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Zhigang Li, PhD

Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology


Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
Ph.D. in Biostatistics, 2010

Nankai University, School of Mathematical Sciences, Tianjin, China
B.S. in Mathematics, 2001

Dartmouth Cancer Center
Quantitative Biomedical Sciences


Contact Information

Professional Interests

My lab is interested in developing (statistical) modeling tools in the field of molecular epidemiology to analyze human microbiome and epigenetic changes in order to identify microbes and DNA methylation that mediate disease-leading causal pathways in children’s health research. I am also interested in joint modeling of quality of life and survival in palliative care research. The modeling tools involved in my research include lasso-type regularization, SCAD regularization, mediation analysis, structural equation modeling, GEE, mixed models, Cox model, etc.

Grant Information

Title: Statistical methods for joint survival and longitudinal quality of life analysis in palliative care studies
Role: contact-PI
Agency: Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Type: Pilot Project Grant
Period: 2012-2014
Total cost: $48,000

Title: Design and Analysis of Palliative Care Trials Evaluating Early Interventions in palliative care studies
Role: PI
Agency: NIH
Type: R03NR014915
Period: 2014-2016
Total cost: $160,000

Title: Mediation analysis methods to model human microbiome mediating disease-leading causal pathways in children
Role: PI
Agency: NIH
Type: R01GM123014
Period: 2017-2022
Total cost: $2,323,306

Title: Evaluating Mediation Effects of the Microbiome and Epigenetics Using High Dimensional Assays
Role: Project PI
Agency: NIH
Type: P20GM104416 (Center PI: M Karagas)
Period: 2018-2023
Total cost: $1,312,785

I am and have been co-I or key personnel on a number of other grants.

Courses Taught

QBS120: Foundations of Biostatistics I, Geisel School of Medicine
CFM104: Intro to Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Geisel School of Medicine


Clinical Cancer Review Committee, Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Editorial Board: Biodata Mining, Frontiers in public health, Palliative Medicine & Care: Open Access

Selected Publications


  • Li Z, Frost HR, Totesn T, Zhao L, Liu L, Lyons K, Chen H, Cole B, Currow D and Bakitas MA (2017) A Semiparametric Joint Model for Terminal Trend of Quality of Life and Survival in Palliative Care Research. Statistics in Medicine Accepted.

  • El-Jawahri A, Traeger L, Greer JA, Vandusen H, Fishman SR, LeBlanc TW, Pirl WF, Jackson VA, Telles J, Rhodes A, Li Z, Spitzer TR, McAfee S, Chen YA and Temel JS (2017) Effect of Inpatient Palliative Care during Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HCT) on Psychological Distress Six Months Post-Transplant: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2017 In press

  • Temel JS, Greer JA, El-Jawahri A, Pirl WF, Park ER, Jackson VA, Back AL, Kamdar M, Jacobsen J, Chittenden EH, Rinaldi SP, Gallagher ER, Eusebio JR, Li Z, Muzikansky A, Ryan DP (2017) Effects of Early Integrated Palliative Care in Patients with Lung and Gastrointestinal Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2017 35(8):834-841

  • Li Z and McKeague IW (2013) Power and sample size calculations for generalized estimating equations via local asymptotics. Statistica Sinica 23 231-250

  • Li Z, McKeague IW and Lumey LH (2014) Optimal Design Strategies for Sibling Studies with Binary Exposures. The International Journal of Biostatistics 10:185-96

  • Bakitas MA, Tosteson TD, Li Z, Lyons KD, Hull JG, Li Zho, Dionne-Odom JN, Frost J, Dragnev KH, Hegel MT, Azuero A and Ahles TA (2015) Early Versus Delayed Initiation of Concurrent Palliative Oncology Care: Patient Outcomes in the ENABLE III Randomized Controlled Trial. J Clin Oncol 2015 May 1; 33(13):1438-45

  • Dionne-Odom JN, Azuero A, Lyons KD, Hull JG, Tosteson T, Li Z, Li Zho, Frost J, Dragnev KH, Akyar I, Hegel MT and Bakitas MA (2015) Benefits of Early Versus Delayed Palliative Care to Informal Family Caregivers of Patients With Advanced Cancer: Outcomes From the ENABLE III Randomized Controlled Trial. J Clin Oncol 2015 May 1; 33(13):1446-52

  • Perera FP, Li Z, Whyatt R, Hoepner L, Wang S, Camann D and Rauh V (2009) Prenatal Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Exposure and Child IQ at Age 5. Pediatrics 124 e195-e202.

  • Li Z, Tosteson T and Bakitas M (2013) Joint Modeling Quality of Life and Survival Using a Terminal Decline Model in Palliative Care Studies. Statistics in Medicine 32 1394-406

  • Complete List of My Publications is here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/zhigang.li.1/bibliography/42789737/public/?sort=date&direction=descending.