David B. Dunson

David B. Dunson
  • Arts and Sciences Professor of Statistical Science
  • Professor of Statistical Science
  • Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
External address: 218 Old Chemistry Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: Box 90251, Durham, NC 27708-0251
Phone: (919) 684-8025

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).

Education & Training
  • Ph.D., Emory University 1997

  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University 1994

Selected Grants

Exome-wide screening for common mutations in lymphoma awarded by National Institutes of Health (Investigator). 2011 to 2013

Transfer and Active Learning for Intent Recognition awarded by Office of Naval Research (Investigator). 2008 to 2012


Moffitt, AB, Ondrejka, SL, McKinney, M, Rempel, RE, Goodlad, JR, Teh, CH, Leppa, S, Mannisto, S, Kovanen, PE, Tse, E, Au-Yeung, RKH, Kwong, Y-L, Srivastava, G, Iqbal, J, Yu, J, Naresh, K, Villa, D, Gascoyne, RD, Said, J, Czader, MB, Chadburn, A, Richards, KL, Rajagopalan, D, Davis, NS, Smith, EC, Palus, BC, Tzeng, TJ, Healy, JA, Lugar, PL, Datta, J, Love, C, Levy, S, Dunson, DB, Zhuang, Y, Hsi, ED, and Dave, SS. "Enteropathy-associated T cell lymphoma subtypes are characterized by loss of function of SETD2." The Journal of experimental medicine 214.5 (May 2017): 1371-1386. Full Text

Ovaskainen, O, Tikhonov, G, Dunson, D, Grøtan, V, Engen, S, Sæther, B-E, and Abrego, N. "How are species interactions structured in species-rich communities? A new method for analysing time-series data." Proceedings. Biological sciences 284.1855 (May 2017). Full Text

Ovaskainen, O, Tikhonov, G, Norberg, A, Guillaume Blanchet, F, Duan, L, Dunson, D, Roslin, T, and Abrego, N. "How to make more out of community data? A conceptual framework and its implementation as models and software." Ecology letters 20.5 (May 2017): 561-576. Full Text

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, Au-Yeung, RKH, Srivastava, G, Choi, WWL, Goodlad, JR, Aurer, I, Basic-Kinda, S, Gascoyne, RD, Davis, NS, Li, G, Zhang, J, Rajagopalan, D, Reddy, A, Love, C, Levy, S, Zhuang, Y, Datta, J, Dunson, DB, and Davé, SS. "The Genetic Basis of Hepatosplenic T-cell Lymphoma." Cancer Discovery 7.4 (April 2017): 369-379. Full Text

Tikhonov, G, Abrego, N, Dunson, D, and Ovaskainen, O. "Using joint species distribution models for evaluating how species-to-species associations depend on the environmental context." Ed. D Warton. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 8.4 (April 2017): 443-452. Full Text

Durante, D, Paganin, S, Scarpa, B, and Dunson, DB. "Bayesian modelling of networks in complex business intelligence problems." Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series C (Applied Statistics) 66.3 (April 2017): 555-580. Full Text

Dunson, DB. "Toward Automated Prior Choice." Statistical Science 32.1 (February 2017): 41-43. Full Text

Abrego, N, Dunson, D, Halme, P, Salcedo, I, and Ovaskainen, O. "Wood-inhabiting fungi with tight associations with other species have declined as a response to forest management." Oikos 126.2 (February 2017). Full Text

Lin, L, St Thomas, B, Zhu, H, and Dunson, DB. "Extrinsic local regression on manifold-valued data." Journal of the American Statistical Association 112.519 (January 2017): 1261-1273. Full Text

Durante, D, Dunson, DB, and Vogelstein, JT. "Nonparametric Bayes Modeling of Populations of Networks." JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN STATISTICAL ASSOCIATION 112.520 (2017): 1516-1530. Full Text