Second Annual Biostatistics Course Held in South Africa

Second Annual Biostatistics Course Held in South Africa

May 16

For the second year in a row, African scientists learned biostatistical methods with the ultimate goal of empowering them to be part of the solution to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.


Biostatistics is the application of statistics to a wide range of topics in biology including medical research. The collection, summarization, and analysis of data from biological experiments enables scientists to draw valid conclusions from data sets and accelerate research.



Students count M&Ms for the chi square test.

The primary goal of this course, held for the first time held in new K-RITH Tower Building in Durban, South Africa,  was to give participants an overview of the various biostatistical methods used in medical research so that they can employ these techniques in their own research, as well as better understand the results presented in medical literature.


Instructor Lori Chibnik, PhD, MPH, a Biostatician at Harvard University, put emphasis on interaction and student involvement throughout the course.  For example, students counted M&Ms as object lessons for the chi square test, a  statistical hypothesis test.






With the high demand for this course– 80 applications were received for 30 spaces this year– it is hoped that the course will continue to be held and perhaps even expanded to include an advanced biostatistics course.


The course was co-hosted by the  KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH), the Ragon Institute, and the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).



Read more about the course and the comments of students at,  “Students Hungry for Biostatistics