Biostatistics Union of Graduate Students

bugslogoThis website is intended to provide additional resources for the Biostatistics Union of Graduate Students (BUGS) at the Division of Biostatistics, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.



Recent Events

Division of Biostatistics Holiday Party, Fran’s Upper Deck, December 10, 2019.Thank you everyone for coming out and celebrating the end of the semester with us! Be sure to keep an eye out for more events coming in the new year.

Introduction to MCMC and Bayesian modeling with WinBUGS

Omid Aghababaei Jazi is a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Eleanor Pullenayegum within Child Health Evaluative Sciences at The Hospital for Sick Children. Omid obtained his PhD in Statistics from McGill University in 2019 with research focuses on longitudinal data analysis, biased sampling and variable selection methods.

Event Details

Speaker: Omid Aghababaei Jazi

Date: Thursday, December 12, 2019

Time: 2pm-4pm

Location: Room 108, Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street


Mixing R and C++: an introductory tutorial for (bio)statistics students

Luc Villandré is a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Patrick Brown at the Centre for Global Health Research. Luc obtained his PhD in Biostatistics from McGill University in 2018 and has been using R for over 15 years, as well as Rcpp for the last 8 years. His current work focuses on scalable Bayesian methods for spatiotemporal data.

  • Speaker: Luc Villandré
  • Date: Friday, November 8, 2019
  • Time: 2pm-4pm
  • Location: Room 696, Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street

Division of Biostatistics Halloween Potluck, Health Sciences Building, October 31, 2019.Thank you to everyone who came out and to those who brought food. We hope everyone had fun, and look forward to seeing you at our next event!

Division of Biostatistics Welcome Picnic, High Park Picnic Area #24, September 21, 2019.

Thanks again to those that came out to the Welcome Picnic on Saturday! We had a great turn out his year and hopefully you’ve all gotten a chance to get to know your peers, upper year students and professors a little bit more!

2019 Biostatistics Bootcamp, Health Sciences Building, Toronto. September 7-8, 2019.

Thank you to all the incoming MSc/PhD students who attended the bootcamp, as well as faculty and volunteers whom took time out of their weekend to make this 2-day workshop possible!

CRDCN National Policy Challenge, Ottawa, Ontario, June 11, 2019.
Left: Kuan Liu giving a presentation at the CRDCN National Policy Challenge.
Right (FLTR): Dominika Bhatia, Shahriar Shams and Kuan Liu

Kuan Liu (PhD, Year 4), Shahriar Shams (PhD, Year 5) and Dominika Bhatia (IHPME) were one among 8 finalists invited to the CRDCN National Policy Challenge in Ottawa, ON. With an audience of policymakers and healthcare professionals, they discussed Canadian cannabis and tobacco usage by assessing the spatial distribution of cannabis and tobacco consumption in Canada.

DLSPH Student Awards Ceremony, Toronto, Ontario, June 4, 2019.

Professor Tony Panzarella (right) presenting the John Hsieh Award to Myrtha Reyna-Vargas (left).

Congratulations to MSc. Biostatistics graduate Myrtha Reyna-Vargas on being awarded the John Hsieh Award for her academic excellence and contributions to the Biostatistics student body!

The 47th Annual Statistical Society of Canada (SSC) Annual Meeting at the
University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. May 26-29, 2019.

Statistical Society of Canada Awards Ceremony, Calgary, Alberta, May 28, 2019.

FLTR (Left): Dongyang (Dawn) Yang, Hana Dampf, Song Pham, Zihan (Christina) Zhou. Right: Zihan (Christina) Zhou (middle) receiving her group’s award from the SSC President Dr. Robert Platt and SSC Case Study Committee Chair Dr. Pingzhao Hu.

Dongyang (Dawn) Yang (PhD), Hana Dampf (MSc), Song Pham (MSc), and Zihan (Christina) Zhou (MSc) received the Best Student Poster award at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada on May 28, 2019 for the case study topic, “Risk of Cardiovascular Disease among Osteoarthritis Patients: Exploring the Relationship in a National Health Survey.”

Courtesy of Dr. Peter McDonald

2019 SORA/TABA Annual Workshop & DLSPH Biostatistics Research Day
Jack Lawman Building, Toronto, Ontario, May 3, 2019.
DLSPH Biostatistics students, faculty, and alumni with Dr. Frank Harrell.

FLTR: Dr. Olli Saarela, Dr. Paul Corey, Lisu Zhang, Zihang Lu, and Leif Erik Lovblom.

Dr. Olli Saarela (Awards Committee Chair) and Dr. Paul Corey presenting the “Paul Corey  Poster Award” to Lisu (Susie) Zhang (MSc) (First Place), Zihang Lu (PhD) (Second Place), and Leif Erik Lovblom (PhD) (Third Place) for posters based on their practicum work at the 2019 SORA/TABA Annual Workshop & DLSPH Biostatistics Research Day on May 3, 2019.

DLSPH Biostatistics students with Dr. Frank Harrell after his talk on “Musings on Statistical Models vs. Machine Learning in Health Research”, DLSPH, May 2, 2019.

A Workshop on OpenBUGS

  • Speaker: Shahriar Shams
  • Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2019
  • Time: 2pm-3pm
  • Location: HS 574

Shahriar Shams, a fifth year PhD student, will be hosting an OpenBUGS workshop to familiarize students with Bayesian inference and running regression models via Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC). Shahriar will also be giving examples of running MCMC in R via the “R2OpenBUGS” package and some basic visual illustrations (trace plots, posterior density plots) using the “mcmcplots” package.

2019 Lunar New Year & Valentines Day Dumplings Night, Toronto, ON, Feb 13, 2019.Celebrating the conclusion of midterm week and a lunar calendar with dumplings at Mother’s Dumplings!

AllerGen 2019, Toronto, Ontario, January 27-30, 2019.Zihang Lu, a fourth year PhD Candidate under the supervision of Dr. Wendy Lou, won the Best Poster Presentation Award at the AllerGen 2019 Research Conference in Toronto, ON. His poster is titled “Early lung function changes associated with wheezing phenotypes in the CHILD Study”. Congratulations Zihang!

CV and Cover Letter Workshop for Statisticians, Biostatisticians and Analysts

  • Speaker: Kuan Liu
  • Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2019
  • Time: 2pm-3pm
  • Location: HS 574

Kuan Liu, a fourth year PhD student, will be hosting a CV and Cover Letter workshop to assist students who are thinking of applying to jobs as statisticians, biostatisticians and analysts after finishing their studies. Kuan has previously worked for nearly 3 years at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and unlike many conventional workshops, can provide insights on the employer’s point-of-view through the lens of a statistician.

Division of Biostatistics Holiday Party, Fran’s Upper Deck, December 12, 2018.
What a great to celebrate the end of the semester with some food and drinks with the Biostatistics family. Happy holidays everyone!

Division of Biostatistics Halloween Potluck, Health Sciences Building, October 31, 2018.
We had a large variety of food at this year’s Halloween potluck. Big thanks to those who brought homemade cookies, patties, spring rolls, steamed buns and more!