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Susanne Urach awarded L'Oreal Austria Fellowship

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(Vienna, 31 July 2017) Susanne Urach, PhD student at MedUni Vienna's Institute of Medical Statistics and project assistant on the EU FP7 ASTERIX project, has been awarded the L'Oreal Austria Fellowship.

Susanne Urach's fields of interest include statistical methods to adjust for multiple testing and adaptive trial design, whereby certain aspects of the design (e.g. trial duration and sample size) can be adapted in interim analyses, taking account of the data aggregated so far. Within the EU FP7 ASTERIX project she has developed methods for the design and analysis of group sequential methods with multiple treatment arms (Urach S. & Posch M. (2016)).

Under the L'Oreal Fellowship she will investigate parametric group sequential methods for clinical trials with multiple endpoints, which offer a clear power advantage over non-parametric methods, such as the Bonferroni correction. The main challenge for the use of parametric methods is that the correlations are generally unknown and have to be estimated. For the type I error rate control the accuracy of the estimators has to be taken into account. The developed methods shall exactly control the multiple type I error rate for both, group sequential and fixed sample clinical studies. The procedures will be implemented as an R package in statistical software and released to the public. This will hopefully encourage more frequent use of multiple testing methods, which are based on a joint distribution of variables.

The L'Oreal Fellowship will enable her to execute this project and to complete her cumulative dissertation, so that she can then continue her academic career as a postdoc.
The L'Oreal Austria Fellowship is a programme run by L'Oreal in collaboration with the Austrian UNESCO Commission and the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Its purpose is to support female scientists from different fields in the early stages of their careers. Since the scheme was set up, it has helped 40 women.

About Susanne Urach
Susanne Urach studied mathematics and physics at the University of Vienna and worked as a high school teacher in Vienna. Since November 2013 she has been pursuing PhD programme N094, which is centred on "Medical informatics, biostatistics and complex systems", at the Institute of Medical Statistics at the Center for Medical Statistics, Informatics and Intelligent Systems (CEMSIIS) of the Medical University of Vienna. Susanne Urach is currently completing her dissertation entitled "Adaptive clinical trials in small populations" (Supervisor: Martin Posch).
She is employed on the ASTERIX (Advances in Small Trials dEsign for Regulatory Innovation and eXcellence) project, which is part of the European Union’s FP7 programme. In addition to teaching statistics to medical students, she also consults doctors on the statistical analysis of clinical trials and/or personally undertakes the statistical reporting.