A leader in the use of statistical computing and inference in areas including genomics, molecular biology and cancer, Michael Newton, PhD, has been named chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Currently a professor in the department, Newton is also affiliated with the UW Department of Statistics in the College of Letters and Science. He served as interim chair of biostatistics and medical informatics over the past year.

Members of the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics provide expertise for investigators in the basic, clinical and population health sciences by collaborating on experimental design and conducting and analyzing studies across campus and around the state. Collaborators include faculty affiliated with the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, the UW Carbone Cancer Center and the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation. The department also engages in instruction in undergraduate and graduate programs in biomedical data sciences.

Michael Newton standing near a chalkboard
Michael Newton

“As we take on the larger goal of reducing the burden of disease and improving health through research, our department is poised to have a greater influence than ever,” Newton said.

“Statistical and computational thinking plays a central role in driving investigation forward in basic science, population health and clinical research,” he said. “I am honored to lead and contribute to these efforts as we navigate the complex and emerging challenges in data and health.”

Newton earned undergraduate degrees in engineering, mathematics and statistics from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He earned his master’s degree and PhD in statistics from the University of Washington.

Newton recently served as co-director of the Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics Mechanisms Program at the UW Carbone Cancer Center and as co-director of the Center for Predictive Computational Phenotyping, a collaboration supported by National Institutes of Health Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative.

Newton is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association and the International Statistics Institute.

“The Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics is already a national and international leader, uniquely merging expertise across an array of biomedical data sciences,” said Dr. Robert N. Golden, dean of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “Dr. Newton is exceptionally well-suited to advance the missions of the department and our school. His strong scientific background, coupled with his collaborative and leadership traits, are a perfect fit for this important role.”

Newton’s appointment is effective Oct. 1, 2019.