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Post-doctoral Fellows, School of Public Health, Biostatistics and Global Health

Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Post-doctoral Fellows, School of Public Health, Biostatistics and Global Health

Tracking Code23599933111018Job Description

Applicants should apply at this link:

Do Not Apply through the BU Website.

The Departments of Biostatistics and Global Health at the Boston University School of Public Health are looking to hire multiple postdocs who will have unique opportunities to contribute to cutting-edge research in either or both of the following areas:

  1. Statistical modeling of infectious disease transmission and burden; and/or
  2. Vaccine epidemiology, infectious disease modeling, and causal inference.

The successful applicants will be primarily mentored by Dr. Laura White (Professor of Biostatistics) and Dr. Kayoko Shioda (Assistant Professor of Global Health). They will also be a part of “Epistorm: Center for Advanced Epidemic Analytics and Predictive Modeling Technology”, which is a part of the first national network for outbreak analytics and disease modeling assembled by the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics. Led by Dr. Alessandro Vespignani of Northeastern University, Epistorm is a multi-organization, collaborative project bringing together researchers from Northeastern University, Boston University, the University of California San Diego, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Indiana University, the University of Florida, and Ginkgo Bioworks, as well as several hospital networks. This postdoc position at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) offers numerous opportunities to be involved in projects led by Dr. White and Dr. Shioda including those in the Epistorm consortium. The postdoc will have opportunities to learn from multiple mentors. The postdoc will be able to expand their professional network among academic institutions, state/federal public health agencies, and hospital networks by being a key part of BUSPH, Epistorm, and the CDC’s Outbreak Analytics and Disease Modeling Network as well as the BU Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy & Research (CEID), Population Health Data Science Program (PHDS), and Hariri Institute for Computing.

Duration: Two years with possible extension

A. More descriptions of each project
More details on the two main projects are described below. Postdocs can choose to work on both or either of them. Postdocs will also have opportunities to be involved in or lead other research projects in related areas if interested.

1. Statistical modeling of infectious disease transmission and burden led by Dr. White
The objective of this project is to further methodology to better understand real (or near real) time dynamics of an infectious disease. This includes estimation of the reproductive number, serial interval, and other parameters related to transmission dynamics while accounting for missing data, mobility patterns, and reporting delays. The project can include development of software to implement methods, as well as further development of methodology, primarily in a Bayesian framework. There is also potential to work on other projects that Dr. White leads related to tuberculosis transmission dynamics and developing models to understand its spread among key populations. The postdoctoral fellow will have opportunities to work with experts in both fields, interact with departments of public health and participate in research with international collaborators in South Africa.

2. Vaccine epidemiology and causal inference led by Dr. Shioda
Our objective is to build a solid infrastructure for real-time assessment of vaccine effectiveness and safety in the general population, using causal inference approaches and target trial emulation. In collaboration with state public health agencies, we will tackle two significant challenges in real-time vaccine evaluation: 1) issues with linking public health data from different sources and 2) analytic challenges associated with evaluating multidose vaccines. The postdoc fellow will lead method development and data analysis in close collaboration with the state department of public health. The postdoc will have opportunities to travel to meet with state public health practitioners and discuss data collection and analysis.

B. Additional opportunities for research, teaching/mentoring, and career development
Postdoctoral fellows will have opportunities to publish multiple peer-reviewed articles as the first author and co-authors. Postdoc fellows will present findings at department seminars and domestic and/or international conferences. The primary mentors support postdoctoral fellows to gain new relevant skills, such as infectious disease modeling and causal inference, by facilitating their participation in short courses and workshops both within and outside BU (e.g., SISMID). BU/BUSPH offer an array of workshops and courses on computing skills (R, python, Linux, HPC cluster) and quantitative skills (machine learning, infectious disease modeling) that postdoc fellows can attend at no cost. They will have opportunities to attend in-person and/or online meetings with the Epistorm consortium and CDC’s Outbreak Analytics and Disease Modeling Network to learn about research and public health practices and expand their professional network. For interested applicants, the position also has the potential for grant writing and teaching opportunities (e.g., guest lecturing in introductory Biostatistics or infectious disease modeling courses at BUSPH.). The position will also allow for mentoring and supervision of doctoral, MS, and/or MPH students at BUSPH. BU offers a number of workshops on scientific writing, grant writing, teaching/mentoring, and career development that postdoc fellows can attend to gain new skills. In addition to primary mentors (Dr. White and Dr. Shoida), postdocs can select a career mentor in the Department of Global Health or Department of Biostatistics at BUSPH with whom they can have quarterly meetings to get advice on career development.

Required Skills

Competitive applicants will have the following qualifications but will also consider those with relevant and related training and interests.

  • PhD or equivalent doctoral degree in statistics, biostatistics, epidemiology, public health, ecology, quantitative biology, or any other related fields with strong computing skills
  • Strong experience with any of the following:
    • Bayesian statistics
    • Machine learning methods
    • Causal inference
    • Vaccine epidemiology research
    • Infectious disease modeling
  • Strong programming skills in R and/or python
  • Highly self-motivated, reliable, and have excellent communication and writing skills
  • Can work independently with minimal supervision
  • Ability to learn new methods and skills

D. Desired qualifications
Experience with Linux cluster computing environment is strongly preferred.
Experience with large administrative datasets is preferred.

E. Benefits and support offered by BU
BUSPH offers competitive benefits and comprehensive support packages for postdoctoral fellows, along with significant opportunities for professional development. To learn more about the array of benefits and support available, please visit the BU Human Resources page, BU Benefits Handbook, and BU Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs page.

Proposed salary: $70,000

F. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) statement
The Department of Biostatistics and the Department of Global Health at BUSPH believe that the cultural and social diversity of our faculty, post-docs, staff, and students is vitally important to the distinction and excellence of our research and academic programs. We are eager to have join our ranks a colleague who supports our institutional commitment to ensuring BU is inclusive, equitable, diverse, and a place where all constituents can thrive. BUSPH actively seeks to enrich its student, post-doc, and faculty ranks, recognizing that diversity of experience deepens the intellectual endeavor. We seek to embed—within our curricular and co-curricular activities—the principle that pluralism within a learning community is a source of insight and effectiveness.

Boston University is an AAU institution with a rich tradition dedicated to inclusion and social justice. We are proud that we were the first American university to award a Ph.D. to a woman and we continue that tradition of educating a diverse and talented student body. BUSPH takes the University’s commitment even further with its own detailed plan for fostering a diverse and inclusive community.

We are an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, natural or protective hairstyle, religion, sex, age, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, military service, pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition, or because of marital, parental, or veteran status. We are a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

Job LocationBoston, Massachusetts, United StatesPosition TypeFull-Time/Regular


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