Public Release:  CMU's Kathryn Roeder to receive Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in Statistical Sciences award

Carnegie Mellon University

PITTSBURGH--Carnegie Mellon University's Kathryn Roeder has been chosen to receive the Janet L. Norwood Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Statistical Sciences. The Norwood Award, named after the first woman commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and a past president of the American Statistical Association (ASA), is given annually by the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health to recognize contributions to statistical sciences by women.

Roeder, professor of statistics in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1994. Also a faculty member in CMU's Lane Center for Computational Biology, Roeder has played a pivotal role in developing the foundations of DNA forensic inference. Her current research focuses on statistical genomics and the genetic base of complex disease with an emphasis on autism.

"Kathryn Roeder is a gifted statistician, researcher and colleague," said John Lehoczky, dean of the Dietrich College and the Thomas Lord University Professor of Statistics and Mathematical Sciences. "Like Janet Norwood, Kathryn is at the top of her field. Her contributions to statistical genetics are of great importance, and they will leave a lasting imprint on the field. Honoring her with this award will encourage other exceptional women to pursue research in statistical genetics."

Roeder will receive the Norwood Award at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11 at UAB. She also will give a talk titled "Statistics and Genetics Open a Window into Autism," which explores her work that has helped identify many genes that affect a child's risk for autism. The research suggests that autism spectrum disorders are caused by variations in multiple unrelated locations within the genome and have provided scientists with a basis for future gene discovery, diagnostics and therapeutics.

"A major implication of modeling mutations in conjunction with gene networks is that it provides a clear path forward for genetics research into the underpinning of autism," Roeder said. "From a statistical perspective, these kinds of data give us a roadmap for developing analytical methods for even deeper inference, including further investigating functionally related genes together with the genetic mutations to redefine the neurobiology of autism. This is the International Year of Statistics, and it is surely an exciting time to be a statistician. The opportunities to have an impact on scientific inquiry have never been better."

Roeder received her bachelor's degree in wildlife resources from the University of Idaho and her Ph.D. in statistics from Pennsylvania State University. She is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and a fellow of ASA and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. The Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies has honored her for her exceptional statistical work with the Presidents' Award and Snedecor Award.


For more information on the Norwood Award, visit

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