Biostatistical Service and Support

We provide statistical support for all scientific activities at the DKFZ, from in vitro and animal to human subject studies. Our support covers experimental design, sample size estimation, data analysis, software guidance, and visualization and interpretation of statistical results, and preparation of results for publication. It ranges from brief statistical consultations to long-term collaborations and covers standard statistical analysis approaches as well as the development of complex statistical methods tailored to specific questions. We provide assistance on statistical aspects and requirements of funding applications, ethical vote applications, clinical trial protocols and animal studies. We are familiar with most of the measurement techniques used at the DKFZ, including various high-throughput technologies. For those interested in learning more about statistical methods, we offer several statistics courses at the DKFZ.

How to prepare data

For standard experiments (no high-throughput measurements) recorded in spreadsheet files, samples/observations/replicates should be entered in rows, features/characteristics in columns. If multiple measurements per sample have been made (e.g. time series), each measurement should go into a separate row and an identifier variable for samples should be included. Column names should not contain any special signs. If measurements are coded, a legend must be provided. Dates should all be in the same format. If during the process of analysis your data must be updated or corrected, please provide an updated file without changing column names, formats etc. Information supplied by highlighting, coloring or any other type of formatting cannot be imported and used for the analysis.

Software

The DKFZ provides SPSS SigmaPlot via the Software Depot for standard analysis in a user-friendly environment. GraphPad Prism is another user-friendly statistical software frequently used at the DKFZ but without a campus-wide license. The Genomics and Proteomics Core Facility provides bioinformatics  tools for conducting standard microarray/sequencing analysis, such as Chipster and IPA. Our division generally uses R/Bioconductor, SAS, and other more specific software for power/sample- size estimations.

Reproducible Research

We consider reproducible research to be essential for scientific work. Upon request, we will set up our analysis in R/Bioconductor in combination with Sweave/Knitr in order to allow for reproducibility of results, figures and tables. We can also provide stand-alone analysis scripts that can be used to reproduce results and can be submitted along with your manuscript.

Support for PhD students

We encourage PhD candidates and their supervisors to contact us whenever they need statistical advice on their experimental design, which methods to use, how to get correct results from statistical software or how to properly interpret results. We normally expect PhD candidates to perform their own analyses for their theses. Of course, in case of a more complex analysis requiring advanced statistical knowledge and/or software expertise we will provide the necessary support.

How to contact us?

Please email the division of Biostatistics at biostatistics-consulting@dkfz.de and briefly describe your experiment/question and your aim.

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