Albert Pullerits prize awarded to Tuuli Jürgenson
This year’s recipient of the Albert Pullerits young statistician’s prize awarded by Statistics Estonia is Tuuli Jürgenson for her Master’s thesis “Combining Retrospective and Prospective Data for Genome-wide Association Studies”.
This is already the 11th time that Statistics Estonia has awarded the Albert Pullerits young statistician’s prize, to recognise a young student whose Master’s or Bachelor’s thesis applies or develops a statistical method.
Kaja Sõstra, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia and head of the Albert Pullerits prize evaluation committee, said that nine papers were entered into the competition this year. “Once again, the level of the submissions was exceptionally high, resulting in a close competition. It is nice to see that the submitted papers get stronger with each year,” noted Sõstra.
Tuuli Jürgenson defended her Master’s thesis at the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Tartu. Her goal was to find a method for the combined analysis of prevalent (retrospective) and incident (prospective) cases, to be used in genome-wide association studies.
“The thesis topic is closely connected with my work at the Estonian Biobank at the University of Tartu. In the study of genetic and morbidity data, there is very often a possibility to include both retrospective and prospective data in the analysis – this applies to the Estonian Biobank as well as to other biobanks in the world. Thus, finding the right methodology is interesting theoretically and also has immense practical significance,” she added.
The committee chose Jürgenson’s thesis as the winner because it is a clear, well-written paper that uses an innovative methodology. “The Master’s thesis studied whether prevalent and incident cases of disease should be analysed separately or together. The results showed that the separate analysis of cases using a binary model and a Cox model, respectively, and the subsequent combination of these results is not better than the analysis of all cases together with a binary model,” explained Sõstra.
“It is always motivating when your work is recognised, especially by experts in the field. Being awarded the Albert Pullerits young statistician’s prize serves as confirmation that my research to develop a methodology for the combination of retrospective and prospective data is on the right track and will be useful for statistical genetics applications and for science in general,” said Jürgenson.
In addition to the winning paper, the committee also recognised Lisanna Lehes for her Bachelor’s thesis “Gender Differences in the Assessment of Fair Salary”. “The thesis topic is highly relevant in the context of social justice. This paper is a good example of the kind of combination of indicators that can be used to reflect the gender pay gap,” commented Sõstra.
Tuuli Jürgenson’s thesis can be found on Statistics Estonia’s website. The Master’s thesis was supervised by Anastassia Kolde (MSc), Krista Fischer (PhD) and Reedik Mägi (PhD). The thesis was defended at the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Tartu in 2021.
Albert Pullerits was the first director of the Estonian State Central Bureau of Statistics, founded in 1921, and the founder of the official statistics system in Estonia. The Albert Pullerits young statistician’s prize was first awarded by Statistics Estonia in 2011, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Estonian statistics. The 2021 laureate receives a 500-euro gift card.
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