Runze Li, Ph.D.

Runze LiPrincipal Investigator, The Methodology Center
Verne M. Willaman Professor of Statistics
Eberly Family Chair, Statistics
Co-Director, Penn State Center for Statistical Genetics
Professor, Public Health Sciences

The Methodology Center
The Pennsylvania State University
433 Health and Human Development Building
University Park, PA 16802
Google Scholar profile


Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000 (Statistics)
M.S., Academica Sinica, Beijing (Statistics)
B.S., Beijing Normal University (Mathematics) 

Research Interests & Collaborations

My research is primarily focused on the fields of variable screening, variable selection and intensive longitudinal data analysis.

Variable selection is fundamental to statistical modeling. In my work, new approaches are proposed to select significant variables for various statistical models. We have shown that the proposed approaches have oracle properties; namely, they work as well as if the correct submodel were known.

I also work on variable screening for datasets where the number of variables greatly exceeds the number of subjects, as is common in genetic data. Variable screening methods will enable behavioral researchers to focus their efforts on a reduced subset of predictors that have potential impact on an outcome.

My work on intensive longitudinal data focuses on the time-varying effect model (TVEM), which lets researchers see changes in relationships between variables without making assumptions about the nature of those relationships.

I am working on several related projects that apply nonparametric and semiparametric statistical modeling techniques to the analysis of intensive longitudinal data including ecological momentary assessment data.

My collaborators on these projects are Lisa Dieker (Wesleyan University), Anne Buu (University of Michigan), Helen KamensLinda CollinsStephanie Lanza, and John Dziak.

Recent Honors 

2018: Eberly Family Chair in Statistics
2017: Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science 
2017: Distinguished Achievement Award from The International Chinese Statistical Association
​2016: The Canadian Journal of Statistics award
2014-2018: Each year named Highly Cited Researcher in Mathematics based on data from Essential Science Indicators
2013-2015: Co-Editor, Annals of Statistics
2012: The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization Gerbier-Mumm International Award
2012: Distinguished Professor, Statistics
2011: Fellow, American Statistical Association

 Recent Grants

Center for Complex Data to Knowledge in Drug Abuse and HIV Behavioral Science
National Institute on Drug Abuse: P50 DA039838
2015-2020; Roles: Project Director of Multidimensional and Dynamic Moderation in Drug Abuse and HIV Studies; Director of Pilot, Mentoring, and Professional Development Core (Center PI: Linda M. Collins)

Optimization and Statistical Procedures for Big Data and Applications
National Science Foundation: DMS 1820702
2018-2021; Role: Principal Investigator

Penn State Biomedical Big Data to Knowledge Training Program
National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine T32
2016-2021; Role: Co-Principal Investigator

Pennsylvania State University Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS)
National Institute on Drug Abuse
2013-2018; Role: Investigator (PI: Joshua Muscat)

Measurement and Methodology for Daily Patterns of Drug Use and Related Behaviors
National Institute on Drug Abuse
2013-2018; Role: PI of Subcontract (PI: Rebecca Cunningham)