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Quantitative Sciences

The study of biostatistics, bioinformatics, systems biology and genomics focuses on developing and applying statistical and mathematical models in close collaboration with biomedical researchers. The mission of the Program in Quantitative Sciences is to train researchers who will contribute to biomedical research by developing new methods for the design and analysis of research studies and by formulating mathematical models of biologic systems, thereby contributing to our understanding of cancer biology and disease processes. The Quantitative Sciences Program currently has around 50 students and 70 faculty.

Program Activities & Opportunities

  • Events

    QS Orientation Event:

    Please join us for our Quantitative Sciences Program Orientation Event!  The QS Program Directors will start off presenting an overview to give you an idea of all the opportunities that our QS program has to offer.  Next, you will learn more about our faculty and current students with a quick clue game.  You will also get the opportunity to meet program faculty and hear about the exciting projects and opportunities in their labs. Current QS students will be available for a Q&A session to answer all of your burning questions.  Refreshments will be served and during the last portion of our event we will allow time for mingling with faculty and current students.

  • Computational Assistance and Tutorial Session (CATS)

    We are a group of GSBS post-candidacy quantitative science graduate students that have voluntarily offered to help GSBS students that seek to include some quantitative science in their own research.

    CAT Session
    As student volunteers, we will do our best to select appropriate mathematical tests, help design scientific
    studies, identify proper software and techniques, and interpret results. These scheduled meetings between
    GSBS students will not exceed 30 minutes unless mutually agreed upon by both parties. As such, these
    meetings are intended to serve as consultations and quantitative science students are not expected to
    perform any of the previously mentioned analyses. The goal of this session is to assist rather than conduct
    analyses. Analysis completed by the quantitative science student volunteer is at the discretion of the student
    and the student’s mentor.

    Who can request a meeting
    These meetings are restricted to GSBS students only. Due to the small pool of student volunteers, we are
    limited by our own time and resources. Students will be limited to request one meeting per month, but should
    feel free to contact the student volunteer with any follow up questions from the session.

    Preparing for a meeting
    Having some form of data at the session is required. We ask for students to be as prepared as possible before
    attending these consultations. The more information provided in the meeting request, the better prepared the
    student volunteer will be to requester. Having data available at the meeting and/or providing the student
    volunteer a sample of what the data looks like will help student volunteers decide appropriate procedures.
    Shared data is at the discretion of the requestor, and student volunteers are not expected to have any
    responsibility of consequences that might result from the transfer.

    Help we cannot provide
    The purpose of this group is to help students that are seeking assistance on their research, not for a course or
    homework. We also will not help students looking to translate code from different languages. We will not help
    work on projects that have an active 3rd party outside of academia involved.


    Please contact QS Student Licai Huang ([email protected]) or Program Coordinator Ariel Scott ([email protected]) for any questions regarding CATS.

    Click here to request a meeting.

  • Travel Awards

    Quantitative Sciences Program Travel Award Application

    Virtual Travel Awards are also being accepted and will cover up to $200 towards registration to present a poster or give an oral talk.

    QS Virtual Travel Award Application

    Quantitative Sciences Travel awards are $500.00 each. Each student can only receive one award per academic year. Quantitative Sciences students presenting results at a national or international meeting, or attending a course, are eligible to apply. All applications will be reviewed and decided as they are received on a first come, first-serve basis.

    The purpose of the Quantitative Sciences travel award is to help defray your expenses to attend a meeting or course. The name of your advisor’s administrative assistant is requested so that they will be notified to apply the $500.00 toward your meeting or course expenses.

    Please submit these items via email in a single PDF to Ariel Scott: [email protected]
    This completed form signed by you and your advisor.
    Copy of your meeting registration form or course registration form.
    Copy of your abstract and abstract acceptance, if attending a meeting. If you have not received your abstract acceptance, or course acceptance, please list an approximate acceptance date. The award will be contingent upon such acceptance.

  • News

    Best Seminar Award Winners - QS Student Seminar Course - Spring 2021

    Yash Lagisetty

    Olivia Lee

    Keith Sanders

  • Quantitative Sciences 2022 Spring Retreat

    Quantitative Sciences Program 2022 Spring Retreat
    April 8 & 9, 2022

    Registration: Please register by February 28th to ensure a spot will be held for you at the QS Spring 2022 Retreat.
    Abstract Template:  Please see the following template to format your abstract. Abstracts are due on February 28th at noon.   Abstract Sample 2022

    Retreat Questions:
    For questions about the retreat, please contact Amy Carter. [email protected]

    Friday, April 8
    MD Anderson – South Campus Conference Center - 2SCR 2SCR1 (Rooms 1 – 6)
    3:00 – 6:45 pm; dinner 7:00 – 9:00 pm

    Poster Set-Up – Hallways of SCRB1/2 Conference Center
    Keynote Speaker – Dr. Yu Shen – Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Biostatistics, MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Student Poster Session 1 (odd)
    Break/Group Photo
    Student Poster Session 2 (even)
    Keynote Speaker – Dr. Jeffrey Chang – Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology & Pharmacology, UT Health McGovern Medical School
    Dinner @ III by Wolfgang Puck - TMC

    Saturday, April 9
    Houston Zoo – 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX 77030
    9:00 am – 2:30 pm

    Registration at Houston Zoo
    Q&A Breakfast with QS Directors (for first year students, but open to all)
    Group Photo
    Student Scientific Talk – Hanghui Ye
    Student Scientific Talk – Medina Colic
    Zoo Scavenger Hunt
    Dr. Akash Mitra - Alumni Guest
    Career Development Talk – Shikun Wang
    Award Presentations & Closing

Quantitative Sciences Awards & Publications

Quantitative Sciences Spotlight

Recognizing Dr. Prahlad Ram’s directorship

Prahlad T. Ram, PhD, served as the program director of the Quantitative Sciences (QS) Program from November 2016 through August 2020. During his tenure as director, he implemented many improvements to the program and lead the program to achieve many accomplishments.

The QS Program, formally known as Biostatistics, Bioinformatics & Systems Biology, has grown massively since 2017, with an increase of 115%, and has had 16 graduates in the last four years. These graduates have gone on to careers in academia at Yale University, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Others have pursued careers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and pharma-biotech companies such as AstraZeneca, Merck, AbbVie, and Novartis.

During his leadership, Ram developed and ran the QS Seminar Series course. This bi-weekly series gives students the opportunity to present their research projects in front of their peers and program faculty, allowing them to hone their presentation skills and building up their confidence. Also under his directorship, the QS program had the opportunity to offer off-site retreats at places such as some of Minute Maid Park, NASA, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Ram recognized the importance of students traveling to conferences to give talks and present posters as a vital part of their education. Each year, a sizeable portion of the QS program budget was allocated to provide $500 student travel awards.

Program students describe him as a very active director who is always supportive of student initiatives and are very appreciative of his guidance and leadership.


Quantitative Sciences Resources

  • Bylaws

    I.     Program Organization

    A.  Director

    The Director of the Program will be elected by the Quantitative Sciences (QS) faculty in an election run by the GSBS in accordance with GSBS guidelines. The Director will serve a two-year term. The Director will oversee all administrative activities of the Program and bears final responsibility for Program leadership.

    B.  Co-Directors

    Two Co-Directors will be elected by the Quantitative Sciences (QS) faculty in an election run by the GSBS in accordance with GSBS guidelines. The Co-Directors will serve a two-year term. The Co-Directors will assist with the administrative activities of the Director and conduct Program business (e.g., approving student forms) in the Director’s absence.

    C.  Steering Committee

    The Steering Committee will be composed of the Director, the two Co-Directors, three QS faculty at-large and two QS students. The members will be chosen in elections run by the GSBS in accordance with GSBS election guidelines.  The faculty at-large will serve a three-year term. The students will serve a one-year term and will be full voting members.

    The duties of the Steering Committee are as follows:

    • The Steering Committee will formulate policies related to the academic and administrative aspects of the Program and present them to the Program faculty for approval or modification.
    • The Steering Committee will meet at least semi-annually and there will be a Program-wide faculty meeting semi-annually at which the Steering Committee will present its report and Program business will be conducted with minutes recorded for public dissemination.
    • The Steering Committee will impanel subcommittees to advise on Program matters.

    D.  Election Process

    To preserve the integrity and anonymity of the election process, the Graduate School will conduct the elections for Program Director, Co-Directors and Steering Committee Members. GSBS will solicit nominations, including self-nominations, from the Program faculty at-large.  Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results of the election to the Program community. 

    GSBS will also conduct the election of the two student members of the Steering Committee. GSBS will solicit volunteers from Program students.  To be eligible to serve, students must be in good academic standing, and it is recommended but not required that candidates have completed the candidacy exam.  Once the slate of volunteers has been approved by the Program Director and the Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results to the Program community.

    II.     Standing Committees

    A.  Student Application Review Committee

    The committee will serve as the QS admissions committee.  It will be composed of faculty volunteers who wish to serve. A minimum of five faculty will compose the admissions committee. The chair of this committee would ideally also serve on the GSBS Admissions Committee in order to facilitate the application review process. The committee will meet either in person or via web meeting as often as needed throughout the admission review process as deemed by the chair of the committee.

    B.  Curriculum Committee

    The QS curriculum committee will be composed of a minimum of five QS faculty and two QS students. The committee will meet at least twice a year to review current classes and recommend any changes as needed.

    C.  Program Membership Committee

    The QS membership committee will be composed of the director, co-directors, and two QS faculty at-large. The committee will meet at least once a year and recommend changes to the QS faculty membership as needed.

    D.  Exam Committee

    Faculty will volunteer to serve on the qualifying exam committee and serve a minimum of two years to ensure standards across students’ exams.

    E.  Student Activity Committees

    The student committees will be composed of the QS students and follow GSBS recommendations for program-based activities, which will include retreats, social activities, program-specific seminars, etc.

    III.     Faculty Membership

    QS faculty members must be members of the GSBS. Membership categories will match those of GSBS: Regular, Associate and Distinguished Senior Lecturer as determined by the GSBS Membership Committee.

    QS faculty are encouraged to actively participate in QS training activities, including but not limited to:

    • Training and mentoring QS students.
    • Serving on student committees as requested.
    • Directing or teaching Program courses as requested.
    • Attending thesis defenses of Program students, the annual retreat and Program seminars.
    • Attending semi-annual faculty meeting.

    Applications for membership in the QS Program are submitted to the Program Director.  Applications should include the applicant’s CV and a letter stating the applicant’s reasons for requesting to join the Program. This letter should indicate what the applicant expects to gain from being a Program faculty and what the applicant can contribute to the Program. Applications are reviewed by the QS Membership Committee.

    Faculty who apply for Program membership but are denied may appeal the decision to the GSBS Membership Committee, who will make a recommendation to the Deans.

    The Program will notify GSBS Faculty Affairs of all new faculty members.

    Review of Current Members

    The QS Membership Committee will review participation by individual faculty members once every two years. The two-year review by the Program will be done on a schedule determined by the QS Membership Committee.  The Program will review each member’s contributions or activities, using the GSBS membership criteria as a guideline.  Faculty participation reports will be provided by GSBS but they should be augmented by reports/statements of Program-specific activities.

    The Program will send GSBS Faculty Affairs a list of faculty they suggest are inactive.  Inactive faculty will be notified that they are on probation for one year and encouraged to increase their participation. At the end of this time, if there is no increase in activity, the Program may terminate membership. Faculty who are asked to leave the Program may appeal the decision to the GSBS Membership Committee, who will make a recommendation to the Deans. Faculty determined to be disengaged are subject to not being reappointed as a GSBS faculty member.

    The Program will notify GSBS Faculty Affairs of any terminated faculty members. 

    IV.     Student Membership

    GSBS students are eligible for membership in the QS Program. Students should submit a request to the Program Director for admission to the Program. 

    V.     Faculty Meetings

    The QS faculty will meet at least twice a year, at which the Steering Committee will present its report and Program business will be conducted. Minutes will be recorded for public dissemination. Changes in the Program Bylaws recommended by the Steering Committee and other matters will be approved by a majority vote.

    VI.     Student Meetings

    The Director and Co-Directors will have a meeting with all students at least twice a year.

    VII.     Amendments to Bylaws

    An amendment to the Bylaws of the QS Program may be accomplished by a majority vote of the Program faculty after the following procedure has been followed. The proposed amendment will be submitted to the Program Director who will send it to the GSBS Deans Office for review to ensure that it meets GSBS guidelines. The Program Director will then send the amendment electronically to the Program Faculty for consideration at least two weeks before a vote is to be taken. If the amendment is to be discussed at a faculty meeting, a final vote may be taken at the meeting. If the amendment is to be approved electronically, GSBS will send the final version of the amendment to the Program Faculty to approve by electronic ballot.

  • Program Leadership

    Quantitative Sciences Program Leadership

    Program Director

    Dr. Traver Hart

    Program Co-Directors

    Dr. Peng Wei

    Steering Committee

    Dr. Traver Hart
    Dr. Peng Wei
    Dr. Suyu Liu
    Dr. Eduardo Vilar-Sanchez
    Dr. Wenyi Wang
    Swami Kumar (student member)
    Wenhao Li (student member)

    Curriculum Committee

    Dr. Ju-Seog Lee
    Dr. James Long
    Dr. David Fuentes
    Dr. Ryan Sun
    Dr. Min Jin Ha
    Tapsi Kumar (student member)
    Yash Lagisetty (student member)

    Student Council (2021-2022)

    Xingdi Ma
    Yiyun Lin
    Mengyi Lu
    Shuai Guo
    Nazanin Esmaeili Anvar

Quantitative Sciences Column Photo for Contact Us

Contact Us

For questions regarding the curriculum for the Quantitative Sciences program, please email [email protected]


Dr. Traver Hart

Program Director
Email: [email protected]

Wei Peng Photo

Dr. Peng Wei

Program Co-Director
Email: [email protected]


Ariel Scott

Program Coordinator
Phone: 713-745-0662
Email: [email protected]
BSRB S3.8328 (MDACC Unit 1011)