University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: Biostatistician Named to Forbes' List of Top Scientists for Third Straight Year

Biostatistician Named to Forbes' List of Top Scientists for Third Straight Year


Daniela Witten has done it again. The assistant professor of biostatistics at the UW School of Public Health was named to Forbes' "30 Under 30" list for 2013 in science and healthcare. It's the second straight year Witten has made the list in that category. In 2011, she was recognized in science and innovation. The magazine lists the 30 most influential young people in 15 separate categories.

"It is such an honor to be named three years in a row," said Witten, 29. "It's especially fun for me since statisticians are not often recognized in the popular media." Witten earned a PhD in statistics from Stanford University in 2010 before joining the UW School of Public Health. She is also an adjunct assistant professor in the UW Department of Statistics.

Forbes cited Witten's use of statistical machine learning methods to analyze the large data sets coming out of DNA sequencing and other fields – findings that could lead to better treatment and prevention of disease. Witten has co-authored a textbook on machine learning and has published more than 30 articles on new techniques for analyzing data sets.

"In the last 10 years," Witten said, "new techniques in biology, faster computing, and other innovations have led to a deluge of data. So now we have an unexpected problem: we are data-rich and analysis-poor." Witten said there is a "desperate need" for improved statistical methods to answer today's scientific problems, and added, "It's a great time to be a statistician!"