Department of Public Health Sciences

Department of

Public Health Sciences


Public Health Sciences

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Drawn to the notion that simple logic and numbers can facilitate our understanding of people, ideas, and events

by Tim Rosillo

MSc specializing in biostatistics candidate Andrew Dabbikeh has always had an interest in statistics and the cross over it has with biology. “I am drawn to the notion that simple logic and numbers can facilitate our understanding of people, ideas, and events,” he says. “I am fascinated by the collection and analysis of data to understand and discover past phenomena, which can be used to predict future events. Along with statistics, biology had been an interest of mine since my childhood. This interest spreads across multiple fields of biology, ranging from genetics to physiology to ecology.”

Andrew began his academic career at Ryerson University, where he graduated with a BSc in biology. Alongside his biological training, Andrew completed courses in probability, statistics, and math. Andrew explains his decision on where to pursue graduate work was a simple one. “For me, the MSc specializing in Biostatistics program at Queen’s has two main things that are important, the research experience of the faculty, and the positions the alumni secure after graduation.”

With the course requirements of the program now completed, Andrew is now carrying out his practicum placement under the direction of Dr. Yingwei Peng and Ms. Jina Zhang-Salomons in the Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology at Queen’s Cancer Research Institute.  The aim of Andrew’s practicum is to examine the change in cancer survival across socioeconomic status (SES) groups from 1993 until 2010. Andrew explains, “more specifically, I want to look at whether improvements in cancer survival over time are dependent on the person’s SES. In addition, I want to investigate whether a similar time trend exists among multiple cancer sites, such as breast and lung cancer.”

Andrew is excited about applying his training to clinical research and/or public health employment upon graduation. “With the skills developed in the biostatistics program I could evaluate the efficacy of new drugs, provide statistical input into protocol, or look into epidemiological patterns on a local, provincial, or national scale.”