Dr. Allison Fialkowski, this year's recipient of the Charles R. Katholi Distinguished Dissertation Award, received her PhD in biostatistics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) funded by a T32 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institute of Health. She also obtained a BS and MS in mathematics from UAB, funded by a GAANN fellowship. She taught College Math I/II to undergraduates at UAB during her studies and then worked as an actuary at Protective Life Insurance Company after graduation.

Her dissertation work in statistical genetics has involved creating the R packages SimMultiCorrData, SimCorrMix, and SimRepeat (available on CRAN and GitHub at https://github.com/AFialkowski) to simulate real correlated clinical and genetic data sets and comparing pharmacogenetic prediction in machine learning (elastic net and MARS) and Bayesian lasso regression models. She is currently a postdoctoral associate in psychiatric genetics with Dr. Scott Vrieze at the University of Minnesota working on the project GWAS & Sequencing Consortium of Alcohol and Nicotine. Her future plans in psychiatric genetics are to improve drug treatment assignment in patients by developing longitudinal machine learning models with variable selection for GWAS data, small sample sizes, and heterogeneous patient populations.

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