Columbia Professor Shaw-Hwa Lo Honored for Using Statistics to Solve Societal Problems

Among his Columbia colleagues and students, Shaw-Hwa Lo is known as a brilliant statistician, a dedicated teacher and an innovative researcher. Lo, a Professor of Statistics, has taught at Columbia for nearly 30 years. He began his career as a mathematical statistician and his early contributions to the field were in the arcane-sounding areas of Asymptotics Theory, Survival Analysis, and Resampling Methods. But in the late 1990s, he expanded his reach by using statistical methods to understand the burgeoning field of genetics. Back then, advances in genome studies had increased the size of genetic data and identified genetic variants responsible for several diseases. How to predict which variants caused what diseases became a central question of the time. Lo merged statistics and molecular biology so as to quantify 100 millions of markers (SNPs) in DNA, helping ultimately to decode the human genome. He also built statistical models to identify genes associated with certain diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome, breast cancer and leukemia.  

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