Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Leif Peterson, Ph.D., MPH

Leif Peterson, Ph.D

Leif Peterson, Ph.D., MPH

Associate Member 
Director, Center for Biostatistics
Houston Methodist Research Institute

Associate Professor
Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University

E-mail: lepeterson@houstonmethodist.org
Phone: 713-441-6121
Fax: 713-441-5863


B.S.   Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI
MPH   University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Ph.D.   University of Texas - Health Science Center, Houston, TX

Postdoctoral Training

1998-2003 - NCI Preventive Oncology Fellowship, 1998-2003, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
2000 - Statistical Genetics Summer Program, Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
2001 - Statistical Genetics Summer Program, Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
2002 - Statistical Genetics Summer Program, Center for Human Genetics, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
2003 - Statistical Genetics Summer Program, Sanger Center, Wellcome Trust, Cambridge, UK



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 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.   

Major areas of research

Random matrix theory, eigendecomposition, metaheuristics, duo-mining, n-grams.


Kim D, Marchetti F, Chen Z, Zaric S, Wilson RJ, Hall DA, Gaster RS, Lee JR, Wang J, Osterfeld SJ, Yu H, White RM, Blakely WF, Peterson LE, Bhatnagar S, Mannion B, Tseng S, Roth K, Coleman M, Snijders AM, Wyrobek AJ, Wang SX. Nanosensor dosimetry of mouse blood proteins after exposure to ionizing radiation. Sci Rep. 2013 Jul 19;3:2234. PMID: 23868657

Ducharme NA, Peterson LE, Benfenati E, Reif D, McCollum CW, Gustafsson JA, Bondesson M. Meta-analysis of toxicity and teratogenicity of 133 chemicals from zebrafish developmental toxicity studies. Reprod Toxicol. 2013 Jun 22. PMID: 23796950

Peterson LE.  Covariance matrix self-adaptation evolution strategies and other metaheuristic techniques for neural adaptive learning. Soft Comput. 15(8): 1483-1495, 2011. doi:10.1007/s00500-010-0598-7

Peterson LE. Paranilam J, Xu J, Monzon FA. Genome-Wide Germline Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms for Cancer Classification in the Framingham Heart Study, Proceedings of the IEEE 2010 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN'10).  IEEE Press.  Piscataway(NJ) 2010. doi: 10.1109/IJCNN.2010.5596665

Peterson, LE. K-nearest Neighbor. Scholarpedia. 4(2):1883; 2009.

Peterson, L.E. Ather, S., Divakaran, V., Deswal, A., Bozkurt, B., Mann, D.L. Improved Propensity Matching for Heart Failure Using Neural Gas and Self-Organizing Maps. Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN'09). IEEE Press. Piscataway(NJ), 2009.

Ather, S. Peterson, L.E., Divakaran, V., Deswal, A., Bozkurt, B., Mann, D.L. Unsupervised Cluster Analysis and Mortality Risk in the Digitalis Investigation Group (DIG) Trial of Heart Failure. Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN'09). IEEE Press. Piscataway(NJ), 2009.

Shaikh, K.A., Chang, S.M., Peterson, L.E., Rosendahl-Garcia, K., Quinones, M.A., Nagueh, S.F., Kurrelmeyer, K., Zoghbi, W.A. Safety of contrast administration for endocardial enhancement during stress echocardiography compared with noncontrast stress. Am. J. Cardiol. 102(11):1444-1450; 2008.

Hagenkord, J.M., Parwani, A.V., Lyons-Weiler, M.A., Alvarez, K., Amato, R., Gatalica, Z., Gonzalez-Berjon, J.M., Peterson, L.E., Dhir, R., Monzon, F.A. Virtual karyotyping with SNP microarrays reduces uncertainty in the diagnosis of renal epithelial tumors. Diagnostic Pathology. 3(44):1-13; 2008.

Peterson, L.E., Larin, K.V. 2008. Image Classification of Artificial Fingerprints Using Gabor Wavelet Edge Detection, Self-Organizing Maps, and Hermite/Laguerre Neural Networks. Int. J. Knowledge Engineering and Soft Data Programming. (In Press).

Caglayan,E., Stauber, B., Collins, A.R., Lyon, C.J., Yin, F., Liu, J., Rosenkranz, S., Erdmann, E., Peterson, L.E., Ross, R.S., Tangirala, R.K., Hsueh, W.A. Differential roles of cardiomyocyte and macrophage PPAR? in cardiac fibrosis. Diabetes. 57(9):2470-2479; 2008.

Peterson, L.E., Miller, R.L. Association Between Radioactive Fallout From 1951-62 US Nuclear Tests At The Nevada Test Site and Cancer Mortality in Midwestern US Populations. Russian Journal of Ecology. 39(7):495-509; 2008.

Peterson, L.E., Coleman, M.A. Logistic ensembles of random spherical linear oracles for microarray classification. Int. J. Data Mining and Bioinformatics. (In press).

Peterson, L.E., Coleman, M.A. Text-mining protein-protein interaction corpus using concept clustering to identify intermittency. Proceedings of the 2008 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN’08) of the 2008 IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCI’08), ISBN: 978-1-4244-1821-3. IEEE Press. Piscataway(NJ), 2008.

Peterson, L.E., Coleman, M.A. Machine learning-based receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for crisp and fuzzy classification of DNA microarrays in cancer research. Int. J. of Approximate Reasoning. 47: 17-36; 2008.

Acevedo, V.D., Gangula, R.D, Freeman, K.W., Li, R., Zhang, Y., Wang, F., Ayala, G., Peterson, L.E., Ittmann, M., Spencer, D.M. Inducible FGFR-1 leads to irreversible prostate adenocarcinoma and an epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Cancer Cell. 12(6):559-571; 2007.

Parmigiani G., Chen S., Iversen E.S., Friebel T., Finkelstein D., Anton-Culver H., Ziogas A., Weber B.L., Eisen A., Malone K.E., Daling J.R., Hsu L., Ostrander E.A., Peterson L.E., Schildkraut J.M., Isaacs C., Peshkin BN., Corio C., Leondaridis L., Tomlinson G., Amos C.I., Strong L.C., Berry D.A., Weitzel J.N., Sand S., Dutson D., Kerber R., Euhus D.M. Validity of models for prediction of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Annals of Internal Medicine. 147:441-450; 2007.

Chen, S., Iverson, E.S., Friebel, T., Finkelstein, D., Weber, B.L., Eisen, A., Peterson, L.E., Schildkraut, J.M., Isaacs, C., Peshkin, B.N., Corio, C., Leondaridis, L., Tomlinson, G., Dutson, D., Kerber, R., Amos, C.I., Strong, L.C., Berry, D.A., Euhus, D.M., Parmigiani, G. Characterization of BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations in a Large US Sample. J. Clin. Oncology. 24(6):863-71; 2006.

Lalani, S.R., Safiullah, A.A., Fernbach, S.D., Harutyunyan, K.G., Thaller, C., Peterson, L.E., McPherson, J.D., Gibbs, R.A., White, L.D., Hefner, M., Davenport, S.L.H., Graham Jr., J.M., Bacino, C.A., Glass, N.L., Towbin, J.A., Craigen, W.J., Neish, S.R., Lin, A.E., Belmont, J.W. Spectrum of CHD7 mutations in 110 individuals with CHARGE syndrome and genotype-phenotype correlation, Am. J. Hum. Genet. 78(2):303-314; 2006.