Research Interests

Life History Analysis

In many branches of science including demography, epidemiology, medicine and engineering, a considerable amount of information is collected on the nature and timing of events of interest. In the context of medical research this data may represent the time and nature of a variety of clinically important health related events occurring over the course of an individual's life as well as any additional explanatory variables. In the context of immunologic research, for example, this data may be the dates of infection with the HIV, diagnosis with AIDS, various opportunistic infections, and death. In cancer research it may represent the dates of diagnosis with bladder cancer, of subsequent recurrences, of metasteses, or death. Finally, in cardiovascular trials, event history data may consist of the dates and types of various types of cardiac events (i.e. angina attacks, arrythmias, myocardial infarction), strokes (left/right hemisphere, etc.), and thromboses.

Event history analysis is concerned with the modeling this type of data, typically with a view to one of the following objectives: i) to accurately reflect aspects of the natural history of the disease, ii) to identify risk factors for disease progression, iii) to provide measures of the effect of medical or surgical interventions, or iv) to provide a basis for prediction about the future course of the disease at the patient or population level. I collaborate with Jerry Lawless for much of this work.

Clustered and Longitudinal Data

Longitudinal data arise when individuals are assessed repeatedly over time and responses and explanatory variables of interest are recorded at each assessment. The most suitable method for analysing data from a particular study depends on the primary scientific question, but all valid methods must address the serial correlation in the responses over time. The most common methods are based on random effect models, marginal (population-averaged) models, and transitional models. My primary interest is in the development of extensions of these methods for the analysis of longitudinal data which has cross-sectional clustering, incomplete responses, measurement error, and other challenging features.

Methodology for the Design and Analysis of Clinical Trials

The need for efficient use of available resources in medical research has led to the increased appeal of clinical trial designs based on multiple outcomes. One of my interests in the recent past has been in the development of methods that facilitate the design and analysis of randomized trials in which treatment comparisons are to be made on the basis on multivariate responses. Issues that require consideration in the area include the estimate of approximate multivariate distribution and multiple comparisons.

Collaborative Medical Research

I collaborate with researchers in rheumatology, transfusion medicine, and public health.

Centre for Prognosis in Rheumatic Diseases, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network

McMaster Centre for Transfusion Research, McMaster University

School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo

Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University

Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Tel: (519) 888-4567 ext. 35549        Fax: (519) 746-1875        Email: rjcook at uwaterloo.ca