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PI & Lab Director:

Laura B. Balzer, PhD

Dr. Balzer is an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She earned her PhD from the University of California-Berkeley and completed her post-doctoral studies at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her areas of expertise include Causal inference and Machine Learning. These disciplines are integral to developing, evaluating, and implementing data-driven solutions in Public Health and Medicine.

Dr. Balzer is the Primary Statistician and part of the core leadership team for 3 ongoing and 1 recently completed trials in East Africa: the SEARCH Study to prevent HIV and improve community health (NCT01864603), the SPIRIT study to prevent tuberculosis (NCT03315962), the SATURN study to improve care outcomes among youth with HIV (NCT03848728), and the SAPPHIRE study to eliminate HIV (NCT04810650). Her work is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and has been recognized with the ASA’s Causality in Statistics Education Award and the Gertrude M. Cox Scholarship.

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Lab Members


Hachem Saddiki, MS

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Josh Nugent, MS

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You? Please contact the lab with your interest.

Past Members


Alejandra Benitez, PhD

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  • Dissertation: "Targeted machine learning approaches for leveraging data in resource-constrained settings"

  • Statistical Scientist at Genentech


Elliot Yang,

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  • Dissertation: "Targeted learning for effect modification in randomized clinical trials & cluster randomized trials"

  • Statistician at Traveller's Insurance


Stephen Lauer, PhD

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  • Dissertation: "Methods for making policy-relevant forecasts of infectious disease incidence"

  • Director of Data Science at Certilytics

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