E-mail: joe dash cavanaugh at uiowa dot edu

Phone: (319) 384-1602

Fax: (319) 384-1591

Joe Cavanaugh

Professor and Head, Depeartment of Biostatistics

Personal Sketch

I am a Professor of Biostatistics and Head of the Department of Biostatistics at The University of Iowa. I hold a secondary appointment in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. I am also an affiliate professor in the Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences interdisciplinary doctoral program.

I began working at UI in the fall of 2003. From 1993-2003, I worked for the Department of Statistics at the University of Missouri - Columbia.

I received bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics in 1986 from Montana Tech, and a master's degree in Statistics in 1988 from Montana State University. I obtained my Ph.D. in Statistics in 1993 from the University of California, Davis.

My methodological disciplinary research interests include model selection, time series analysis, state-space models,and modeling diagnostics. My applied interdisciplinary research interests include epidemiology, infectious diseases, injury prevention, and dentistry.

My Academic Family

My academic family as recorded on The Mathematics Genealogy Project

My Grandfather

Solomon Kullback (1907-1994)

My Father

Robert Shumway, Professor, Division of Statistics, University of California at Davis

My Kids (Ph.D.)

  • Dr. Thomas Bengtsson, Biostatistician, Genentech

  • Dissertation: Time Series Discrimination, Signal Comparison Testing, and Model Selection in the State-Space Framework
    Defense: April, 2000
    Institution: University of Missouri - Columbia
  • Dr. Hyun-Joo Kim, Professor, Division of Mathematics and Computer Science, Truman State University

  • Dissertation: Model Selection Criteria Based on Kullback Information Measures for Weibull, Logistic, and Nonlinear Regression Frameworks
    Defense: July, 2000
    Institution: University of Missouri - Columbia
  • Dr. Simon Davies, Director - Head Safety Statistics, Abbott Laboratories

  • Dissertation: Discrepancy-Based Model Selection Criteria Using Cross Validation
    Defense: July, 2002
    Institution: University of Missouri - Columbia
  • Dr. J. Wade Davis, Associate Professor, Department of Health Management and Informatics, University of Missouri - Columbia

  • Dissertation: Wavelet-Based Methods for Estimation and Discrimination
    Defense: July, 2003
    Institution: University of Missouri - Columbia
  • Dr. Junfeng Shang, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Bowling Green State University

  • Dissertation: Problems in the Mixed Modeling Framework: Assessing Predictive Inference, Model Selection, and Bayesian Multiple Comparisons Under Order Restrictions
    Defense: July, 2005
    Institution: University of Missouri - Columbia
  • Dr. Zugui Zhang, Senior Biostatistician, Christiana Care Health System

  • Dissertation: Linear Model Selection for Exactly and Nearly Replicated Data Based on Conceptual Predictive Statistics
    Defense:June, 2007
    Institution: University of Iowa
  • Dr. JonDavid Sparks, Biostatistician, Eli Lilly and Company

  • Dissertation: Model Selection Criteria in the Presence of Missing Data Based on the Kullback-Leibler Discrepancy
    Defense: October, 2009
    Institution: University of Iowa
  • Dr. C. Laura Acion, Associate Research Scientist, Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa

  • Dissertation: Criteria for Generalized Linear Model Selection Based on Kullback's Symmetric Divergence
    Defense: August, 2011
    Institution: University of Iowa
  • Dr. Ming Yang, Research Associate, Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research, Harvard University

  • Dissertation: Statistical Models for Count Time Series with Excess Zeros
    Defense: April, 2012
    Institution: University of Iowa
  • Dr. Eric Foster, Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics, University of Iowa

  • Dissertation: State Space Time Series Clustering Using Discrepancies Based on the Kullback-Leibler Information and the Mahalanobis Distance
    Defense: June, 2012
    Institution: University of Iowa

Methodological Research Interests and Selected Publications

PDF versions of highlighted titles may be download.

Time Series Analysis


  • Parametric and nonparametric discriminants for regional earthquakes and explosions (with A. D. R. McQuarrie and R. H. Shumway). Report PL-TR-93-2164, Phillips Laboratory, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, 01731-3010.






  • Self-similar processes and their wavelet analysis (with Y. Wang and J. W. Davis). In Stochastic Processes: Modeling and Simulation (Handbook of Statistics 21), edited by D.N. Shanbhag and C.R. Rao, pp. 93-135. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


  • An autoregressive model for analysis of ice sheet elevation change time series (with A. C. Ferguson and C. H. Davis). IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 42, 2426-2436.



Model Selection









  • Discrepancy-based model selection criteria using cross validation (with S. L. Davies and A. A. Neath). In Statistical Models and Methods for Biomedical and Technical Systems, edited by F. Vonta, M. Nikulin, N. Limnios and C. Huber, pp. 473-485. Birkhauser, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Performance of variable selection methods in regression using variations of the Bayesian information criterion (with T. Burr, H. Fry, B. McVey, E. Sander and A. Neath). Communications in Statistics - Simulation and Computation, 37, 507-520.
  • Bootstrap variants of the Akaike information criterion for mixed model selection (with J. Shang). Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, 52, 2004-2021.
  • An assumption for the development of bootstrap variants of the Akaike information criterion in mixed models (with J. Shang). Statistics and Probability Letters, 78, 1422-1429.


Modeling Diagnostics




Multiple Comparisons



Courses Instructed at the University of Iowa

  • Introduction to Biostatistics (171:161)
  • Biostatistical Methods I (171:201)
  • Categorical Data Analysis (171:262/22S:220)
  • Generalized Linear Models for the Analysis of Independent and Time Series Data (171:290)
  • Model Selection (171:290)

Courses Instructed at the University of Missouri

  • Elementary Statistics (Honors) (STAT 31)
  • Statistics for Natural Resources (STAT 185)
  • Statistical Analysis (STAT 207)
  • Introduction to Mathematical Statistics (STAT 320)
  • Categorical Data Analysis (STAT 345)
  • Applied Time Series Analysis (STAT 386)
  • Linear Models I (STAT 463)
  • Linear Models II (STAT 464)
  • Advanced Linear Models (STAT 465)

Awards for Teaching and Advising

  • Recipient of the College of Public Health Faculty Award for Teaching, University of Iowa, 2006. ($2,000 Award)
  • Selected as a William T. Kemper Fellow for Excellence in Teaching, University of Missouri - Columbia, 2000. ($10,000 Award)
  • Recipient of the Gold Chalk Award (for the training and mentoring of graduate students), University of Missouri - Columbia, 1998.
  • Recipient of the Provost Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award, University of Missouri - Columbia, 1997. ($1,000 Award)
  • Recipient of the Teaching Award for Outstanding Graduate Students, University of California, Davis, 1992.