In Interviews

International Biometric Society honorary life member Prof Sue Wilson spoke with us about her work. Professor Wilson will be talking at this year’s BioInfoSummer.

What do you think are the most important “big challenges” in your field?
Today, two of these “big challenges” are: (i) finding improved statistical methods for analysis of omics data both within and across the different, and continually changing, technological platforms; (ii) ensuring high quality omics data through universal implementation of the sound statistical principles of experimental design.

Please tell us about your research interests and on what you are currently working.
Broadly, my research is centred in applied statistics and currently motivated by questions arising from the biological and medical sciences. More specifically, the projects with which I am involved at present include development of (a) approaches for integrating and exploring large high dimensional datasets containing different types of data, and (b) visualization methods, including agreement of rankings (primarily motivated by a collaboration in cancer cell biology).

Do you have favourite applications of your work and what is the impact of these applications?
Favourite applications include analyses of complex genetic disease data, resulting in a deeper understanding of the underlying genomic and environmental pathways leading to disease expression (or progression) and hence towards the final goal of better targeted treatment (precision medicine).

Why did you choose this career?
My career choice was a natural consequence of an initial passion for numbers and mathematics, and then for statistical science.

Can you tell us about the highlight of your career so far?
Arguably, the highlight would be recognition of my contributions by being awarded Honorary Life Membership (20th) of the International Biometric Society (founded in 1947).