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F. DuBois Bowman

1 February 2020 2,224 views No Comment

F. DuBois Bowman
Photo courtesy of the School of Public Health

Affiliation: Dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health and Professor of Biostatistics
Educational Background: PhD, Biostatistics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Master’s, Biostatistics, University of Michigan; BSc, Mathematics, Morehouse College

F. DuBois Bowman is a renowned expert in the statistical analysis of brain imaging data. His work mines massive data sets, with complex spatial and temporal dependence structures, and has important implications for mental and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, schizophrenia, and substance addiction. His research program has developed new statistical techniques, methodologically involving spatial statistics, Bayesian modeling, and statistical machine learning. His research has helped reveal brain patterns that reflect disruption from psychiatric diseases, detect biomarkers for neurological diseases, and depict more individualized responses to therapeutic treatments.

Bowman was previously chair of biostatistics at Columbia University and professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Emory University, where he founded and directed the Center for Biomedical Imaging Statistics.

Bowman was always intrigued by science and math growing up and had parents who challenged him to excel academically. He also had teachers who reinforced the gratification of fulfilling high standards. Henry Gore, chair of the department of mathematics at Morehouse during Bowman’s undergraduate years, fostered his development as a young mathematician and deepened his appreciation for the joy of mathematics. Bill Jenkins opened Bowman’s eyes to the field of public health (initially biostatistics and epidemiology) as an area to combine his interests in mathematics and health and to which Bowman would eventually devote his career. Arthur Jones, a mathematical statistician, anchored Bowman’s foundation in probability and statistics at Morehouse, which he built upon during his graduate studies. And Margaret Weber-Levine, chair of the department of psychology during Bowman’s undergraduate studies at Morehouse and director of a National Institutes of Health–funded research program he participated in, helped lay the foundations for conducting research and pursuing a research career.

Of his graduate school days at both the University of Michigan and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bowman has fond memories. “One grows intellectually at such an accelerated rate during graduate school,” said Bowman. “Through the rigors of this educational process, I developed very strong friendships and learned immensely from my classmates. I also benefitted from strong support from faculty, many of whom I still regard as role models and mentors.”

The most rewarding aspects of being a statistician to Bowman are using statistical problem-solving to work at the brink of breakthroughs for important societal problems, working with students and other mentoring activities to prepare future professionals and scholars, and being part of a community of interesting and impressive people.

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