Methods Workshop1

2018 Advanced Methods Workshop
June 18, 2018
2:00 – 4:30pm
Baltimore, Maryland

The SPER Advanced Methods Workshop immediately precedes the SPER annual meeting. The workshop provides researchers and students with an introduction to advanced epidemiologic methods. There are 2 different methods topics covered every year, and registration for the workshop includes admission to both sessions.

Introduction to Epigenetics and high dimensional Epigenome-Wide Association Studies (EWAS) for Perinatal Epidemiology

Presenter: Andres Cardenas

Epidemiologic Evidence without P-values

Presenter: Sonia Hernandez-Diaz

Session Overview: Epigenetic modifications are stable and heritable changes to gene expression that occur without directly changing the underlying DNA sequence. These modifications are responsive to early life exposures and events providing a great opportunity in the field of pediatric and perinatal epidemiology. Epigenetics is a rapidly growing field and many studies including birth cohorts are currently implementing emerging epigenetic technologies and methods to address complex hypotheses and accelerate scientific discovery. This workshop will serve as an introduction to general concepts and methods used in epigenetics applied to birth cohorts for the investigation of fetal programming hypotheses with a focus on high dimensional DNA methylation data analyses. The workshop will present key concepts of study design, sample collection and processing, platforms for analysis, high dimensional data handling and interpretation. In the interest of time, computational methods will be presented by the instructor with the goal of giving participants a working understanding of multiple methods.

Session Overview: Epidemiologist have criticized the misuse and abuse of p-values for decades, yet significant testing remains at the core of scientific communication. Greenland et al identified the key to the problem: The correct interpretation of these statistics is not as simple as scientist may think. It is critical for epidemiologists to understand the basic statistics, definition and interpretation of p-values because we participate in the consumption, production, and translation of research; and often also in the transmission of methods to future generations. The ultimate goal of the workshop is to reduce misreporting of results in our field (e.g., deciding which factors have an effect based on the p-values). Participation does not require advanced knowledge of statistics. This workshop will review basic concepts and common misinterpretations, present cases for group discussion and conclude with specific recommendations for improving interpretation and communication of results while acknowledging random variability.

Andres Cardenas is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Population Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. His research evaluates the role of environmental exposures in utero and epigenetic modifications and their potential role in the developmental origins of health and disease. Dr. Cardenas’ current research examines the prenatal influence of nutrients, hyperglycemia, and exposure to environmental contaminants on the epigenome of infants.

Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, MD, DrPH is a Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her area of interest is drug safety evaluation, with a special emphasis on the design, conduct, and analysis of studies in pregnant women and their infants. Another area of interest concerns the application of causal inference approaches to define confounding and selection biases in ways that facilitate the identification, communication, and resolution of common analytical problems in non-randomized studies. Read more

Click here to access slides from the 2010-2017 workshops.