NIDA Awards Methodology Center 5-Year Center Grant

September 10, 2015:

Runze Li, Linda Collins, Stephanie Lanza

We are delighted to announce that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently awarded The Methodology Center a $13 million grant to support both ongoing and new research for the next five years.”This grant is the cornerstone of all our scientific funding,” said Linda Collins, Director of The Methodology Center. “Importantly, it is enabling us to launch a new initiative in the area of analysis of complex behavioral data related to substance use and HIV.”The grant will provide funding for three of our largest research projects, all of which are designed to develop research methods for use with complex data sets. Stephanie Lanza, Methodology Center scientific director and professor of biobehavioral health, will direct our mixture models project. In this project, scientists will combine latent class analysis (LCA) and time varying-effect modeling (TVEM) to examine for whom interventions work—or fail to work—and the best timing for intervention delivery. Runze Li, Verne M. Willaman Professor of Statistics and professor of public health sciences, will direct our research on variable screening and selection. In this project, scientists will develop methods for identifying the most important variables in data sets with huge numbers of variables, such as genetic data and ecological momentary assessments (EMA).susanmSusan Murphy, H.E. Robbins Professor of Statistics at The University of Michigan, will direct our third research project. Susan and her team will develop algorithms for just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAIs), which are mechanisms for delivering interventions through smartphones exactly when they are needed. All of this research serves The Methodology Center’s mission to advance public health by improving experimental design and data analysis in the social, behavioral, and health sciences.This will be the fifth NIDA center grant awarded to the Methodology Center, for a total of 24 consecutive years of funding as a NIDA Center of Excellence.”This grant also provides a large part of the infrastructure that supports the Center,” said Linda. “It is going to enable us to step up our outreach efforts to offer online training about the innovative methods we develop.” The grant started on September 1, 2015, and work on these projects has already begun.