Research in the Qin Liu laboratory involves the application of biostatistics—the statistical analysis of complex data generated from modern biological laboratories combined with variety of clinical information—to find correlations between genes, disease and individual patient health. Biostatistics allows scientists to put into context the often-overwhelming amount of information collected through experimentation in the laboratory as well as from clinical and population studies.
Liu’s published research demonstrates the power of biostatistics in to breast and ovarian cancer. Among other findings, her work helped identify the effects of pregnancy and the postpartum period on changing a woman’s risk for these cancers. She has been the lead biostatistician and co-investigator for several NIH-funded programs on infectious diseases; clinical trials on breast cancer treatment; behavioral and educational intervention research; and research on health care outcomes.
Liu began her research career with a scholarship to study medicine at Shanxi Medical University in Taiyuan, China, where she would earn both a medical degree and a master’s degree in health statistics. Liu followed her interests in the emerging informative power of medical statistics with a doctorate in biostatistics at Shanghai Medical University in Shanghai, China in 1998. The next year, she traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts to begin a postdoctoral fellowship in biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts. While there, she earned a second master’s degree, this time in public health and epidemiology.
In 2005, Liu was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). Two years later, she transferred to the Biostatistical Research Group in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine within the Department of Medicine. Liu joined The Wistar Institute in 2011 as an associate professor.