School of Medicine

Division of Biostatistics: Integration into Institute for Informatics

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

With great enthusiasm, I am writing to you to announce that the Division of Biostatistics will be integrating into the Institute for Informatics (I2), effective Dec. 1.

The Division of Biostatistics is a medical school-wide facility engaged in research, biostatistical consultation, teaching and training. Its academic mission is grounded in biostatistical excellence in clinical, epidemiological and genetic studies. Its faculty possess superior leadership skills in a variety of areas including clinical trials, cardiovascular biostatistics, multicenter study coordination, family and genetic studies of human diseases, computing and statistical packages.

The teaching and training component of the division’s mission centers on a multidisciplinary graduate training program, and the division’s research activities include collaborative projects with numerous departments of the medical school, as well as independently funded multicenter epidemiological and family studies.

Washington University created I2 in 2016 to provide an academic and professional home for informatics science and practice. I2 spans the School of Medicine as well as partnerships with the McKelvey School of Engineering, Institute for Public Health, Brown School, Olin School of Business, Health Systems Innovation Lab and Center for Clinical Excellence at BJC HealthCare, and the Cortex Innovation Community.

I2 is led by Philip R.O. Payne, PhD, and draws upon a multidisciplinary team of faculty investigators, technical staff and trainees who are fully integrated with the departments and institutes comprising the School of Medicine and partnering academic units, providing a crosscutting community of practice that enhances and extends our academic and operational strengths.

The fields of health care and life sciences are experiencing a fundamental shift toward transdisciplinary, integrative and data-intensive approaches to research. These developments, coupled with the use of information technology platforms, are helping transform health care, achieving greater value alongside improved outcomes and safety. The complex data, information and knowledge needs associated with these changes require a comprehensive approach to biomedical informatics research, education and practice.

The coordination of the Division of Biostatistics within the Informatics Institute is critical to advancing research and health care delivery in this era of big data, and I am confident that this new and integrated approach to biomedical informatics and biostatistics will help us to have an even greater impact in these areas at Washington University.

Over the coming months, the leadership of I2 and the Division of Biostatistics will be working closely with their teams, members of the Executive Faculty, university leadership, and our faculty, staff and trainees to both ensure the smooth implementation of the integration between the two units, as well as to plan the future of biostatistics and biomedical data science in a way that capitalizes on the talents of our existing faculty and programs and allows us to take them to the next level of excellence.

On behalf of the Executive Faculty, university leadership and our partners at BJC HealthCare, I want to thank D.C. Rao, PhD, for his 40 years of service as the director of the Division of Biostatistics.  In this role, D.C. has made substantive contributions to the study of human disease, most notably hypertension and related metabolic diseases. Under his leadership, the Division of Biostatistics has become recognized at both the university and national levels for its leadership in biostatistics research, practice and education. Further, he has played a substantial role in the development of the field of genetic epidemiology, which involves developing statistical methods for evaluating the roles of nature and nurture in human disease.  Dr. Rao plans to step down from his role as director of the Division of Biostatistics at the end of December and will continue to serve as a faculty member and researcher after this transition in leadership.

This is a very exciting opportunity.  The collective accomplishments of these groups continue to enhance Washington University’s reputation as a world leader in medicine and health care.  I am confident they will continue to help advance medicine, education and research for the greater good, and I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish together over this next year and beyond.


David H. Perlmutter, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs
Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor
George and Carol Bauer Dean, School of Medicine