Statistics and Biology – a match made in heaven?

Natasha Little:

The best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone’s backyard” is the now infamous quote from John Tukey and it is one that I whole heartedly get on board with. I have been a medical statistician for about eight years and in that time I have had the opportunity to work on research projects that have been focussed on epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, malaria and diet and nutrition. But why does being a statistician offer us these exciting opportunities? Well I believe that statistics has to be undoubtedly one of the most important tools in scientific research and biology in particular. Biological research generates huge amounts of data, but without statistics, that data remains just data and the exercise of collecting it merely academic. It is statistics that unlocks the information within that data and allows us to examine relationships between outcomes and associated variables and make predictions about future events.