Phase 4 (2009 Deadline)
Establishing a Biostatistical Consulting Center
Hafiz Anwar Ahmad, Jackson State University
Talat Naseer Pasha (as of July 2012) and Muhammad Aleem Bhatti (prior to July 2012), University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences
Pakistani Funding (Department of State): $76,113
US Funding (Department of State): $338,332
Project Dates: November 15, 2010 - November 14, 2013 (Extended through September 30, 2014)
The project will create a new Biostatistical Consulting Center (BCC) at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) in Lahore, with help from the Biostatistical Support Unit at Jackson State University (JSU). The new center will provide critical research-infrastructure support to investigators and students in Pakistan in conducting high-quality research through efficient experimental design and valid data analysis. A state-of-the-art statistical computing lab will be established at UVAS with all the necessary hardware and statistical software packages. A project website will be launched featuring online courses, workshop schedules, and other related information. A series of onsite workshops, short courses, and seminars will be conducted at UVAS to develop critical human resources in the areas of experimental design and data analysis in Pakistan. Researchers and graduate students who have already collected their research data will be identified for further training at JSU. These activities will produce sufficient numbers of trained personnel who in turn will be able to provide biostatistics training to other Pakistani researchers and students. Using this “train-the-trainers” approach, these efforts should lay the necessary foundations to create a thriving and sustainable research environment at UVAS, with the new BCC serving as a center of excellence in biostatistics. As a further benefit, a well-functioning BCC should help to attract qualified faculty and students to conduct high quality research at UVAS and will be instrumental in attracting extramural funding and creating a critical interdisciplinary link to address a wide range of complex scientific problems.
During the year 2012-2013, the project has successfully achieved its objectives – to establish the Biostatistics computer lab at UVAS and to provide training to faculty and students through various activities. The computer lab is functioning smoothly and serves as a great resource to researchers and faculty across Pakistan and will be used as a venue for all workshops, short courses, and software training activities planned during the final phase of the project.
Five training events in biostatistics and data analysis were organized at UVAS and UAF, including a 2-credit hour video course on advanced Biostatistics with additional funding from Virtual Education Program Pakistan (VEPP). In total, 184 (104 male vs. 80 female) faculty, researchers, and graduate students from more than 20 institutions of Pakistan were trained in different aspects of experimental designs, data analyses, software training, manuscript writing and proposal development through several formal and informal training and consulting activities conducted during the third year of the project. Primary websites at http://biostat.uvas.edu.pk were updated with project related information, including workshop schedules, programs, and lectures plus biostatistics course contents with PowerPoint presentations.
Three UVAS visiting scholars spent three months in a rigorous training program at JSU on data analysis, analytical software, manuscript writing and research proposal development. Several papers and presentations resulted from the project (please see publication section for details). Following consultations with various academicians and administrators, the US and Pakistani team discussed enhancing future collaboration through more research, writing, and proposal submissions for external funding.
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2011 Show summary || Hide summary
Three workshops and four seminars were carried out throughout the first year of the project (please see a list of the workshops below). A total of 68 (41 male, 27 female) young faculty and graduate students representing 17 institutions of Pakistan were trained in different aspects of experimental designs, data analyses, and proposal and manuscript writing in the workshops. Over 200 total participants attended the seminars. A series of formal meetings, during January, March and July, 2011 were held with variuos academicians and other personel for the research team to seek consultation. Two project web sites at JSU and UVAS: http://www.jsums.edu/biostat and http://biostat.uvas.edu.pk were created to provide virtual information on the project progress. Papers and presentations were made to deliver the preliminary results from the research project.
Dr. Shaukat Ali Bhatti, an UAF scholar, visited JSU in July, 2011 and developed several prediction models for Pakistan dairy cattle using various artifical intelligence methodologies during his stay. In addition, through consultations with VC and Director Research at UAF, a three credit hour video course for graduate students in Biostatistics was offered via video conferencing.
Another important progress was made by the establishment of the new computer lab at UVAS. This lab is expected to become a center of excellence and provide onsite and virtual help to researchers and faculty in Pakistan to conduct high quality research. Linkages with universities (University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore; GC University, Lahore, and PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, etc), government agencies (Breau of Statistics, Punjab Police Department, etc) and a few private poultry and dairy producers were developed from the project.
- “Modeling poultry physiological variables using neural networks” on March 14, 2011 at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, (UAF) during its Golden Jubilee celebrations.
- “Data modeling” on July 25 at GC University, Lahore, Pakistan.
- Seminar/short workshop on “Disease modeling using neural networks” on July 26 at UVAS, Lahore, Pakistan.
- “Modeling poultry physiological variables using neural networks” on July 28 at PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
2012 Show summary || Hide summary
In their most recent quarterly report this team provided updated participant statistics for the online biostatistics course they recently presented, which included live lectures delivered by Dr. Ahmad via video link. This course was presented on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, January 1 - March 7, 2012, under the auspices of Virtual Education Program Pakistan (VEPP
). A total of 58 students (16 from the University of Health Sciences
, Lahore, and 42 from the University of Agriculture
, Faisalabad), 75 percent of whom were female, took the final exam and received course credit. A follow-up two-credit Biostatistics II course is being offered through VEPP beginning May 2, 2012.
The project’s first long-term trainee invited from UVAS to JSU, Mr. Muhammad Bilal Bhutta, arrived in Jackson on February 23, 2012. He is receiving training on various data analysis methodologies and software packages and returned to UVAS in June. Another Pakistani graduate student involved in the project, Mr. Umar Butt, has been accepted into a master’s program at JSU and will enroll in the fall semester of 2012, pending receipt of his visa. Meanwhile, following up on three training workshops held at UVAS in 2011 (see links below), a fourth workshop on data analysis and modeling was held at the university May 7-11, 2012, with the participants to be exclusively drawn from among UVAS faculty, researchers, and graduate and professional students. Dr. Ahmad participated in person, and during his visit he also met with the new UVAS chancellor, Dr. Talat Naseer Pasha, to ensure he was fully apprised regarding the project in preparation for officially assuming responsbility as PI on the Pakistani side due to the extended absence of the original PI. Dr. Ahmad and his colleagues are currently conducting an intensive summer training camp at UVAS during July 2012. This camp is offering participants from all over Pakistan comprehensive training in research planning, data collection and analysis, and manuscript preparation.
This training-intensive project saw another quarter packed with activities. During a May visit by Dr. Ahmad to Pakistan, he and his colleagues at UVAS conducted their fourth workshop, “Biostatistics and Data Concepts,” May 07-11, 2012. The event attracted 30 participants (24 male, 6 female), including UVAS faculty, researchers, and graduate and professional students. Dr. Ahmad then traveled to several other cities as part of an outreach effort to build linkages with other institutions. On May 15, he conducted a grant-writing workshop at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, and the following day he presented a seminar on data modeling at COMSATS in Islamabad. While in the capital area, he also met with the vice chancellor of the University of Arid Agriculture in Rawalpindi and made a day-long visit to the Poultry Research Institute in the same city to discuss collaborative research and draft grant proposals with the director and other researchers.
Dr. Ahmad returned to Pakistan in July to help lead an intensive three-week summer camp on experimental design and data analyses at UVAS (July 3-21). This camp offered UVAS and other faculty members and researchers 17 days of training on research planning, data collection and analysis, software packages, and manuscript and grant writing. The closing session, including the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new computer lab created at UVAS under this project, featured the attendance of Frank Talluto of the U.S. Consulate Lahore and received broad media coverage.
In the coming months, now that the new computer lab is operational, plans call for formal seminars on research methodologies and collaborative research opportunities to be presented by UVAS staff at various Pakistani institutions. Consulting and advice will also be provided to research faculty and graduate students throughout Pakistan on data analysis and manuscript and proposal development. The two-credit Biostatistics II course that was to have been offered through the Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP) beginning in early May had to be postponed due to some technical issues at VEPP, but it will be rescheduled for a later date. Following up on the visit of UVAS graduate student Muhammad Bilal Bhutta to Dr. Ahmad’s lab from February through June 2012, another Pakistani graduate student involved in the project, Umar Butt, has been accepted into a master’s program at JSU and will enroll in the fall semester of 2012. He has received his visa and is expected to arrive in August.
2013 Show summary || Hide summary
In spring 2013, the development of a two credit hour “Data Modeling” video course was completed. It will soon be delivered through Virtual Education Project Pakistan (www.vepp.edu.pk) and offered to several universities in Pakistan. Drs. Imtiaz Rabbani, Sdaf Aslam, and Jibran Hussain from UVAS, best participants from 2012 summer camp, will have their visits to JSU for training in summer 2013. Two scholars have secured their US visas while the third is pending. The Pakistani PI Dr. Pesha (Vice chancellor of UVAS) is planning a visit to the US to meet with administrators and faculty at JSU and Tuskegee University to foster mutual collaboration and cooperation in research and other relevant areas. In May, the project team is also planning two workshops on data analysis to be held at UVAS. These workshops will offer an intense two weeks in house training in research planning, data collection and analysis, and manuscript writing to participants from all over Pakistan. Invitations were extended to various institutions of higher learning in Pakistan for nominations of qualified candidates with particular emphasis on women. One research paper was presented at the 6th Health Dispartiies Conference “Improving Medical Effectiveness and Health Outcomes to Achieve Health Equity through Interprofesional Collaborations” at New Orleans in March and one research paper was submitted for publication. In addition, the team submitted two research proposals for extramural funding. During spring, the team has revised the Year 3 budget of the project and efforts are being made to efficiently utilize the remaining funds by September 30.
During the 2nd quarter of 2013, the team completed the development of the short course on Biostat and Data Analysis Methodologies and started to offer it in UVAS campuses. 33 participants (16 female, 17 male) representing 14 institutions in Pakistan enrolled at UVAS Lahore Campus; and 20 participants (2 female, 18 male) completed the course at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences – Jahng, which is a sub campus located 200 miles away from Lahore. On May 28, 2013 three Pakistani visiting scholars Drs Imtiaz Rabbani, Sadaf Aslam, and Mr. Jibran Hussain arrived and started their three-month training on advance data modeling methodologies. During his US visit on June 2-7, the Pakistani PI Dr. Talat Naseer Pesha (Vice Chancellor of UVAS) met with JSU faculty and administrators. He also visited Tuskegee and Clark Atlanta University to forge new research links and future collaboration. As of July, the PI has reported that the team has achieved all major objectives of the project. The computer lab at UVAS is functioning well and will be maintained and upgraded. The US team plan to request a no cost extension, as the Pakistani counterpart hopes to receive year 3 funds from HEC in order to offer a two credit hour video course on Data Modeling to several Pakistani institutions and to maintain and upgrade the computer lab. For the next few months, the three Pakistani visiting scholars will be working on papers and presentations on various topics using the data analysis methodology. The project team is organizing a workshop on Data Methodology to be held at UVAS in September 2013, and the US PI Dr. Ahmad will travel to Pakistan for this workshop. , The US team will continue to provide advice to students and faculty throughout Pakistan on data analysis, manuscript and proposal development.
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