Dr Petra Buttner



Petra Buttner

Kerry Kelly

Ray Muller

Rick Speare

Website: www.tropicalhealthsolutions.com
Email: info@tropicalhealthsolutions.com

Dr. Buttner is an applied biostatistician who specialised in quantitative methods in epidemiology, and in the design and analysis of epidemiological studies including clinical trials. Since 2011, she has been one of the directors and a consultant with THS.

Dr. Buttner has been lecturing applied quantitative research methodology for both postgraduate and undergraduate students for more than two decades covering the whole spectrum from planning a study, over the conduct and analysis, up to the successful publication of the results. Her lectures of research methodology and statistics directly target critical thinking and aim to develop analytical skills of students. One of the explicit aims of her teaching is to enable students to become intelligent consumers of the professional literature. The subjects provide students with the basic language and skills to critically read articles. She understands that research methodology and statistics are generally perceived as dry and rather boring topics and hence she puts considerable effort into making her lectures as interesting and interactive as possible. She is currently supervising or co-supervising 15 PhD and DrPH students. In 2010, she was named Supervisor of the Year runner up at the university.

As an applied biostatistician she has special statistical expertise in survival analysis, classification and regression trees, logistic models, measurements of concordance, and meta-analyses. In her capacity as an epidemiologist and biostatistician she has designed and analysed research projects from a wide range of disciplines including cancer, tropical health and infectious diseases. Over time, she has developed a national and international reputation in quantitative epidemiology, in particular in the field of skin cancer epidemiology.

Her interest in skin cancer epidemiology started during her time in Berlin, when she worked for the Central Malignant Melanoma Registry of the German Society of Dermatology. She conducted analyses of their large registry style data-base incorporating more than 20,000 melanoma cases. Her analyses formed the basis for a sound prognostic classification of melanoma which influenced the official American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging of melanoma. Further analyses of this data in 2003 challenged the decisive role given to ulceration in stage I to III melanoma.

In 1996 Petra joined the Skin Cancer Research Group of the Anton Breinl Centre, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, as their statistical and epidemiological consultant. One of the largest investigations completed so far, was a NHMRC funded cluster-randomized trial in 26 day-care centres in Townsville, showing that sun-safe clothing prevents the development of melanocytic naevi in young Australian children. At the same time she further collaborated with German dermatologists, designing and analysing studies, most notably a large randomized controlled study in 1812 German children on the preventive effects of sunscreen use on the development of naevi.

Petra has also been chief investigator on numerous competitive research grants, including Australian NHMRC grants, and has been an investigator on more than $3 million worth of research funding to date. She has co-authored more than 150 peer reviewed journal articles (+10 in press), two text books and 7 book chapters (see full list of publications). Petra's international standing in quantitative epidemiology is underlined by being invited to write an epidemiology textbook by Oxford University Press which was published in 2011 (textbook details here).