars.

I also worked at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, was involved in the Flaxseed and Cancer Risk study. We aimed to investigate the relationship between diet, gut microbiome, race, host genetics, and breast cancer risk. Through this, I’ve had the unique opportunity to obtain exposure to clinical data and learn to model metabolic and genetic networks. 

What did you enjoy the most about the your program?

The practical training in biostatistics program is very attractive and enjoyable. It encourages students to work closely with faculty, promotes the exploration of career options and generates collaborative opportunities with other public health professionals. Through the participation in collaborative and interdisciplinary research, I have dedicated myself to help promote health across broader communities and populations. 

How does receiving a degree from UB set you apart?

With the solid theoretical knowledge and the valuable hands-on experiences that I gained in the program, I hope to become a good researcher who can “see through” the problem beyond the symptoms and draw valid conclusions from the ever-expanding sources of information. I believe the education I received from UB will help prepare me to become a strong candidate in the job market and have far-reaching impacts on my future career.