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SSA Canberra Knibbs Lecture: A personal tour with Prof Raymond Carroll

  • 24 Nov 2020
  • 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM (AEDT)
  • Online


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SSA Canberra invites you to attend this year's Knibbs lecture, which will be presented by Prof. Raymond Carroll (Texax A&M). The lecture will also celebrate the 60th birthday of Prof. Alan Welsh (ANU), and his contributions to statistics. 

Date:  Tuesday 24th November

Time: 12:30pm-1:45pm AEDT.  

Talk title: A Personal Tour: The Complex Nature of Nutrient and Food Intakes, and the Effects this Complexity has on Understanding Dietary Distributions and Their Effects on Mortality and Chronic Disease 

Abstract: I have spent many years developing statistical methods to understand how to measure dietary intakes in a population and how to relate such measures to mortality and chronic diseases. In animal experiments, clinical trials of different dietary patterns have been performed by my colleagues at Texas A&M and show, in stunning fashion, that for example a fish oil enhanced diet is protective against colon cancer, DNA damage, deleterious gene expression, etc., when compared to a corn oil enhanced diet (think potato chips).

In humans, the statistical questions are much more difficult, because it is impossible, in current practice, to measure an individual’s long-term average dietary intakes across multiple foods and nutrients. This impossibility has many facets, which I will briefly review. This statistical issue, along with the media focus on dietary bullets (kale anyone?), has resulted in massive confusion, and sometimes silly conclusions. For example, what % of U.S. children eat an alarmingly poor diet: a simplistic analysis says 30%, but a more nuanced one that accounts for the measurement properties of dietary instruments says 8%, a massive difference. My aim in part is to show that focusing on dietary patterns, instead of magic bullets, leads to far more robust statistical conclusions than focusing on one potential bullet at a time.

Biography: Raymond J. Carroll is Distinguished Professor of Statistics and Nutrition at Texas A&M University, and Distinguished Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. He was the first statistician to receive a U.S. National Cancer Institute MERIT Award. He is the Director of the Texas A&M Institute for Applied Mathematics and Computational Science. He served as editor of Biometrics and the Journal of the American Statistical Association. He has won many honors in the profession, including the COPSS Presidents’ Award and the Fisher Award and Lecture. He is a member of the AAAS.

Prof. Carroll’s research has long been diverse, and has focused on complex data scenarios, recently including methodology for multivariate functional data of different types, data integration across platforms/outcomes, uncertainties of predictor measurement (measurement error), gene-environment interactions, general semiparametrics, molecular biology of nutrition, radiation epidemiology and the risk of thyroid cancer, and physical activity. He is deeply involved in nutritional surveillance, nutritional epidemiology and dietary patterns, where the data complexity is immense due to the multivariate nature of dietary intakes and the uncertainties of dietary ascertainment.

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