UB School of Public Health and Health Professions names new chair of biostatistics

Release Date: October 25, 2023

Portrait of Jean Wactawski-Wende in Farber Hall.
“He has a strong record of research, service, teaching and mentorship over a lengthy academic career. ”
Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, dean, School of Public Health and Health Professions
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Douglas Landsittel, PhD, has been named the new chair of the Department of Biostatistics in the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Landsittel will join UB in February from the Indiana University-Bloomington School of Public Health, where he has served as the James A. Caplin, M.D. Chair in Evidence-based Public Health and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics since 2021.

“He has a strong record of research, service, teaching and mentorship over a lengthy academic career,” said Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions. “Importantly, he is an experienced leader, most recently in a role as a department chair. He looks forward to supporting and building a strong sense of collegiality and collaboration within the department and our school, and across the university.”

Wactawski-Wende thanked Jeffrey Miecznikowski, PhD, associate professor of biostatistics, for his service as interim chair, and Gregory Wilding, PhD, who served as department chair for more than seven years.

“Their leadership has been instrumental in the department's success and lays a stable groundwork for the new chair,” she said.

She also thanked Pauline Mendola, PhD, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, who led the search committee.

Prior to joining Indiana University-Bloomington, Landsittel held numerous academic appointments and leadership positions at the University of Pittsburgh — from which he received his bachelor’s in applied mathematics and PhD in biostatistics — over two decades.

At Pittsburgh, he served as a professor of biomedical informatics, biostatistics, medicine, and clinical and translational science in the School of Medicine, where he was also associate director of the Center for Research on Healthcare (CRHC) Data Center and director of biostatistics (for research) at the Starzl Transplant Institute.

He was also director of the Expanding National Capacity in Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) through Training & Collaboration (ENACT) Network, which developed training for, and collaborations with, institutions that serve underrepresented groups.

With an extensive background in occupational injury and exposures, Landsittel also served as chair of the Safety and Occupational Health Study Section for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He was previously a team leader, acting branch chief, and senior statistician across three different divisions of NIOSH.

Landsittel has years of experience mentoring faculty, postdoctoral students, and graduate students. He has collaborated on more than 170 published manuscriptsand has a consistent history of grant support.

He also has a national reputation in biostatistics, data coordinating centers, biomarker studies, and cancer research. He leads the data coordinating center for the longest running study of polycystic kidney disease and is the director of the Data Coordinating Center for the Discovery Network of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and currently serves as the Council of Sections representative for Statistics in Epidemiology. He was an appointed member (2013-2017) of the NIH Kidney, Nutrition, Obesity and Diabetes Study Section and the Editorial Board for the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Landsittel has served on over 100 other ad hoc review committees for agencies such as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), NIOSH, the Department of Defense, and several National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes.

“I am thrilled and honored to be the next chair of biostatistics for the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions. The department has a long-established record of educational excellence and scholarship, including both methodological innovations and impactful scientific applications,” Landsittel says. “As the impact of our field continues to grow throughout biomedical research and society at large, our program will be a leading force in training the next generation of biostatisticians.”

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