Biostatistics Shared Resource for Massey Cancer Center

The mission of the Massey Cancer Center (MCC) Biostatistics Shared Resource (BSSR) is to promote excellence in cancer research by providing outstanding biostatistical support and collaboration to Massey members.

Our faculty and staff at the BSSR play an instrumental role in cancer research at the Massey Cancer Center. They design innovative cancer clinical trials via applications of their methodological research, oversee cancer center study protocols in the Protocol Review and Monitoring System (PRMS), and promote high-quality study conduct in the Data Safety Monitoring Committee (DSMC). The BSSR Core also trains postdoctoral scientists and clinical fellows in drafting pilot grants and K awards and provides training through seminars and individual consultation sessions. 

The collaborative nature of this work optimizes the shared resources' effectiveness, resulting in support from peer-reviewed grants and publications at top-tier journals.


To achieve our mission, we aspire to the following goals:

  • Foster long-term collaborations with cancer researchers, beginning with idea conception and continuing through the peer-review process and beyond.
  • Promote the use of reproducible and open research practices
  • Identify and tailor appropriate biostatistical tools and adhere to evidence-based decisions for each research question
  • Provide training in study design, biostatistical analysis, and reproducible research practices.

Who Should Contact the BSSR

Our principal goal is to foster long-term scientific collaborations with Massey investigators, and we encourage prospective cancer researchers to contact us as soon as they conceive of their research question. We are trained to help cancer researchers think through the quantitative aspects of study design, including sampling and cohort identification, measurement definition, analysis set construction, and drafting statistical plans, and the sooner in the process we can begin to offer that assistance, the better both the collaboration and the research will be.

Another of our goals is to provide training in study design, biostatistical analysis, and reproducible research practices, so we are happy to provide consultations to discuss these matters; we can also provide advice on proposals, analysis plans, statistical code and output, and draft manuscripts.

If at any point in these consultations it becomes clear that the relationship needs to expand, we can discuss avenues to support that growth. We strongly encourage requests for assistance with projects to be made early in the research process and with sufficient time for biostatistical work to be completed.

Sound and strategic planning for effective and high-quality cancer research takes months, and it is difficult to guarantee high standards or performance in a few days or weeks. We prioritize requests for assistance with funded support for biostatistical analyses and grant proposals with sufficient time given for completion.

In order to better manage statistical work on projects with external deadlines, the BSSR suggests that users:

  • Notify the Core at least 6 months before the grant deadline for competing NIH P series, U series, and SPORE grants (and similar sized foundation grants).
  • Notify the Core at least 2 months before the grant deadline for competing NIH R series and K series grants (and similar sized foundation grants).
  • Provide the Core at least 1 month before the deadline with data sets for an analysis for an abstract submission to a national or international meeting (e.g., ASCO, AACR, ASH, ASTRO).

Frequently Asked Questions

Collaboration Process

The collaboration process begins when you submit a request through our electronic submission portal (provide link). At that point a team member will reach out to you electronically to set up a time to discuss your request. At the initial meeting – which may take place virtually or in-person – we will deeply discuss your request, revise if necessary, develop an action plan, and set scope-of-work and expectations. If your request is approved, then a Statement of Work detailing all agreed-upon activities (including any of the following: drafting of grant/proposal sections, sample size justifications, drafting informatics and database management plan, drafting of statistical analysis plans, and dissemination plan) will be delivered for review and signature within one week. Once the signed Statement of Work is received, BSSR team members will be assigned to your project and collaborations will proceed as planned.

Upon project completion, collaborators will receive a summary report of all activities and all agreed upon research materials (including, as applicable, any grant/protocol sections, manuscript and presentation sections, as well as all database and software scripts). Collaborators will also receive a link to complete an online evaluation form of the services provided by the BSSR team. Note that two important metrics used to evaluate the BSSR are the numbers of awarded research/grant proposals and peer-reviewed publications. As such, BSSR members will contact you periodically to check on the status of pending grants and publications.

For more details, please see the ASA guidance document, When You Consult a Statistician...What to Expect.