The Department would like to recognize Tengfei Li, PhD, for being named institutional investigator and Subcontract P.I. for a collaborative study — “Analysis of Big Data Squared in Biomedical Studies” – funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in September 2018 ($318K+) to Yale University P.I. and Professor of Biostatistics Dr. Heping Zhang.

Over a nine-month period, Dr. Li serves as statistical tool developer for this study to integrate high-dimensional imaging, genetic, and clinical information using data from the University of North Carolina Brain Development Study (UNC-EBD). The results of the UNC-EBD were published in October 2018. Findings concluded that adult-like functional brain connections for emotional regulation emerge during the first year of life, as examined within a unique cohort of 900+ offspring of mothers with schizophrenia and healthy controls that were followed during pregnancy and post-natally at 2 weeks, and at 1, 2, 4, and 6 years of age.

Li’s role over the project period (6/5/18 – 2/28/19) is ensuring that: 1) all genetic data, all neuroimaging data, and all clinical/behavioral data from the UNC-EBD project has undergone thorough quality control; 2) UNC-EBD data are accurately analyzed; and 3) results from UNC-EBD and other “Big Data” projects (eg, Hortonworks Cybersecurity Platform) are appropriately interpreted and disseminated. In these efforts, Dr. Li will also be assisted by UNC Professor of Biostatistics Dr. Hongtu Zhu in overseeing data management, statistical analyses, image analysis, higher level computer programming and reporting results.

Li stated: “My significant role in this study gives me invaluable leadership experience as an early-career investigator working increasingly with large award studies. By accumulating experience in making analysis plans and research strategies, big data management, methodologies, packages and softwares development in imaging genetic studies, I can offer more advanced statistical tool analysis skills in future studies where I am an investigator.”