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Susan A. Murphy
Susan A. Murphy
Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Susan A. Murphy received a 2013 MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant for breakthroughs that may help clinicians more effectively assess and adapt treatment of chronic and relapsing diseases. A UNC-Chapel Hill graduate alumna and statistician, Murphy will give the keynote address at UNC-Chapel Hill’s 2015 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony.

The event recognizes graduate students receiving their doctoral degrees and is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 9 at the Dean E. Smith Center, 300 Bowles Drive.

Murphy received her doctorate in statistics from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is the H.E. Robbins Distinguished University Professor of statistics, professor of psychiatry and research professor, all at the University of Michigan. She also is a principal investigator with the Pennsylvania State University Methodology Center.

Murphy was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow for her work in designing the Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial, or SMART. This statistics-based approach collects and analyzes a patient’s health data over time, and provides guidance on the possible need to change treatment or on how long current treatment should continue.

In announcing the fellowship, the MacArthur Foundation said: “Using SMART, clinicians assess and modify patients’ treatments during the trial, an approach with potential applications in the treatment of a range of chronic diseases – such as ADHD, alcoholism, drug addiction, HIV/AIDS, and cardiovascular disease – that involve therapies that are regularly reconsidered and replaced as the disease progresses.”

In October 2014, Murphy was elected to membership within the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

“The knowledge Dr. Murphy has created will have major implications for medicine, and also for other fields in which researchers are tackling challenges requiring careful analysis of information captured at different times,” said Steve Matson, dean of The Graduate School. “We are honored to welcome her back to Carolina, and our doctoral graduates will be inspired by her remarks.”

During the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony, each participating doctoral graduate will be called to the stage to have the hood of the commencement regalia conferred by his or her adviser or dissertation committee chair. Family and friends are invited to the ceremony, as well as the public.

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