Nasim Saba Nishat is determined to address health disparities using data. In particular, the Ph.D. in Biostatistics student is interested in helping clinicians find the optimal treatment dosages for
patients to ensure safer and more effective health care.
Originally from Bangladesh, Nishat’s journey began at the University of Dhaka, where
he earned bachelor’s and master’s degree in applied statistics. After graduating,
he spent two years with the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research. As
a statistical officer, Nishat conducted data analysis for diverse projects related
to maternal health and water pollution.
“My interest in public health, specifically in biostatistics, was born out of a combination
of personal interests, academic experiences and a solid commitment to addressing health
disparities in a data-driven manner,” he says. “Since my undergraduate program, this
interest has evolved into a profound passion for using these tools to improve public
During his doctoral program, Nishat has focused his energy on developing statistical
methodologies for finding the ideal dosage for individual patients during clinical
trials – something that is known as “personalized dynamic dose-finding.” With funding
from a SPARC Grant from the USC Office of the Vice President for Research, the Norman J. Arnold Doctoral Fellow led a study to identify personalized treatment
dosages for very low birth weight infants who have glucose intolerance. He is also
interested in high dimensional data analysis, machine learning approaches in public
health, and other areas within the biostatistics field.
Nishat applied these methods and others during a six-month consulting practicum with
Prisma Health Upstate, where he lent his expertise in health care data analysis to
better understand the linkages among substance use patterns, emergency department
utilization and mortality. Nishat presented his findings at the Prisma Health Education
and Research Institute Showcase.
Working with collaborators in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Nishat has also had the opportunity to apply his knowledge and skills to solve a
variety of public health challenges. As a graduate research assistant, he works closely
with associate professor Alexander McLain to develop a biomarker-driven treatment allocation method for clinical trials.
“Dr. McLain’s guidance and support have left a lasting impact on my development as
a public health scholar and researcher, and he has not only shared his extensive knowledge
in biostatistics but has also demonstrated a deep commitment to nurturing the intellectual
growth and research potential of his students,” says Nishat, who has also found a
mentor and source of support in graduate director Robert Moran. “Dr. McLain's encouragement and constructive feedback have empowered me to tackle
complex research questions and contribute to the broader public health community.”
For those considering a similar path, Nishat has some advice. He recommends diving
deep into the background of a particular program to better understand the faculty
expertise, research areas and available resources to ensure the program aligns with
your academic and career goals – particularly within the field of public health. Nishat
also suggests looking for internship, research, volunteer, community engagement and
networking opportunities to grow and demonstrate your commitment to making a positive
impact on the health and well-being of individuals and communities.