Student Spotlight: Kristine Rosenberger

| Thu, 01/27/22
Statistics student Kristine Rosenberger standing in front of a tan background.
FSU doctoral candidate in statistics Kristine Rosenberger. Courtesy photo.

Kristine Rosenberger is a doctoral student within the Department of Statistics, part of Florida State University’s College of Arts and Sciences. She earned her bachelor’s degree in human health and mathematics from Emory University in 2016 before going on to earn a master’s degree in biostatistics at FSU in 2019. In 2020, Rosenberger won the Clara Kibler Davis Scholarship, an award for outstanding FSU women students in science, technology, engineering and math.

What year are you in school, and when do you expect to graduate?

I am a fifth-year biostatistics doctoral candidate, and I expect to graduate in Spring 2022.

Tell us a little about your background, where you’re from and what brought you to FSU.

I’m from Chicago, but I earned my undergraduate degree from Emory University in Atlanta, which is when I became seriously interested in health care. Because I’m squeamish around blood and not as strong in the physical sciences, I never really considered a career in patient care. My first exposure to biostatistics was during the summer after my sophomore year of college through the Summer Institute in Biostatistics, a program sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health. I knew I had found the field I wanted to work in, and during my last two years of undergrad, I worked as a data analyst at Emory’s School of Public Health and School of Medicine to gain experience and strengthen my eventual graduate school application.

What drew me to FSU was the academic rigor and theoretical backbone of the biostatistics program, as well as the opportunity to teach undergraduate statistics.

What inspired you to stay at FSU to pursue a doctorate in biostatistics?

I have always enjoyed research, and the thought of being able to further my education predominately through research projects after I earned my master’s degree was appealing. I’ve learned so much about statistics and programming through the process of writing manuscripts for my dissertation, and I feel much more confident about entering the job market than I would have if I’d gone directly into it after finishing my master’s.

What aspect of your areas of study do you find most fascinating? What are some exciting projects/ goals you’re working on?

My work focuses on research synthesis methods, or in other words, I combine the results of multiple clinical trials and assess their applications to evidence-based medicine. What excites me about research synthesis is how relevant it is to the pharmaceutical industry. I’ve completed two internships with pharmaceutical companies, one at Boehringer Ingelheim and one at Eli Lilly, that have allowed me to directly apply my academic expertise to clinical settings. My projects for both internships were applications of meta-analysis, which also happens to be my dissertation topic. Through these two experiences, I learned about the role that statisticians play in drug development for pharmaceutical companies.

Tell us about your first-author manuscript “Prior Choices of Between-Study Heterogeneity in Contemporary Bayesian Network Meta-analyses: an Empirical Study.” What was it like to be published in the Journal of General and Internal Medicine?

This was incredibly exciting, as it was my first first-author publication. In this study, we evaluated different prior choices, or choices made with previous knowledge of the information, for between-study heterogeneity on network meta-analysis, which is an examination of data from many independent studies to find trends. We found that for large network meta-analyses, the informative priors, which express specific information, and uninformative priors, which express general information, produced similar results. However, for small network meta-analyses, the results produced by the informative priors were more precise.

I learned so much about the publication process and how to work with researchers from other institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. It was rewarding to contribute original peer-reviewed research to the field!

You also published a COVID-19 research manuscript, "Methodological assessment of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of COVID-19: A meta-epidemiological study." What is important for people to know?

In this manuscript, we assessed meta-analyses on COVID-19. I undertook a literature search for all publications on COVID-19 and manually extracted information about the study, outcome type and different reporting measures. We found that current systematic reviews and meta-analyses on COVID-19 may suffer from low transparency, high heterogeneity (the variation in study outcome between studies), and poor statistical methods. Our recommendation is that future systematic reviews closely follow established reporting guidelines to ensure more accurate information. The data collection process was tedious, but contributing to the understanding of the rapidly evolving pandemic was absolutely worth it.

What on-campus resources have helped you achieve success?

I attribute my success largely to my strong work-life balance. The office space within the Department of Statistics provides a distraction-free environment, allowing me to focus and separate my workspace from my home space. Fitness is also an important part of my daily routine, and I really appreciate having access to an on-campus gym like the Leach Center.

Are there any faculty or staff who have helped or inspired you?

My adviser, assistant professor in the Department of Statistics Lifeng Lin, has played an integral role in my success at FSU. He’s helped me with the conceptualization and editing of my research projects; I owe all of my publications to his mentorship. Radha Bose, the teaching assistant supervisor, is also incredible! She’s an excellent resource for questions or concerns about teaching, and it’s clear that she cares about the success and happiness of all the grad student TAs.

Following your graduation, what are your plans? Even though you might miss FSU, what are you looking forward to once you graduate?

I’ve accepted a job as a senior clinical data scientist with Boehringer Ingelheim, which is based out of Ridgefield, Conn. The company specializes in the development of drug therapies related to cardiovascular health, oncology, respiratory, metabolic diseases, immunology and retinal health. I’m looking forward to working in the pharmaceutical industry and having a direct impact on the lives of patients.