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Lynne R. Wilkens, DrPH, MS

Lynne R. Wilkens, DrPH, MS


  • DrPH, MS, Biostatistics
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research Focus

Dr. Wilkens co-directs the Biostatistics & Informatics Shared Resource as head of the biostatistics component that works with investigators and staff to ensure that the best statistical tools available are applied to answer research questions. She serves as a co-investigator on many epidemiology and psychosocial cancer projects. In addition, she is interested in methodological research that extends statistical techniques of relevance to our research.

Dr. Wilken's major research interest is in techniques for studying disease associations when the independent variables are measured with error. This work has particular relevance to the ongoing research efforts of the epidemiology group at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, where focus has been on diet as a disease exposure. Measurement error in exposure variables, such as that in dietary intakes, biases the disease-exposure parameter estimates and reduces the power of the study. There are several ways to deal with measurement error. In the presence of random error, using the average of repeated measurements can reduce the error in variables. However, it is generally not feasible to obtain repeated measurements from all participants in large studies, and many variables are subject to systematic as well as random error. Measurement error models provide unbiased parameter estimates that are corrected for the error in the independent variables. Most of these models require additional information about the structure of the measurement error often resulting in development of a substudy where the error prone variable is measured by multiple techniques.

A second area of interest is in ethnic/racial classification. The state of Hawaii has a multiethnic population, and many individuals are of mixed ethnicity. Clues to the etiology of cancers can be found by comparing risks of different ethnic groups. Investigating why the cancer risk profile of one group differs from other groups can add to our understanding of carcinogenesis. However, biased risk estimates result if different racial groupings are used in numerator and denominator data of the ethnic-specific cancer rates. In order to quantify and ultimately minimize this bias, Dr. Wilkens and colleagues have investigated the comparability of numerator and denominator data used for Hawaii rates, with particular attention to the patterns of assignment for those of mixed race, and determined the effect on risk estimation of using different classifications..

Selected Publications

  • Foote JA, Murphy SP, Wilkens LR, Baiotis PP, Carlson A. Dietary variety increases the probability of nutrient adequacy among adults. J Nutr 2004; 134(7):1779-85.
  • Le Marchand L, Seifried A, Lum-Jones A, Donlon T, Wilkens LR. Association of the cyclin D1 A870G polymorphism with advanced colorectal cancer. JAMA 2003;290(21):2843-8.
  • Pike MC, Kolonel LN, Henderson BE, Wilkens LR, Hankin JH, Feigelson HS, Wan PC, Stram, DO, Nomura AMY. Breast cancer in a multiethnic cohort in Hawaii and Los Angeles: Risk factor-adjusted incidence in Japanese equals and in Hawaiians exceeds that in whites. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2002; 11:795-800.
  • Stram, D.O., Hankin, J.H., Wilkens, L.R., Pike, M.C., Monroe, K.R., Park, S., Henderson, B.E., Nomura, A.M.Y., Earle, M.E., Nagamine, F.S., Kolonel, L.N. Calibration of the Dietary Questionnaire for a Multiethnic Cohort in Hawaii and Los Angeles. Am. J. Epidemiol. 2000; 1511: 358-370.

Publication list via PubMed