Referred to as a biostatistician, quantitative epidemiologist, and statistical geneticist, Chatterjee is a scientist beyond label. Bridging these disciplines and beyond, Chatterjee has developed an integrated program of collaborative and methodological research to investigate the genetic and environmental causes of cancers. His research has made enormous strides in increasing efficiency of studies of genetic association and gene-environment interactions, evaluating the genetic architecture of complex traits from modern genomewide association studies, and modeling subtype heterogeneity for complex diseases, such as cancer. Chatterjee has also made pioneering contributions to a variety of areas in statistical methodology, such as analyzing data from studies that involve complex ascertainment of participants and combining information from heterogeneous big data sources.
Chatterjee will be participating in the Johns Hopkins Individualized Health Initiative, expanding his research on risk prediction models and their applications to personalized medicine and cost-effective epidemiologic study designs. These studies can expand our understanding of how genetic markers can be used for risk predictions—informing patient treatment—and for developing risk-stratified approaches to public health interventions.
“I am very excited to be at Johns Hopkins because of the opportunities for collaborative interdisciplinary research with some of the best minds in the world. In the future, solving some of the most complex health problems of our society will require team science involving people from diverse fields, including medicine, genetics, computation, engineering, mathematics, and statistics,” Chatterjee says. “At Hopkins, I don’t have to look far to make these connections, and the possibility to make an impact here is limitless.”
Highly regarded in his fields, Chatterjee has been elected to the American Statistical Association and American Epidemiologic Society; has an exemplary record of publications in statistical, clinical, and scientific journals; and has received the most prestigious awards in his field. Notably, he was recognized in 2011 with the most coveted prize in statistics: the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies Presidents’ Award, which is co-sponsored by five major national and international statistical societies and is awarded to a person under the age of 40. In bestowing this honor, COPSS noted Chatterjee’s “outstanding contributions to the statistical sciences by ingenious methodological research,” his “leadership and vision as a statistical scientist by actively collaborating in wide-ranging studies of cancer epidemiology and genetics,” and his “exceptional mentoring and service to the profession.”
Chatterjee has, in fact, been an integral part of training Johns Hopkins biostatistics students for more than five years. Through the NCI-Hopkins Biostatistics Training Program, select students commenced training in the Department of Biostatistics and completed a PhD dissertation under the guidance of Chatterjee at the National Cancer Institute. Noting mentors who have guided and encouraged him along his own career path, Chatterjee says he is particularly looking forward to expanding his training of the next generation of “interdisciplinarians” at Johns Hopkins.
“When I came to the USA from India, I was really interested in pursuing mathematical statistics and probability theory. As a result of a sequence of required courses in applied statistics at the University of Washington—the first of which was taught by my adviser, Norm Breslow—I discovered the appeal of applied statistics,” Chatterjee says. “During my PhD dissertation, Norm not only infected me with his passion for research on two-phase study designs but also taught me about the importance of maintaining a high standard of ethics and fairness in research.” Chatterjee teaches graduate courses in the schools of Public Health and Medicine and undergraduate seminars for the Public Health Studies program on the Homewood campus.
He joined Johns Hopkins from the National Institutes of Health, where he had served as the chief of the Biostatistics Branch of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.
Chatterjee received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in statistics from the Indian Statistical Institute, his doctorate in statistics from the University of Washington, and postdoctoral training at the NCI with Sholom Wacholder, a noted biostatistician and mentor who died recently.