Laura B. Balzer
My research focuses on developing, evaluating, and applying data-driven solutions in Public Health and Medicine. As founder and director of the UMass Causality Lab, I use rigorous methods to isolate causation from correlation. I also harness recent advances in machine learning to avoid unsubstantiated modeling assumptions. I have tackled pressing questions in study design, including whether or not to pair-match, how to conduct multi-phase trials, and which causal parameter best answers the research question. I have also addressed numerous challenges in the analysis of observational studies, including novel approaches for differential measurement, informative censoring, and complex dependence. My work has been applied to assess the burden of and control for two of the most pressing epidemics of our time: HIV and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID - 19).
For more information: https://www.balzerlab.com/
I am the Primary Statistician for three cluster randomized trials in East Africa: the SEARCH Study to prevent HIV and improve community health, the SATURN study to improve care outcomes among HIV-infected youth, and the SPIRIT study to prevent tuberculosis. I am also the Primary Statistician for an observational study to examine paternal phthalate exposure, sperm DNA methylation, and reproductive health outcomes. Most recently, I have been leading a COVID-19 forecasting team focused on improving city and county-level decisions on (i) resource allocation and hospital surge planning; (2) when and how to intensify public health interventions; and (3) when and how to relax those interventions.
- BS University of Vermont, 2008
- MPhil Cambridge University (England), 2009
- PhD University of California-Berkeley, 2015