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Department of Public Health Sciences

Collaborative Unit

The Collaborative Unit is a university-wide resource providing expert consultation in biostatistics, bioinformatics, and epidemiology. Paul Nietert, Ph.D., directs the Collaborative Unit, which is housed in the Department of Public Health Sciences (DPHS). Services include assistance in design of observational studies and experiments; selection of data collection instruments and data management systems; selection, application, interpretation, and reporting of epidemiological, biomathematical, and statistical methods; graphical analysis of data; sample size estimation; and selection of statistical, graphical and database software packages. The unit assists in preparing the biostatistical and epidemiological narrative associated with grant proposals, and with presentations and publications following the research. The unit also provides a training experience for DPHS trainees interested in developing skills in applying the quantitative tools

Paul J Nietert, PhD, Collaborative Unit Director

Through the unit's research and training programs, focus efforts in broad activities including:

  • Grant development;
  • New investigator training & development;
  • Fostering long-term relationships between investigators in DPHS and other departments;
  • Developing training opportunities for graduate students and fellows in DPHS; and
  • Advancing scholarship in applied methodological areas related to collaborative efforts.


Collaborative Unit Services

Initial Consultations

Long-term interactions with the Collaborative Unit often begin with an initial consultation. Initial consultations are available, at no cost, to all MUSC investigators. These consultations are intended to help foster MUSC's research infrastructure and are an important step in determining the necessary expertise required for a grant application. Consistent with the unit's grant development mission, no analyses are undertaken as a part of the initial consultation, but general guidance about analytical issues can be offered.

Grant Application Assistance

The CU's primary mission is to collaborate with MUSC investigators in developing competitive grant applications. In doing so, the CU assists in deriving appropriate study designs; estimating sample size and power; determining appropriate data analyses; and preparing/reviewing relevant sections of the grant proposal.

For grants that would benefit from the involvement of a faculty biostatistician, epidemiologist, or bioinformatician, the CU can assist in introducing DPHS faculty to the research team. This is particularly advantageous to new investigators and investigators new to the University.

Activities associated with grant development, including the analysis of preliminary data, are available free to MUSC researchers and available for a fee to researchers outside MUSC.

Cost Reimbursement Services*

*Cost reimbursement services are considered on a case-by-case basis through initial consultations with investigators. For a project to be selected for hourly cost reimbursement services, the CU administration must determine the activities are relevant to unit's vision.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

Through the diverse expertise of DPHS faculty, the unit can provide data analysis for a wide variety of medical, health, and biological research. DPHS faculty provide interpretations of statistical results, which are presented and discussed with the investigators, for all statistical analyses.

Manuscript Preparation/Review

The presentation of results is an integral part of the consulting process. For all analyses carried out by the unit, we will assist in the preparation of statistical sections of manuscripts, if requested by the investigator. Consultants should be considered for co-authorship when they have made significant scientific or intellectual contributions to the work reported or when they share in the responsibility and accountability for the results. See the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication at for additional authorship guidelines.

Data Management

The CU can assist investigators in evaluating the overall data management requirements for particular research projects. However, the CU only makes recommendations on formulating an appropriate data management plan as part of grant development.



Collaborative Unit Rate Schedule

The Collaborative Unit, within the Department of Public Health Sciences,  provides expert collaboration in the design and analysis of interdisciplinary research projects and is committed to assisting MUSC investigators with research and grant development activities. The following table summarizes the rate schedule for Collaborative Unit.

Service Provided

MUSC (internal)

External Clients


Initial Consultation



Design/Grant Development



Cost Reimbursement Activities




Manuscript Preparation




* As part of Collaborative Unit data analysis
** Other


Contact Information

Collaborative Unit Contact Information

The Collaborative Unit encompasses the entire Department of Public Health Sciences and is administrated by the Director. There are project assistants within the unit with specific expertise in study design, statistical methodology and related areas.

Investigators may contact the Collaborative Unit as noted below. One of the aims of the initial contact is to identify the appropriate faculty expertise needed in the areas of biostatistics, bioinformatics and epidemiology.

Paul J Nietert, PhD, Collaborative Unit Director
Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, MUSC
Tel: 843-876-1204
Fax: 843-876-1126


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