VCU biostatistics professor recognized for accomplishments in oral health

Dipankar Bandyopadhyay has earned the Gertrude M. Cox Award from the Washington Statistical Society and RTI International.

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A Virginia Commonwealth University professor has been recognized for his substantial contributions to the field of biostatistical research methodology and oral health epidemiology.

Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Biostatistics in the VCU School of Medicine, has been selected by the Washington Statistical Society and RTI International as the 2020 Gertrude M. Cox awardee.

Bandyopadhyay has conducted a number of important studies on oral health. He and co-authors published a 2020 paper in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, the field’s top journal, on the importance of more frequent dental checkups for patients with periodontal disease. The study is the first to address the century-old debate on the standard practice of recommending dental visits every six months. The authors instead examine a flexible framework that maps up-to-date patient information to a recommended treatment interval.  

Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D.
Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D.

This was just one of a number of studies Bandyopadhyay has conducted using a statistical inference method called Bayesian statistics, which updates the probability of a hypothesis as more information becomes available.

Well-regarded for his high-impact work in oral health, Bandyopadhyay was named an American Statistical Association fellow in 2018. His investigations of periodontal health status and progression are funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Active in service to the applied statistics field, Bandyopadhyay was program chair of the biometrics section of the American Statistical Association in 2016, and in 2015 was honored with the Outstanding Young Researcher Award in the Applications Category from the International Indian Statistical Association. 

Gertrude Cox, Ph.D., is recognized as one of the founders of modern statistics and served as president of the American Statistical Association in 1956. The annual award in her name recognizes an early to mid-career statistician (within 15 years of a terminal degree) who has made significant contributions to one or more of the areas of applied statistics in which Cox worked: survey methodology, experimental design, biostatistics and statistical computing. 

"This is an incredible honor,” Bandyopadhyay said. “In the late ’90s, while enrolled in the master’s of statistics program at the University of Calcutta, I first learned about Dr. Cox and her impactful research from Cochran and Cox’s celebrated Wiley textbook, ‘Experimental Designs, 2nd Edition.’ I never imagined then that some 20 years down the line, I would have this opportunity to associate myself with this coveted award. I am thankful to the Cox award selection committee and the wonderful nomination team to bestow so much trust in me." 

The Washington Statistical Society is among the largest chapters of the American Statistical Association with a membership that represents government, academia, industry and the private sector. The international roster of past Cox awardees includes some top names in the applied statistics field. Bandyopadhyay is VCU's first recipient. 

Bandyopadhyay, who also serves as director of the Massey Cancer Center's Biostatistics Shared Resource core, joined VCU in 2015 after holding positions at the University of Minnesota and the Medical University of South Carolina. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in mathematical statistics from the University of Calcutta in Kolkata, India, and a doctorate in statistics from the University of Georgia.   

Bandyopadhyay will give a virtual keynote presentation on precision oral health using electronic health records in June. The Cox award will be presented in-person at the annual meeting of the Washington Statistical Society in Washington, D.C., when it is rescheduled later this year.