Xinhua Liu

Xinhua Liu, PhD, is Professor Emerita of Biostatistics at the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), in the Department of Biostatistics at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. In the time that she has worked at CUMC, from 1993 to her retirement in 2020, Liu has contributed to numerous studies in the fields of public health and medicine, notably environmental and mental health. She has also developed statistical methods to solve problems in biomedical research and taught a biostatistics course. She has published 194 single and co-authored publications in over 90 journals.

In 1993, Liu started as a research fellow at New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) and Columbia University’s HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies and joined the division of Biostatistics at NYSPI in 1994. Her research in the area of mental health started with studies on gay and bisexual men and intravenous drug users, with investigations into their neuropsychological symptoms over time, HIV-related neurological disease progression, and longitudinal changes in risk behaviors. She also made contributions to studies on alcohol and substance use, depressive symptoms and suicidal behavior, and mental health service use among children and young adults. She was involved in studies on adult suicide, alcoholism and substance use disorder, as well as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia. For nearly twenty years, she was committed to studies of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

Liu joined the Department of Biostatistics at Columbia University in 1997 and became the Center biostatistician at the Columbia Center for Environment Health in Northern Manhattan when it was first founded in 1998. In this role, she provided statistical support to center members for grant applications and data analyses, as well as mentoring to their graduate students. She was deeply involved in collaborative projects that investigated the harmful effects of exposure to phthalates, PAH, naphthol, pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides among children. She made great contributions to various arsenic-related studies in Bangladesh over two decades and to studies of the effect of lead on child development in former Yugoslavia. Her collaborative work with center members also included studies on children with retinoblastoma in Mexico, domestic asthmatic children, and patients with essential tremor, ALS, and cystic fibrosis.

Liu also made contributions to statistical methodology. The models that she proposed to characterize functional decline were applied by others to study the progression of Alzheimer's disease. She also developed methods for item selection in a scale that provide guidance to exclude redundant items in predicting binary or quantitative outcomes. Her cut-point selection methods have expanded options for diagnostic screening.

Liu holds a doctorate in Biostatistics from Johns Hopkins University (1991) and a Master of Medicine in Health Statistics from the Shanghai First Medical College in China (1982).

Last updated January 13, 2023