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Biostatistics Core


David Allison with Student

The Biostatistics Core of UAB's NORC was originally directed by the late Dr. Seng-Jaw Soong.  Dr. Soong was an outstanding statistician known as much for his organizational leadership as for his scientific accomplishments. Dr. Desmond served as the associate director of the NORC Biostatistics Core before Dr. Soong’s retirement.  Dr. Allison appointed Dr. Desmond as the acting director of the core in June 2005. Subsequently, the external advisory committee appointed Dr. Desmond as the director on May 11, 2006.  Other current core members include Dr. David Allison,  Dr. T. Mark Beasley and Dr. Young-il Kim.


The Biostatistics Core provides statistical consultation on study design, research proposal development and manuscript submission; provides statistical analyses for NORC projects including statistical genetics, and interfaces with other research cores on the UAB campus; participates in teaching and training activities of the NORC; and develops methodologies for novel experimental designs for members in the field and statistical analyses as needed.

Table 1. Specialized statistical services provided by the NORC BC
Mediation analyses
Missing data analysis
Structural equation modeling
Complex sample design
Genetic data analysis
Epidemiologic analysis of large datasets
Longitudinal data analysis


A full range of statistical software is utilized while maintaining data security and HIPPA compliant operations.  An extensive listing of the computing facilities available can be made available upon request.


The Biostatistics Core assigns the highest priority of use to nutrition/obesity-related, peer-reviewed, federally funded research and NORC-approved pilot/feasibility studies. The Cores uses a flexible charge back policy when assisting NORC pilot and feasibility grantees to substantiate extramural research grant applications. Usually, the investigators will be asked to cover as much of the routine charges as possible; however, because funding may not be in hand to fully support the acquisition of preliminary data, the Core will absorb these costs in part if fiscally feasible. The Core will also provide an estimate of the support effort required to accomplish so that the level of support can be properly budgeted.

Table 2. Rate Schedule: Hourly Service
Service Rate 1
Rate 2
Secretarial/Report Generation $25 $30
Data Entry $25 $30
Administrative Support $35 $45
Data Management $35 $50
Programming $65 $75
Web system development $75 $100-$125
Statistical Analysis $150 $150-$200


Renee Desmond, Ph.D.
Director, Biostatistics Core
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine
Phone: (205) 934-3722
David Allison, Ph.D.
Quetelet Endowed Professor of Public Health
Distinguished Professor
Associate Dean for Science
Director, Office of Energetics
Director, Nutrition Obesity Research Center
Phone: (205) 975-9169
Degui Zhi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Biostatistics
Phone: (205) 975-9192
Andrew Brown, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Office of Energetics
Phone: 975-9131


  • Blair CK, Morey MC, Desmond RA, Cohen HJ, Sloaine R, Snyder DC, Demark-Wahnefried W. Light-Intensity activity attenuates functional decline in older cancer survivors. Med Sci Sports exerc 2014;Jan 1 [PMID:24389524]
  • Chandler-Laney PC, Morrison SA, Goree LL, Ellis AC, Casazza K, Desmond R, Gower BA. Return of hunger following a relatively high carbohydrate breakfast is associated with earlier recorded glucose peak and nadir. Appetite 2014;May 9. (Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 24819342]
  • Hardy RW, Shen M-C, Zhao X, Desmond R, Sigal G. Dietary stearic acid leads to a reduction of visceral adipose tissue in athymic nude mice. PLOS ONE 9(9): e104083. [doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104083]
  • Goss AM, Chandler-Laney PC, Ovalle F, Goree LL, Azziz R, Desmond RA, Wright Bates G, Gower BA. Effects of a eucaloric reduced-carbohydrate diet on body composition and fat distribution in women with PCOS. Metabolism 2014;Jul18 [Epub ahead of print].
  • Casazza, K., Fontaine, K. R., Astrup, A., Birch, L., Brown, A. W., Bohan Brown, M. M., Durant, N., Dutton, G., Foster, E. M., Heymsfield, S. B., McIver, K., Mehta, T., Menachemi, N., Newby, P. K., Pate, R., Rolls, B. J., Sen, B., Smith, D. L., Thomas, D., & Allison, D. B. (2013). Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity. New England Journal of Medicine, Jan 31;368(5):446-54. [doi:10.1056/NEJMsa1208051]
  • Shikany, J.; Lewis, C.E.; Beasley, T.M.; Thomas, A.S.; Allison, D.B. Randomized controlled trial of the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan for weight loss. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013 Dec;37(12):1571-8. [doi: 10.1038/ijo.2013.43] [PMID:23567927]
  • Blair C, Morey M, Desmond R, Sloane R, Snyder D, Cohen H, Demark-Wahnefried W. Cross-sectional & longitudinal associations between light-intensity physical activity & physical function among cancer survivors. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. [doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0077]