USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Data Science Core

The mission of the Data Science Core of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center (USC Norris) is to provide integrated state-of-the-art biostatistics and informatics support to USC Norris investigators working on all aspects of cancer research from basic science to translational and clinical studies, and cancer etiology to cancer control.  The Data Science Core members work with USC Norris investigators on the planning, design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of cancer research studies. Core members also play a key role in clinical trials protocol review and study monitoring at USC Norris.

DSC Services

      • Collaborate in design of laboratory, clinical, and population studies.
      • Ensure the proper conduct of clinical trials and the integrity of the data collected.
      • Perform and assist in data capture, data wrangling, and data management.
      • Perform complex statistical analyses.
      • Develop statistical designs and analytic plans in support of grant applications.
      • Contribute as coauthors and co-Is on manuscripts and grant applications.
      • Implement and develop reports for clinical trials in clinical trials management systems.
      • Generate identified and deidentified data sets for population studies.
      • Perform custom programming for websites, data unification, and cluster computing

DSC Policies

      • The Data Science Core is available to help NCCC members with their cancer-related projects.  
      • The Data Science Core provides consultation and support on research project design and experimental methodology for peer-reviewed grant applications and submission of proposals for all external funding. There is no charge to NCCC members for statistical consultation and assistance for cancer-focused grant submissions, provided Data Science Core faculty or staff members are included with effort support on the grant submission, or funding for Data Science Core service chargebacks are included in the budget of the grant application.  Cancer Center members seeking Data Science Core help with grant applications will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to these terms.
      • DSC will provide initial free consultation to those requesting Core services to determine the feasibility and scope of a project. The potential outputs of the initial consultation period will be a feasibility assessment, project scope, and project plan including cost estimate and timeline. Once the project plan is developed and agreed upon, all further activities will generate Core charges.
      • It is expected that funding support for Data Science Core services will be included in all grant applications and proposals, whereby statistical collaboration from Data Science Core members will be supported directly by the grant when funded either by coverage of a fixed percent effort of Core personnel or negotiation of a fixed fee. 
      • Investigators seeking help should contact the Data Science Core well in advance of deadlines in order to be assured that assistance can be provided:Notify the Core at least 6 months before the grant deadline for competing NIH P series, U series, and SPORE grants (and similar sized foundation grants)
          • Notify the Core at least 2 months before the grant deadline for competing NIH R series and K series grants (and similar sized foundation grants)
          • Provide the Core at least 1 month before the deadline with data sets for analysis for a manuscript submission or  abstract submission to a national or international meeting.
      • Data Science Core members must be included as co-authors on publications when Core members’ provided statistical support for the manuscript.  Payment for services provided is not a substitute for co-authorship.
      • Acknowledgment of the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center CCSG grant (NIH-NCI grant # P30CA014089) in scientific manuscripts is required when Data Science Core services have been provided.

DSC Leadership

Ming Li, PhD


David Birtwell