The College of Sciences has named Marie Davidian as the first J. Stuart Hunter Distinguished Professor in Statistics. The professorship was made possible by a gift from alumnus and longtime NC State supporter J. Stuart Hunter.
Davidian is a leading biostatistician who has been on the NC State faculty since 1987. Much of her work is in precision medicine, which is focused on tailoring treatment decisions based on patients’ clinical, physiological, demographic and genetic characteristics. The statistical methods and software created through her research help doctors and medical researchers run clinical trials, analyze the data and determine the best way to treat individual patients.
“We are thrilled to have outstanding researchers like Marie Davidian on our faculty, and professorships like this one help us recruit and retain these talented people,” said Bill Ditto, dean of the College of Sciences. “Through these gifts, Stuart Hunter and other generous donors are creating an environment in which our students are learning from the very best scientists in the world.”
Davidian is a principal investigator on a large National Cancer Institute grant that involves more than 30 faculty, graduate students and programmers at NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. The effort, which has received $22.9 million in funding since 2010, focuses on developing new statistical methods that can be used to both design clinical trials for cancer treatments and evaluate the resulting data. She is also coordinator of the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program Faculty Cluster on Precision Medicine, spearheading collaborations with researchers from several fields at NC State.
Her many awards and honors include being elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. In 2010, she received the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, NC State’s highest honor in recognition of faculty achievement. She has authored more than 115 scientific publications and delivered more than 175 invited research presentations.
Hunter earned three degrees from NC State, including a Ph.D. in experimental statistics in 1954. He joined the Princeton University faculty in 1962 and is now a professor emeritus at the institution, earning acclaim as a pioneer of industrial experimental design. In 2004, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, which preceded the College of Sciences.