NIOSH researcher honored with Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

NIOSH researcher honored with Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

A researcher from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been honored recently by outgoing President Barak Obama with an Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor given by the U.S. Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Matthew Wheeler began early in his career and aims to provide sound science that could be used to improve people’s lives. He began his education at the University of Miami earning bachelors of science in system analysis in 2000 and a master’s in statistics in 2002, followed by a doctorate in biostatistics from the University of North Carolina in 2013. He joined NIOSH as a statistician in 2003.

“With research, and with science, I try to make a minimal number of assumptions in order to learn from the data itself without imposing my views on the data a priori,” said Mr. Wheeler.

 “At NIOSH, my work has been primarily dedicated to the development of risk assessment methods, which allow for a more reliable estimates of the true risk populations have when exposed to chemical agents.”

As a statistician, he utilizes a method, termed model averaging, to estimate risk by averaging multiple models all of which describe the data adequately but produce a different estimate of risk on their own. This method is being adopted by other agencies in the U.S and in Europe in risk estimation.

Mr Wheeler has most recently developed novel computer based methods for estimating the adverse response to chemical hazards for any dose, in vitro, using only the chemical structure information.