CALS Biometry Program

At UW-Madison, biometry refers to the development and application of statistical methods for the biological, physical, and social sciences primarily in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). The faculty members in Biometry have joint appointments in the Department of Statistics and another department. The program also includes staff members and project assistants in the CALS Statistical Consulting Lab.

The mission of Biometry is to foster collaborative research at the interface of statistics and other sciences primarily in CALS. A central tenet of the Biometry program is that the statistician and scientist function as collaborators, each bringing to the project their skills and expertise to accomplish what neither could do alone. In addition, the program offers an interdisciplinary M.S. degree in Biometry and the program faculty members are heavily involved in teaching statistics for the biological sciences.

All biometry faculty members have Ph.D. degrees in statistics or related fields and have a joint appointment in a world-class statistics department. They teach statistics courses geared toward undergraduate and graduate biology majors on campus, as well as advising graduate students in biometry and statistics. Furthermore, they conduct methodological research and collaborative research in the development and application of statistical methods to a variety of scientific problems in agriculture, plant and animal sciences, ecology, and environmental sciences. There are special areas of expertise among the faculty, including phylogenetics, statistical genomics, analysis of high throughput molecular data, environmental statistics, and spatial statistics.

The M.S. degree in Biometry reflects the mission and philosophy of the program and provides an interdisciplinary degree combining formal coursework in statistics and biology, consulting experiences, and research bridging the two areas. This integration of statistics and biology is the distinguishing feature of the program: Students completing the degree are well-grounded in biology and statistics with the ability to apply and extend a broad range of statistical concepts and techniques to biological problems. Graduates of this program have been successful in attaining highly competitive positions in academia and government agencies.

The biometry faculty members are the primary instructors of core statistics courses for biology majors on campus. Stat571/572 “Statistical Methods for Bioscience I and II”, Stat575 “Statistical Methods for Spatial Data”, and Stat877 “Statistical Methods for Molecular Biology” are primarily for graduate students in CALS, whereas Stat371 “Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences” is the undergraduate version of Stat571. In addition, Stat998 “Statistical Consulting” provides valuable training for project assistants in the CALS Statistical Consulting Lab and for research assistants on related collaborative projects.

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