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Spotlights

 

SDS Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Bindu Viswanathan

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 9 November 2016—Meet Bindu Viswanathan, Ph.D., a lecturer in the SDS Department.

Tell us a little bit about yourself - educational background, work experience, etc.

I got my Ph.D. in Biostatistics in 1999 from Emory University. For the next three years, I worked as a Biostatistician at Merck and Novartis, as the statistics lead on Phase III clinical trials in the fields of HIV-AIDS, anxiety/depression and eye diseases. I missed teaching and the academic environment, so I moved back to Emory as research faculty in 2002, teaching, and working on collaborative research projects with the Emory schools of Nursing, Medicine, and Public Health, as well as the CDC and VA healthcare systems. I moved to Austin in 2006 for my husband’s job, and went back to school to earn an M.S. in Conservation Biology from Texas State. I started teaching at UT in Spring 2012 and have been here ever since.

What led you to choose statistics as your field?

My love for math and quantitative thinking led me to take a lot of classes in statistics; a degree in biostatistics was a natural progression from there. Biostatistics was especially interesting because it plays a vital role in medical and pharmaceutical research, and hence, it impacts our lives directly.


Tell us about a project or piece of research you have worked on while here at UT.

My first project at UT was to help transition the Biostatistics course from the Biology Department to SDS, and revamp the course structure. I am currently working on developing research collaborations with faculty in the Schools of Nursing and Engineering, in addition to teaching full-time.

Who is your role model, in the statistics field or otherwise?

In statistics, some of my professors in graduate school were hugely influential in inspiring me to pursue a career in this field. Many of my teaching techniques are inspired by them. Wildlife conservation is an issue that’s close to my heart, and Jane Goodall is a role model and hero in that area.

What is your favorite book or song?

Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall is one of my favorites. Others are Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, Collapse by Jared Diamond, and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

What is your favorite vacation destination?

Patagonia, Argentina and the Galapagos Islands! But really, the high mountains anywhere in the world, since my husband and I love traveling and high-altitude trekking.

If you were not teaching, what would you be doing?

I am an amateur artist, and have done several small shows of my paintings and photographs in local Austin festivals, coffee shops and restaurants. I also do competitive country western dancing and social latin dancing, so these activities take up most of my time outside of work.

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