Statisticians have teamed up with experts in agriculture in order to study a number of challenging questions, including chemical pesticides, hydrogeology, veterinary sciences, genetics, and crop management. Statisticians are involved in studies ranging from small laboratory experiments to large projects conducted over many hundreds or thousands of square miles. They work on data from the smallest scale of organisms, like viruses and bacteria, to plants, insects, animals, and humans. They work with scientists from fields such as bacteriology, genetics, biochemistry, dairy science, environmental studies, entomology, plant sciences, rural sociology, veterinary medicine, wildlife, and ecology.
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Animal health statisticians work with people educated in areas such as chemistry, biology, veterinary science, computer science, and business. They often work with companion animals, such as dogs and cats or livestock. They work to discover, develop, and market a compound with the overall goal to make animals healthier or to make food healthy, safe, and efficient to produce.
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Improved medical treatments and devices rely on careful experiments that compare promising new methods with current techniques. Biostatisticians work on clinical trials and other experiments to formulate scientific questions, determine appropriate sampling techniques, coordinate data collection procedures, and carry out statistical analyses.
Statisticians in chemistry may design studies to determine variability in a compound or to test mixtures of ingredients, or use statistical techniques to discover and replicate compounds for use in medicine. Statisticians work in many areas of chemistry, including analytical, physical, organic, inorganic, biochemical, and formulation.
Statisticians play a major role in addressing questions about the earth's natural environment, including animal populations, agricultural protections, and fertilizer and pesticide safety. Most states employ wildlife statisticians. Statisticians are employed by state and federal environmental agencies as well as companies that collect environmental data. Increasingly, companies need statisticians to help assess how a new product or plant will affect the surrounding environment. Scientific researchers also work with statisticians, often at universities, to design experiments that will answer basic questions about the environment.
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Epidemiological statisticians work on projects such as calculating cancer incidence rates or the rates of chronic and infectious diseases, monitoring and reporting on disease outbreaks, and monitoring changes in health-related behaviors such as smoking and physical activity. Fields of practice include nutritional, environmental, genetic, and social epidemiology, as well as pharmacoepidemiology.
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Statistics has been used in human genetics to create automated methods of labeling possible indicators of genetic abnormalities, such as birth defects and early aging. Statistics has also been used in animal and plant genetics to breed desirable characteristics in offspring. Using complex statistical models, statisticians aid in formulating sound decisions by distinguishing between environmental and genetic effects.
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Statisticians in pharmacology work in pharmaceuticals, animal health, and government research. They are key to all aspects of drug discovery, development, approval, and marketing. They work in pre-clinical research, clinical trials, epidemiology, health economics, and market research. Statisticians are essential in the drug development process because they ensure the validity and accuracy of findings at all stages of the process.
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Public health statisticians work on preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through organized community efforts. These include sanitation, control of contagious infections, hygiene education, early diagnosis and preventive treatment, and adequate living standards. This requires understanding of epidemiology, nutrition, antiseptic practices, and social science. In the United States, public health is studied and coordinated on a national level by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; internationally, the World Health Organization plays an equivalent role.
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