Going Gym Free with Hosts Marc & Beth and Guest Karen Basen-Engquist
Blog Talk Radio
Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., professor of Behavioral Science and director of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship was a featured guest on the "Let's Talk! Going Gym Free Show" with Marc and Beth. Listen now
The National Cancer Institute is providing data for researchers to develop novel analytic approaches for quantifying physical activity and dietary exposures
This data is available to all qualified investigators for studies of physical activity and nutrition. Interested investigators can request access to IDATA Study via the Cancer Data Access System.
Getting to Know Jaejoon Song, MS
Jaejoon Song is a statistical analyst and a Ph.D. student who enjoys writing software that drives science for the benefit of his research community. Although he could license and proprietize his unique programs, he believes that scientific software should be readily accessible, so that researchers can run, study, modify and redistribute for the public good. His software is free and available on-line for other statisticians as well as those with non-technical backgrounds. Soft-spoken and modest, he is accomplished and busy, developing strategies for using individual-centered data streams for personalized medicine.
A native of South Korea, Jaejoon earned his B.A. in psychology from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. After moving to the U.S., he earned an M.A. in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island, in Kingston. A mentor on quantitative methods led him into statistics regarding biomedical sciences, and he earned his MS in Biostatistics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He is currently finalizing his Ph.D. in Biostatistics at the University of Texas School of Public Health, here in Houston, under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Swartz. Jaejoon came to MD Anderson to gain more experience and enrich his academic knowledge.
“My primary interest is developing integrative statistical methods for data collected using wearable sensors,” he explains. “We are now able to track behavioral factors such as physical activity and sleep patterns, as well as biological indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, insulin, and electroencephalography (EEG) throughout the day, and this information will soon be integrated into electronic health models of the future. We can create ‘buttons’ to track the results we want, and our data collection devices enable us to contribute directly to health outcomes. When we combine wearable data with clinical and genomic information, we can connect everyday information to the chances of cancer occurrence or obesity,” he proclaims.
Jaejoon’s open-source (free) software is available online on both a repository for other biostatisticians as well as a web-based program that enables less experienced users to point and click for data analysis. His three software programs have been downloaded over 14,000 times by users in 12 countries, and his work has been recognized by the American Statistical Association. “I am always quite busy at MD Anderson, analyzing data and building software infrastructure for projects conducted at The Center for Energy Balance.”
As a statistical analyst, he has worked closely with Dr. Karen Basen-Engquist, writing research articles and collaborating on study protocols and grant applications with faculty, staff, post-doctoral researchers, as well as graduate students working in the cancer prevention and survivorship arena. “We deal with lots of physical activity data, and I have assisted in writing five papers on the psychosocial variables and physical activities which impact cancer survivorship. Originally, I came on board to just analyze data we’ve collected, but recently I have been fortunate to be engaged at the initial design stage for several studies. We are currently designing a multi-year study on wearable devices which we hope will optimize our findings over time.”
“In my work, I hope to demonstrate to both laypeople and professionals that it is easy to collect, access and interpret data from wearable devices, using simple web-based programs. I am open to collaborating on new software development and would like to see more people using these, as a means for improving information collection and the outcomes it can generate.”
“At the end of the day, I’m more of a problem-driven and big-picture thinker,” he confides. “My psychology background keeps me grounded in solving problems that matter and I enjoy working with a variety of professionals, given all the numbers I deal with. It’s a very exciting time to be in this field and play a role in the processes that make data a simple, every day concept. You don’t have to be a mathematician to understand the data. But given our electronic world, information is the wave of the future. Before long, wearables will be non-wearables, and our environment will track us. I can’t wait to see this in our lifetime.”