Bronxville High School students in Zhanna Cabrera’s Advanced Placement Statistics class recently connected with Memorial Sloan Kettering Center’s Dr. Ingo Mellinghoff and Dr. Alexia Iasonos over Zoom. The two scientists discussed the applications of statistics in cancer research and clinical trials and presented about the latest breakthroughs in biostatistics.
“It was a wonderful example of how community can be involved in connecting our students’ education with the real world in a meaningful way,” Cabrera said.
Dr. Iasonos, who is a biostatistician, described her career path and provided insight into the clinical trial process, technological advancements and ethical considerations. Dr. Mellinghoff discussed how the FDA and other government organizations face a conflict when approving drugs and whether it’s more important to consider the length of patient life on a drug or the quality of that life.
“It was very interesting to learn about a line of work that was completely unfamiliar to me before and interesting to see how statistics plays a part in the medical field,” junior Isabela Fenner said.
Juniors Remi Mellinghoff and Aarna Pal-Yadav said they were intrigued by the discussion of how researchers must find a balance between efficacy and safety when determining the dosage of a drug in development.
“It was exciting to hear about how the skills we learned in AP Statistics translated into the real world in clinical trials and cancer research,” Mellinghoff said. “It allowed us to make connections beyond the AP curriculum and see that what we are learning is literally saving lives.”