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Using complex data analysis to improve health

Biostatistics graduate Nolan Cole (‘21) recently earned the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Cole says it was a complicated process of applications, nominations, and writing to get the scholarship, but he applied because he knew it was important for his PhD work. Cole plans to enroll in a PhD program next fall in biostatistics and biomedical informatics.

Nolan Cole

His epigenetic research with professor Steve Johnson in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology examined how DNA is stored inside of cells. Cole has also worked with meta-analyses, or the statistical pooling of results that all investigate the same thing. He gives the example of combining multiple clinical trials that investigate the same illness in different populations. Cole had an internship with Harvard last summer working with single cell RNA sequencing, and this summer he received an internship with UCLA.

Cole describes his experience with the BYU College of Life Sciences as “awesome.” He says it gave him many great opportunities in his career. “BYU does a great job opening the door to go to tons of conferences,” he says. Cole fondly remembers his genomics class where he learned about linear special models for predicting public health outcomes.

A PhD in biomedical informatics and biostatistics will help Cole pursue his passions for numbers and clinical research. “I want to contribute to human health,” he says.