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Devin C. Koestler, PhD

Devin Koestler portrait
Associate Professor, Biostatistics & Data Science

Courtesy Associate Professor, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

co-Director of the Biostatistics and Informatics Shared Resource, co-Director of the Biostatistics and Informatics Shared Resource, University of Kansas Cancer Center, SOM-Kansas City, University of Kansas Cancer Center

Director of the Quantitative 'Omics Core (QOC), Director of the Quantitative 'Omics Core, Kansas Institute of Precision Medicine (KIPM), University of Kansas Medical Center, SOM-Kansas City, Kansas Institute of Precision Medicine (KIPM)

Bioinformatics Site-Director, SON-Kansas City

dkoestler@kumc.edu

Professional Background

Dr. Koestler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He received his PhD in Biostatistics from Brown University and completed his postdoctoral research training in the Quantitative Biosciences (QBS) program at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. His primary research involves the development and application of statistical methodologies for high-throughput ‘omics’ data, with an emphasis on array-based DNA methylation data. In addition to his methodological interests, which include: statistical genomics, computational statistics, machine learning, and finite mixture models, he also has a deeply rooted interest in epigenetics and molecular epidemiology. Many of Dr. Koestler’s collaborations involve large-scale epidemiologic studies for studying DNA methylation and its relationship to environmental and lifestyle exposures, as well as its role disease susceptibility and prognosis. Dr. Koestler also currently serves as both the Associate Director of the Biostatistics and Informatics Shared Resource (BISR) that supports the University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC), the KUMC Site-Director for Kansas-INBRE (K-INBRE) Bioinformatics, and the Director of the Quantitative ‘Omics Core (QOC) that supports the Kansas Institute for Precision Medicine (KIPM).

Education and Training
  • BS, Applied Mathematics, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
  • PhD, Biostatistics, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, Training Program for Quantitative Population Sciences in Cancer, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Research

Overview

The broad mission of my research involves the development and application of bioinformatics/statistical methodologies for analyzing high-throughput 'omic data. I also have deeply rooted interest in epigenetics and molecular epidemiology, specifically DNA methylation and its implications for human health and disease. Depending on the disease or condition being studied, it is possible that only a small fraction of the molecular markers measured (i.e., CpG sites, genes, etc.) vary across subjects in any biologically meaningful way. My job is therefore to develop new and/or apply existing statistical methodologies for identifying these markers and to understand their functional role in the context of the disease under study. An appropriate analogy for this task is the age-old adage, "finding a needle in a haystack" - actually it is often like trying to find a needle in a barn full of haystacks! In addition to my methodological interests, which include, statistical 'omics, computational statistics, multivariate statistics, machine learning, unsupervised clustering, mixture deconvolution, mixture models, and mixed-effects models, I am also passionate about my collaborations, which span from environmental health, the human microbiome, to a wide variety of different epigenetics studies. The shared theme across my collaborative research projects is the use of high-dimensional 'omic data to gain further insight into some biological process.

Current Research and Grants
  • Immune Epigenetic Biomarkers of Survival in Glioma Epidemiology, University of California San Francisco, Co-PI
  • Immune Suppression and Response to Immune Therapy in Bladder Caner Recurrence and Progression, Dartmouth College, Co-PI