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CONTACT: DEBRA VENZKE
UI COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
5203 Westlawn
(319) 335-9647
e-mail: debra-venzke@uiowa.edu

Release: June 28, 2002

UI graduate student wins Merck Predoctoral Fellowship in Biostatistics

Xinqun Yang, a University of Iowa College of Public Health graduate student in biostatistics, has been named the first-ever recipient of the Merck Predoctoral Fellowship in Biostatistics.

The fellowship, funded by a grant from Merck & Co., Inc., provides $105,000 over a three-year period to the UI College of Public Health to support a highly qualified individual working toward a doctoral degree in biostatistics at the UI. The award is intended to promote advanced genetics-oriented research and strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration in education and research.

The fellowship program consists of two years of academic coursework followed by a third year of dissertation research. Fellows are expected to focus their doctoral education on interdisciplinary approaches to advancing biostatistics and its applications to the public health and genetics sciences.

The award provides a stipend, tuition, training-related costs and travel to selected professional meetings. Recipients will also travel to Merck & Co., Inc. during their third year to present their doctoral research.

"It's a terrific honor for Xinqun, of course, but also for the Division of Statistical Genetics, to have one of our students win this award," said Veronica Vieland, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics, psychiatry and genetics and director of the Division of Statistical Genetics and the Center for Statistical Genetics Research (CSGR). "The Merck Fellowship is a wonderful mechanism for fostering talented biostatistics students who are committed to research careers at the intersection of statistics, genetics and public health."

Yang earned an M.S. degree in biostatistics from the UI in May 2002. He is currently a Ph.D. student in biostatistics, statistical genetics subtrack, and works as a research assistant for the CSGR. He previously earned a B.S. degree in applied chemistry in 1991 from Beijing Medical University School of Pharmacy in Beijing, China. He then earned a M.S.B.S. in biomedical science from the Medical College of Ohio department of surgery in 2000. His professional background includes seven years of work experience with pharmaceutical companies and two years of research experience in the molecular cell biology of cancer.