Learn More About Us


Follow us on facebook and twitter in order to receive up to date information on upcoming events in the department



The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics is located within the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, a community-based medical school utilizing a network of practice sites and hospitals across Michigan.

The medical facilities of six Michigan communities are linked to the College. In addition, proximity to the Michigan Department of Community Health creates numerous opportunities for collaboration. These linkages provide practice sites for community epidemiologic investigations. Community-based research is supported by both an electronic infrastructure, which links all six campus sites, and a network of family practice groups that collaborate in research.

Current Research

Listed below are some examples of research projects conducted by the faculty of The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Prenatal Exposures and Child Health Outcomes: A Statewide Study (1 UG3 OD023285-01) is a collaboration among five Michigan institutions, and is one of 35 national pediatric cohorts funded under the aegis of the NIH-funded ECHO (Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes) program, a seven-year initiative that began in September 2016. All scientists affiliated with any of the five participating institutions in our state (Henry Ford Health System, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University) are eligible to apply to either or both of two grants programs designed to support original research making use of the resources of this project.


Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns (ELGAN) is a large multi-regional study investigating biochemical antecedents of brain damage in newborns (under 28 weeks), with a recently funded follow-up to investigate school-age outcomes.

In the first phase of the study, over 1,500 babies were enrolled at 14 hospitals in the Lake Michigan area, New England, and North Carolina. Developmental assessments were obtained for 85% of those who reached 12 and 24 months. We are now in the second phase of the study (ELGAN II) following up the surviving cohort at approximately 9 years of age to learn about cognitive and behavioral outcomes, as well as MRI studies, and their relationship to perinatal biomarkers.

Site staff members are Principal Investigators Madeleine Lenski, MSPH and Nigel Paneth, MD, MPH; Research Assistant Deborah Weiland, MSN; and School Psychologist Megan Lloyd.

The Michigan Stroke Transitions Trial (MISTT) is a randomized clinical trial designed to help stroke patients and their caregivers after returning home from the hospital. Approximately three quarters of stroke survivors return home, but for some this occurs after a complex series of transitions involving stays in rehabilitation and nursing care facilities, as well as repeat visits to the hospital. Learn More

The Cerebral Palsy Outreach Network (CPON) is an internet resource for children with cerebral palsy (CP) and their families. The mission of CPON is to help families connect to needed services, to provide scientific information to families on new treatments for CP, and to develop research on the causes and management of CP. A case-control study of CP in Michigan will be resubmitted to NIH on March 1, 2006.
Nigel Paneth, PI. Madeleine Lenski Project manager

OWL (Origins, Wellness, and Lifehistory in CP) is a 2 year NIH-funded study of the etiology of cerebral palsy. We collaborate with institutions, practices, and physicians in three metropolitan areas - Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Grand Rapids - to identify and recruit cases and controls ages 2-15 who were born in Michigan. We will examine newborn blood spots routinely collected and stored with every birth in the State of Michigan for newborn screening, as well as pregnancy and birth histories, to learn about infection, inflammation, coagulation and thyroid disorders, and perinatal asphyxia as possible causes of CP.

Previous Research

(Blantyre Malaria Project Epilepsy Study)
Gretchen Birbeck, PI

CDC Autism
Data Coordinating Center for Autism & Other Disabilities
The purpose of this cooperative agreement, with CDC, is for the Michigan State University Data Coordinating Center (MSU-DCC) to serve as a data coordinating center for a multicenter study to support surveillance data and research data management related to developmental disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders(ASD) and other Developmental Disabilities (DD).

(Chikankata Epilepsy and Febrile Seizure Study)
Gretchen Birbeck, PI

With this application, the directors and the faculty of a NIDA-supported T32 institutional research training program on drug dependence epidemiology seek to enhance the international research and research training capacities of the training program, NIH, NIDA and Fogarty International Center. This project will link faculty and students of the Bloomberg School of Public Health with the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru.
Jim Anthony, PI

Effect of Organochlorides on Male Infertility
This study will investigate the relationship between measure of human male reproductive health, specifically semen quality and reproductive hormone levels, organochlorine compound environmental contaminants and polymorphisms in genes involved in contaminant and sex steroid metabolism
Julie Wirth, PI

(Epilepsy-associated Stigma in Zambia Study)
Gretchen Birbeck, PI

Clusters of Drug Involvement in Chile (FIRCA)
This is a collaborative, epidemiological research project studying the earliest stages of youthful drug involvement, including coca paste and other cocaine use in Chile.
Jim Anthony, PI  

There is a lot of concern today about chemicals in the Fox River and other lakes and rivers near Green Bay. These chemicals, called PCBs, build up in the fat of fish that live in contaminated lakes and rivers. People who eat this fish also have PCBs in their bodies. The goal of the FRIENDS project is to find out how much locally caught fish Hmong and Lao families eat, and if people who eat fish with PCBs have more health problems than people who don’t eat this fish. http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/vb/friends_center/

Great Lakes Fisheater Study
Federally funded project assessing cognitive functioning in aging members of the Michigan Department of Community Health’s Lake Michigan Anglers cohort.
Joseph Gardiner, PI

Multi-level analysis of disparities in Preterm Delivery
The purposes of the HRSA contract is to expand the use of multi-level modeling as a tool for examining the influences of neighborhood context on the risk of delivering prematurely, to disseminate examples of the analysis and develop strategies for instructing state and local maternal and child health (MCH) professionals on the value of contextual level variables and multi-level modeling, and help them to identify avenues for training in multi-level statistical techniques.
Claudia Holzman, PI

Insulin-Related Biomarkers Study in the Dietary Intervention Study in Children
An energy-dense diet high in fats and refined carbohydrates and low in fiber in young girls has been linked to earlier age at menarche and taller adult height, both of which have been associated with increased risk for breast cancer. We are conducting longitudinal analyses to examine the effect of a low-fat dietary intervention in 8-10 year old girls, specific dietary constituents and physical activity, on the insulin-related growth factor (IGF)-axis, as well as insulin in girls throughout adolescence.
Ellen Velie, PI

K-Award: Drug Dependence
Drug Dependence Epidemiology and Enviromics
To combine enviromics, genetics, and epidemiology in research on drug dependence syndromes.
Jim Anthony, PI

K-Award: Energy Balance and Breast Cancer
This National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Prevention funded career award provides salary and research assistance support for career development activities and the conduct of three research projects. The goal of this work is to examine the relationship between energy balance and insulin resistance-related factors over the lifecourse on the age-specific incidence of breast cancer in black and white women in the United States.
Ellen Velie, PI

The Michigan Acute Stroke Care Overview & Treatment Surveillance System (MASCOTS) is
a representative, statewide, hospital-based surveillance system of acute stroke care in Michigan.
Mat Reeves, PI

OSSM was inherited from Dr. Wilfried Karmaus. Its goal is to examine the association between organochlorine exposure and mRNA expression of sex steroid metabolites in female offspring of the original fisheater's project. The project is currently in the recruitment phase.
Janet Osuch, PI  

Perinatal Epidemiology Training Program
Trains pre and postdoctoral students in perinatal epidemiology.
Nigel Paneth, PI.

Previous Re

Polish Women Health Study
This international study looks at the “Effect of Changes in Diet and Other Factors on Breast Cancer Risk of Women Immigrants from Poland to the United States.”
Dorothy Pathak, PI

Etiologic Heterogeneity in Preterm Delivery
The aim of this study is to better understand the causes of preterm delivery by identifying the pathways through which risk of preterm delivery is mediated, and the role of maternal serum alpha fetoprotein in these pathways. Over seeing a Minority Supplement under this grant.
Claudia Holzman, PI

Jeanette Scheid PI, Co-PI Claudia Holzman, and Laura Symonds.

Race/Area Socioeconomic Position and Cancer Incidence, Detroit
In this project we are examining the joint effects of racial and socioeconomic characteristics of census tracts of residence on cancer incidence rates in the Detroit Metropolitan Area using data from the US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Detroit cancer registry and the US census.
Ellen Velie, PI

The Transient Ischemic Attack, Evaluation and Management (TEAM) Study is being undertaken in 4 emergency departments across MSU's community campuses. The goals of the study are to assess the management, treatment, and prognosis of TIA patients over a 90 day follow-up period.
Mat Reeves, PI

Transient Hypothyroxinemia of Prematures
We are the data management arm of an international Phase I/II randomized trial of the use of thyroid hormone in infants < 28 weeks gestational age. The data sites are Westchester County, New York (where the PI is), Amsterdam, Holland and Madrid, Spain.   
PI of the data management subcontract is Nigel Paneth, and Hossein Rahbar is the statistician.

Young Women Health History Study
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women younger than 50 years of age. Though we have some understanding of why some women develop breast cancer and others do not, we have a lot more to learn about breast cancer prevention. The goal of the Young Women’s Health History Study is to find ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer in young women.