10th Annual Charles R. Katholi Distinguished Dissertation Award - 2017

School of Public Health

Dr. Yan Li, this year’s recipient of the Charles R. Katholi Distinguished Dissertation Award, defended her dissertation in the summer of 2017.  Yan earned her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Science from Huazhong Agricultural University (Wuhan, China) and she joined UAB in 2008 as a Research Assistant in the Department of Nutrition Science.  After joining the Department in Biostatistics in 2012, she worked with several faculty members in diverse areas.  She served as a teaching assistant with Dr. Szychowski, as a research assistant working with Dr. Nengjun Yi using genetic analysis for cancer survival prediction, and as a research assistant for multiple domestic and international studies in obstetrics and gynecology with Dr. Jeff Szychowski and Dr. Alan Tita.  Yan’s dissertation, “Sample size re-estimation procedures for confirmatory two-stage multi-arm trials with normal and binary outcomes,” was motivated by a trial of three different doses of oxytocin for the control of excessive bleeding after labor and delivery (led by Dr. Tita).  That study illustrated a need for sample size re-assessment and reallocation strategies in trials with more than two treatment groups.  Extensive simulation studies were used to evaluate the operating characteristics of strategies developed for two arm trials when adapted and extended to multi-arm trials.  Results indicate that the best strategy depends on multiple characteristics of the study and the maximum tolerable sample size.  To facilitate her research, Yan developed an R package for the implementation of the re-estimation procedures.  In recognition of her work, in 2016 Yan was awarded the Naomi Fineberg New Distinguished Researcher Award and was an invited presenter at the ASA Alabama Chapter conference.  The first manuscript from her doctoral work is currently under peer review.