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Leif E. Peterson, PhD

Director & Full Member, Biostatistics Core, Research Institute
Professor of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, Institute for Academic Medicine
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College


Dr. Peterson’s dissertation research at the University of Texas-Human Genetics Center (Director, William J. Schull) was funded by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and focused on statistical models of error in radiation dosimetry and cancer diagnosis among Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, and projection of lifetime mortality risks of radiation-induced cancer among US nuclear workers.

Dr. Peterson’s previous appointments included Shuttle Mission Radiation Specialist at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as well as Associate Professor of Medicine (Primary) and Associate Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics (secondary) at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Peterson also holds adjunct appointments in the Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Texas, and Section of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine.

As Director of the Center for Biostatistics at the Research Institute, he collaborates in a wide range of multidisciplinary-translational research collaborations involving development of biologically-motivated carcinogenic risk mitigation models for space radiation exposure (NASA Space Radiation Program), computational pathway abrogation for identification of genes predictive of breast cancer survival (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), development of a saliva-based nano-biochip for diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (Rice University, BCM, Houston-VAMC), data mining outcomes of spinal cord injury (HM Neurosurgery), and design and analyses of molecular and clinical studies metabolic syndrome disorders and diabetes (HMRI Diabetes and Metabolic Disease).

Dr. Peterson has been a member of several NCI EDRN and SPORE review panels, molecular-genetics reviews for the Dept. of Defense research program, and behavioral genetics reviews for NIH-BGES. In the area of computational intelligence (neural networks), Dr. Peterson is General Chair of CIBB17 (Cagliari, Italy), and session chair of Machine Learning for Enhancing Biomedical Data Analysis at IJCNN17.  Dr. Peterson was General Chair of CIBB12, co-chair of CIBB09, and has chaired special sessions on neural networks at IJCNN10, IJCNN09, IJCNN08, IJCNN07, IJCNN06, ICMLA07, ICMLA08, CIBB12, CIBB09, CIBB11,CIBB10, CIBCB11, and served on the international program committees for PATTERNS11, INTELLI13, ICEIS12, HISB11, PReMI11, ICEIS11, ICAART10, ICEIS2010, MI-CAI09,ISMDS09, SoCPaR09, NaBIC09, ICAART09, BIOSIGNALS09, HEALTHINF09, ECAI08, ICEIS09, ISMDS08, ICEIS08, BIOSIGNALS08, HEALTHINF08, EUROCON07, FOCI07, CIBCB07, CIBCB06. He is a member of the Computational Intelligence Society of IEEE, member of the Task Force on Neural Networks (IEEE-CIS-BBTC), Houston-Area Chapter Chair (IEEE-CIS), member of IEEE-CIS-BBTC, Vice Chair for Finance (IEEE CS-TCCLS), and Editor-in-Chief of Source Code for Biology and Medicine.

Description of Research

Dr. Peterson’s research focuses on development of novel techniques for optimization based on neural adaptive learning with metaheuristics (neural networks, genetic algorithms, swarm intelligence, evolution strategies) and information retrieval using duo-mining (data and text), n-grams, and non-linear and linear dimensional reduction with manifold learning and eigendecomposition. Manifold learning techniques include kernel PCA, Laplacian eigenmaps, local linear embedding, locally preserving projections, neural gas, self-organizing maps, and Sammon maps. Random matrix theory involving noise removal techniques focus on the limiting spectral densities of noise eigenvalues based on the Marcenko-Pastur and Tracy-Widom laws. Other areas of focus include Monte Carlo simulation for uncertainty using skew-normal, Laplace, Levy-Stable, triangle, and beta probability distributions as well as fractal geometry and use of the Marcenko-Pastur law in quantitative finance for asset risk modeling of fat-tail distributions.

Areas Of Expertise

Random matrix theory Eigendecomposition Metaheuristics Duo-mining N-grams
Education & Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship , Baylor College Medicine
Summer Institute , Duke University
Summer Institute , North Carolina State University
PhD , The University of Texas Health Science Center
MPH , University of Michigan
Summer Institute , Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute


Patent Number: US2015377906, Dec 31 2015


Clinical Significance of TDP-43 Neuropathology in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Cykowski, MD, Powell, SZ, Peterson, LE, Appel, JW, Rivera, AL, Takei, H, Chang, E & Appel, SH 2017, Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, vol 76, no. 5, pp. 402-413. DOI:

Progression Inference for Somatic Mutations in Cancer
Peterson, LE & Kovyrshina, T 2017, Heliyon, vol 3, no. 4, e00277. DOI:

Cross-linking of porcine acellular dermal matrices negatively affects induced neovessel formation using platelet-rich plasma in a rat model of hernia repair
Fernandez-Moure, JS, Van Eps, JL, Peterson, LE, Shirkey, BA, Menn, ZK, Cabrera, F, Karim, A, Tasciotti, E, Weiner, BK & Ellsworth, WA 2017, Wound Repair and Regeneration. DOI:

Nuclear receptor corepressor 1 expression and output declines with prostate cancer progression
Lopez, SM, Agoulnik, AI, Zhang, M, Peterson, LE, Suarez, E, Gandarillas, GA, Frolov, A, Li, R, Rajapakshe, K, Coarfa, C, Ittmann, MM, Weigel, NL & Agoulnik, IU 2016, Clinical Cancer Research, vol 22, no. 15, pp. 3937-3949. DOI:

Postoperative antimicrobials after lung transplantation and the development of multidrug-resistant bacterial and Clostridium difficile infections: an analysis of 500 non-cystic fibrosis lung transplant patients
Whiddon, AR, Dawson, KL, Fuentes, A, Perez, KK, Peterson, LE & Kaleekal, T 2016, Clinical Transplantation, vol 30, no. 7, pp. 767-773. DOI:

Transcript Analysis for Internal Biodosimetry Using Peripheral Blood from Neuroblastoma Patients Treated with 131I-mIBG, a Targeted Radionuclide
Edmondson, DA, Karski, EE, Kohlgruber, A, Koneru, H, Matthay, KK, Allen, S, Hartmann, CL, Peterson, LE, DuBois, SG & Coleman, MA 2016, Radiation Research, vol 186, no. 3, pp. 235-244. DOI: , 10.1667/RR14263.1

Evaluating biomarkers to model cancer risk post cosmic ray exposure
M. Sridharan, D, Asaithamby, A, Blattnig, S, Costes, S, Doetsch, P, Dynan, W, Hahnfeldt, P, Hlatky, L, Kidane, Y, Kronenberg, A, Naidu, M, Peterson, LE, Plante, I, Ponomarev, A, Saha, J, Snijders, A, Srinivasan, K, Tang, J, Werner, E & Pluth, J 2016, Life Sciences in Space Research, vol 9, 535474, pp. 19-47. DOI:

Optimizing evaluation of patients with low-to-intermediate-risk acute chest pain: A randomized study comparing stress myocardial perfusion tomography incorporating stress-only imaging versus cardiac CT
Nabi, F, Kassi, M, Muhyieddeen, K, Chang, SM, Xu, J, Peterson, L, Wray, N, Shirkey, B, Ashton, C & Mahmarian, J 2016, Journal of Nuclear Medicine, vol 57, no. 3, pp. 378-384. DOI:

WYROBEK, ANDREWJ, Peterson, LE & SNIJDERS, ANTOINEM 2015, , Patent No. US2015377906, IPC No. G01T 1/ 04 A I.

Multiple Human Papilloma Virus Infections and Their Impact on the Development of High-Risk Cervical Lesions
Salazar, KL, Zhou, HS, Xu, J, Peterson, LE, Schwartz, MR, Mody, DR & Ge, Y 2015, Acta Cytologica, vol 59, no. 5, pp. 391-398. DOI:

Adjustment of lifetime risks of space radiation-induced cancer by the healthy worker effect and cancer misclassification
Peterson, LE & Kovyrshina, T 2015, Heliyon, vol 1, no. 4, e00048. DOI:

Distribution of Alkaline Phosphatase, Osteopontin, RANK Ligand and Osteoprotegerin in Calcified Human Carotid Atheroma
Higgins, CL, Isbilir, S, Basto, P, Chen, IY, Vaduganathan, M, Vaduganathan, P, Reardon, MJ, Lawrie, G, Peterson, L & Morrisett, JD 2015, Protein Journal, vol 34, no. 5, pp. 315-328. DOI:

Pleiotropic effect of the proton pump inhibitor esomeprazole leading to suppression of lung inflammation and fibrosis
Ghebremariam, YT, Cooke, JP, Gerhart, W, Griego, C, Brower, JB, Doyle-Eisele, M, Moeller, BC, Zhou, Q, Ho, L, de Andrade, J, Raghu, G, Peterson, L, Rivera, A & Rosen, GD 2015, Journal of Translational Medicine, vol 13, no. 1, 249. DOI:

Low-dose radiation affects cardiac physiology: Gene networks and molecular signaling in cardiomyocytes
Coleman, MA, Sasi, SP, Onufrak, J, Natarajan, M, Manickam, K, Schwab, J, Muralidharan, S, Peterson, LE, Alekseyev, YO, Yan, X & Goukassian, DA 2015, American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, vol 309, no. 11, pp. H1947-H1963. DOI:

Regadenoson provides perfusion results comparable to adenosine in heterogeneous patient populations: A quantitative analysis from the ADVANCE MPI trials
Mahmarian, JJ , Peterson, LE , Xu, J, Cerqueira, MD, Iskandrian, AE, Bateman, TM, Thomas, GS & Nabi, F 2014, Journal of Nuclear Cardiology. DOI:

Transcriptome analysis of human adipocytes implicates the NOD-like receptor pathway in obesity-induced adipose inflammation
Yin, Z , Deng, T , Peterson, LE, Yu, R, Lin, J, Hamilton, DJ, Reardon, PR, Sherman, V, Winnier, GE, Zhan, M, Lyon, CJ, Wong, STC & Hsueh, WA 2014, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, vol 394, no. 1-2, pp. 80-87. DOI:

Reduction of costs for anemia-management drugs associated with the use of ferric citrate
Thomas, A & Peterson, LE 2014, International Journal of Nephrology and Renovascular Disease, vol 7, pp. 191-200. DOI:

Integrating rapid diagnostics and antimicrobial stewardship improves outcomes in patients with antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteremia
Perez, KK , Olsen, RJ, Musick, WL, Cernoch, PL, Davis, JR, Peterson, LE & Musser, JM 2014, Journal of Infection, vol 69, no. 3, pp. 216-225. DOI:

Evolutionary algorithms applied to likelihood function maximization during poisson, logistic, and Cox proportional hazards regression analysis
Peterson, LE 2014, . in Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, CEC 2014., 6900660, IEEE, pp. 1054-1061, 2014 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, CEC 2014, Beijing, China, 6-11 July. DOI:

HLA-restricted NY-ESO-1 peptide immunotherapy for metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer
Sonpavde, G, Wang, M, Peterson, LE, Wang, HY, Joe, T, Mims, MP, Kadmon, D, Ittmann, MM, Wheeler, TM, Gee, AP, Wang, RF & Hayes, TG 2014, Investigational New Drugs, vol 32, no. 2, pp. 235-242. DOI: