David B. Dunson

David B. Dunson

Arts and Sciences Professor of Statistical Science

Development of Bayesian statistical methods and approaches for uncertainty quantification motivated by applications with complex and high-dimensional data.  A particular interest is in high-dimensional low sample size data in which it is necessary to incorporate dimensional reduction through carefully designed prior distributions and challenges arise in efficiently computing posterior approximations. Ongoing focus areas include new algorithms for approximating posterior distributions in big data settings, nonparametric Bayes probability modeling allowing for uncertainty in distributional assumptions, analysis of network data, incorporating physical and geometric prior knowledge in modeling and novel models for dimension reduction for "object data" (functions, tensors, shapes, etc).  Primary application areas include genomics, neurosciences, epidemiology, and reproductive studies but with much broader interests in developing new methods motivated by difficult applications (in art, music, radar, imaging processing, etc).

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Arts and Sciences Professor of Statistical Science
  • Professor of Statistical Science
  • Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Professor in the Department of Mathematics
  • Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Contact Information


  • Ph.D. Emory University, 1997
  • B.S. Pennsylvania State University, 1994

Research Interests

Development of Bayesian methods motivated by applications with complex and high-dimensional data. A particular focus is on nonparametric Bayes approaches for conditional distributions and for flexible borrowing of information. I am also interested in methods for accommodating model uncertainty in hierarchical models, and in latent variable methods, including structural equation models. A recent interest has been in functional data analysis.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • W.J. Youden Award in Interlaboratory Testing. American Statistical Association. 2012
  • COPSS Award: President's Award. American Statistical Association. 2010
  • ASA Fellows. American Statistical Association. 2007

Courses Taught

  • GENOME 293-1: Research Independent Study Genome Policy
  • GENOME 293: Research Independent Study Genome Sciences
  • STA 360: Bayesian Inference and Modern Statistical Methods
  • STA 393: Research Independent Study
  • STA 440: Case Studies in the Practice of Statistics
  • STA 493: Research Independent Study
  • STA 531: Advanced Bayesian Inference and Stochastic Modeling
  • STA 601: Bayesian and Modern Statistical Data Analysis
  • STA 790: Special Topics in Statistics
  • STA 993: Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • McKinney, M; Moffitt, AB; Gaulard, P; Travert, M; De Leval, L; Nicolae, A; Raffeld, M; Jaffe, ES; Pittaluga, S; Xi, L; Heavican, T; Iqbal, J; Belhadj, K; Delfau-Larue, MH; Fataccioli, V; Czader, MB; Lossos, IS; Chapman-Fredricks, JR; Richards, KL; Fedoriw, Y; Ondrejka, SL; Hsi, ED; Low, L; Weisenburger, D; Chan, WC; Mehta-Shah, N; Horwitz, S; Bernal-Mizrachi, L; Flowers, CR; Beaven, AW; Parihar, M; Baseggio, L; Parrens, M; Moreau, A; Sujobert, P; Pilichowska, M; Evens, AM; Chadburn, A et al., The Genetic Basis of Hepatosplenic T-cell Lymphoma., Cancer Discovery, vol 7 no. 4 (2017), pp. 369-379 [10.1158/2159-8290.cd-16-0330] [abs].
  • Johndrow, JE; Bhattacharya, A; Dunson, DB, Tensor decompositions and sparse log-linear models, Annals of statistics, vol 45 no. 1 (2017), pp. 1-38 [10.1214/15-AOS1414] [abs].
  • Dunson, DB, Toward Automated Prior Choice, Statistical science : a review journal of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, vol 32 no. 1 (2017), pp. 41-43 [10.1214/16-STS607] [abs].
  • Lock, EF; Dunson, DB, Bayesian genome- and epigenome-wide association studies with gene level dependence., Biometrics (2017) [10.1111/biom.12649] [abs].
  • Lin, L; Rao, V; Dunson, D, Bayesian nonparametric inference on the Stiefel manifold, Statistica Sinica (2017) [10.5705/ss.202016.0017] [abs].