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Statistik: mehr als Erbsen zählen

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Biostatistics at the Department of Statistics

Biostatistics has always been a central part of the statistics department. Its important role is emphasised by the direct allocation of three professors and the cooperation of other departments in research projects with biostatistical topics.

The Department of Statistics works in all areas of biostatistics including teaching, research and consultancy. A more detailed description of current research projects can be found by following the link: Areas of Research.

In the course of study at the department, biometrics is clearly the most commonly chosen of the possible focuses; Biometrics, Econometrics, Technometrics and Official Statistics. After completing their studies, more than a third of the statistics alumni work on key points for the development and application of biostatistical methods, in both university and non university settings, especially pharmaceutical industry, commissioned research institutes, in health-care and universities and research institutes.


Biostatistics is concerned with multifaceted questions. Historically, we understand biostatistics as statistical theory and methods of describing, analysing, and interpreting biological data. Today, we see a much wider field, with applications in all life sciences, especially in medicine and bioinformatics.

The classification of biostatistics into the most important areas of clinical statistics, epidemiology, toxicology and bioinformatics contains overlaps and does not cover all active working fields of the statistics department, but can be used as a basic representation of our work. For example, personalised medicine and genetic epidemiology have an interest in the genetic factors in clinical statistics and epidemiology. Also liver toxicological questions play an important role. This is why modern bioinformatic methods are needed.

Clinical Statistics

Clinical statistics investigate the effect of clinical parameters on the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. In the case of clinical trials, this happens in a controlled environment. Clinical trials are obligatory in most countries to test prescription drugs before they are released to the market.


The influence of different factors on disease and health among individuals and populations is investigated in the field of Epidemiology. Unlike clinical statistics, it doesn't occur in a controlled environment, but usually in observational studies, for example assessing the effect of smoking on the risk of cancer. Epidemiology plays therefore an important role in the improvement of our health.


Bioinformatics is a broad area of research which is basically concerned with the analysis of biological data on a molecular level. In the last few years, the analysis of genomic data has developed numerous new experimental technologies, with which many different characteristics can be measured simultaneously. This new hypothesis-generating character of molecular biological experiments constantly places new demands on the statistical evaluation of the experimental results.


Toxicology examines the toxicity of substances, usually depending on the concentration or amount of the corresponding substances. Statistical goals include modeling the effect of substances as a function of concentration and identifying critical limits for concentration. Toxicology plays an important role in both clinical drug discovery as well as in epidemiology in the research of health indicators. The growing amount of available molecular, often high-dimensional data leads to new statistical challenges in the modeling of relationships, especially for environmental and work-toxicological issues.