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Meet our new faculty: Laura B. Balzer

Laura B. Balzer

  • Discipline: Biostatistics
  • Research interests: Preventing infectious diseases and improving community health through causal inference and machine learning
  • Hometown: Middlebury, Conn.
  • Current city: Berkeley
  • Pronouns: She/her
  • Hobbies: Running, hiking, playing with my rescue dogs, going to concerts

In July 2022, Berkeley Public Health welcomed new Associate Professor of Biostatistics Laura B. Balzer. Dr. Balzer received her PhD in biostatistics from UC Berkeley School of Public Health in 2015, her MPhil in Computational Biology from the University of Cambridge in 2009, and her BS in applied mathematics from the University of Vermont in 2008. We asked her about her work and hopes for the semester.

Where did you live and work before you started at UC Berkeley School of Public Health?

For the past 5 years or so, I was an assistant professor of biostatistics at UMass Amherst and lived in Amherst, Mass. Before that, I was a postdoc at the Harvard School of Public Health and lived outside of Boston.

What are you currently working on?

I aim to improve the design and analysis of both randomized trials and observational studies by addressing common challenges arising from messy real-world data. My work has largely been motivated by ongoing collaborations in Uganda and Kenya. I am the primary statistician for several studies aiming to eliminate HIV and improve community health in rural East Africa (e.g., searchendaids.com). Overall, my work is informed by cross-disciplinary, real-world problems and aims to ensure methodological advances in academia translate into real-world impact.

What are your hopes going into your first semester at UC Berkeley School of Public Health?

I am so excited to reconnect with colleagues at the Center for Targeted Machine Learning and Causal Inference, cultivate new collaborations, teach and learn from BPH’s students, and be back in the Bay Area.

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