The Study Design and Molecular Epidemiology Core provides to its users expertise in experimental design implementation, statistical analysis of research projects, and linkages to the resources of the nationally-known Laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry Research to support translation of basic science findings to epidemiologic or clinical trial settings and to scale and engage epidemiological and clinical research findings to large populations and outcomes research settings.

The Study Design and Molecular Epidemiology Core provides the following expertise to users:

  • Experimental design and implementation
  • Statistical analysis design and implementation
  • Linkage to the resources of the nationally-known Laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry Research (LCBR)
  • Conduct of a wide variety of laboratory assays. 

The Core supports translation of basic science findings to epidemiologic or clinical trial settings, and the opportunity to scale epidemiological and clinical research findings to large populations and outcomes research settings. Extensive laboratory analysis is available across myriad domains of biology using methods ranging from standard ELISA to automated clinical and research assays and multiplex approaches. Results can be linked to existing omics data including genomic, transcriptomic, methylomic, and proteomic.


Examples of studies that can be leveraged for this translational research are shown in the table.


   Photo of Core Director Dr. Neil Zakai

   Neil Zakai, M.D., M.Sc.

   Photo of Co-Core Director Dr. Peter Durda

   Peter Durda, Ph.D.

 Name Funder Description Key Outcomes
Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS)


Following 5,888 people aged 65-100 from 4 field centers since 1989-90 with 11 laboratory collections MI, stroke, frailty, dementia, healthy aging, subclinical atherosclerosis, kidney disease
Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA)NHLBIFollowing 906 people of South Asian descent aged 40+ enrolled between 2010-13 at two field centers with one laboratory collection MI, stroke, dementia, kidney disease
Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) NHLBI Following 6,814 Black, White, Hispanic & Chinese subjects aged 45-65 at 4 field centers 2001-3 with 6 laboratory collectionsMI, stroke, death, dementia, kidney disease, progression of subclinical atherosclerosis
Heart Failure Network NHLBI Multiple clinical trials at centers throughout the USClinical evaluation of treatments for acute and chronic heart failure


Reasons for Geographic and

Racial Differences in Stroke




Following a national sample of 30,239 Black & White adults age 45+ since 2003-7. Biannual follow-up and 2 laboratory collectionsStroke, MI, cognitive trajectories/impairment, kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes


National Longitudinal Study of

Adolescent to Adult Health

NICHDExamined ~2500 adult participants enrolled as adolescents starting in 1995Childhood origins of adult health status

Jackson Heart Study (JHS)

NHLBI5,300 Black participants in Jackson MS, followed since 1997 [CM1}Cardiovascular and other diseases

Requests for Services


  • Please contact Rebekah Boyle and/or Dr. Peter Durda to request services.
  • Project Directors. Extensive access to the Core’s study design, biostatistical, and laboratory expertise in appropriate biomarker selection, sample collection and storage protocols for biologic specimens as part of their award. Biostatistical support is guaranteed annually. 
  • Pipeline Investigators. Complimentary access to limited biostatistical support and study design support annually. 
  • Pilot Project Investigators. Assistance with application preparation. All Core services will be budgeted for in the award at appropriate rates.
  • Non-VCCBH Investigators. Assistance with study design, biostatistical analysis, assay development, or assay performance will be charged at appropriate rates.


Access to complementary services is on a first-come first served basis. Access to specific study samples is subject to policies for usage of each particular study, and Core personnel will guide investigators to successful usage in accordance with these policies.

Biostatistics Curriculum

  • Quarterly biostatistics ‘boot camp.’
  • Semi-annual translational workshops
    • Development and use of a biorepository in clinical research
    • Study design
  • Annual study design workshop


  • All users must include this text in manuscripts: We appreciate the support and guidance of investigators from the Study Design and Molecular Epidemiology Core of the Vermont Center for Cardiovascular and Brain Health. Funding was provided by P20 GM135007 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of NIH.