Meet: Kelly Sunderland, Research Biostatistician

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Meet: Kelly Sunderland, Research Biostatistician

Kelly Sunderland.jpgWhy did you choose your profession?

I began my university career in business and quickly learned that it wasn’t for me. I had always been good at math, though it wasn’t until I took calculus that I realized it could do some interesting things. Once I made the transition to math, choosing statistics was easy because I could see its many applications and importance. After several co-op placements, I decided to focus in biostatistics as I realized that I wanted to have a positive impact on society and health care.

What’s your role with ONDRI?

I’m a Research Biostatistician working within and across multiple platforms. I’m based within neuroinformatics at Baycrest Hospital, and I’ve also been working with the neuropsychology platform to develop data quality tools. Now that some of the initial ONDRI vascular cognitive impairment data has been released, I’m looking forward to working with other diseases on their analyses and release.

Why is working with ONDRI important to you?

ONDRI is a really interesting since it combines many different angles of measuring the five diseases, and integration at the data level will hopefully allow for more direct links between the different angles. It also makes my role as a biostatistician more intriguing since I'm able to learn and play with so many different types of data.

On a more personal level, my grandmother suffered a stroke 10 years ago, and as a result I’ve been finding the discussions surrounding stroke very educational. It’s exciting to be learning about this disease that’s so prevalent within my own family, and knowing that little by little what I’m doing will have an impact.

What were your interests growing up?

As a child, I was always singing, especially in choirs. I went to an arts high school that gave me unique opportunities including performing during mass at the Vatican and winning the CBC National Choral Competition.

What exciting things are happening in your life this year?

This August, I’m getting married to my amazing boyfriend of six years and I couldn’t be happier.

Do you have a favorite movie or book?

My favourite movie is “A Beautiful Mind.” It brings together two areas that I find so interesting: math and mental illness. What mental illness can trick your mind into believing fascinates (and terrifies) me.