Jennifer F. Bobb, PhD

I am excited about the potential for scientific discovery in the era of big data. With critical scientific thinking and advanced statistical methods, we can leverage rich data sources to improve public health.

Jennifer F. Bobb, PhD

Assistant Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Areas of focus:


Jennifer Bobb, PhD, aims to apply rigorous statistical methods to address important problems in public health. She is interested in statistical issues that occur when data that were not originally collected for research purposes, such as administrative claims data or electronic health records, are used for addressing scientific questions of relevance to clinical practice and health policy.

At KPWHRI, Dr. Bobb collaborates with scientists across a broad range of research areas, including studies of aging and cognitive function, women’s health, and behavioral health. As an investigator with the Addictions Research Network, she provides statistical leadership on pragmatic clinical trials at Kaiser Permanente Washington and other health systems. She is the lead statistician on a study to evaluate whether exposure to prescription opioids during early pregnancy increases the risk of neural tube defects, as part of the Medication Exposure in Pregnancy Risk Evaluation Program funded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as on the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, a cohort study investigating the factors that contribute to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and healthy aging.

Dr. Bobb also has expertise in environmental biostatistics, where she has led large-scale epidemiological investigations on the health effects of exposure to extreme heat and air pollution and worked with interdisciplinary teams to study the health impact of changing environmental stressors under global climate change. She also developed flexible modeling approaches for estimating the health effects of multi-pollutant mixtures that broadly apply to settings where a large number of exposures may interact or have complex relationships with health, along with publicly available software implementing these methods.

Dr. Bobb is an affiliate assistant professor in biostatistics at the University of Washington. She is also an associate editor of the journal Biostatistics. She serves on the Regional Advisory Board of the Western North American Region of the International Biometric Society and is a member of the American Statistical Association. Before joining KPWHRI, Dr. Bobb completed her PhD in biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2012, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

Research interests and experience

  • Biostatistics

    Bayesian methods; analysis of observational data; hierarchical models; analysis of spatial-temporal data.

  • Environmental Health

    Health effects of air pollution, extreme weather events, climate change; statistical methods for complex environmental mixtures.

  • Women's Health

    Biostatistics; interventions during pregnancy; environmental exposures during pregnancy.

  • Mental Health

    Biostatistics; depression; dementia; behavioral health.





Recent publications

Williams EC, McGinnis KA, Tate JP, Matson TE, Rubinsky AD, Bobb JF, Lapham GT, Edelman EJ, Catz SL, Satre DD, Bryant KJ, Marshall BDL, Kraemer KL, Bensley KM, Richards JE, Skanderson M, Justice AC, Fiellin DA, Bradley KA. HIV disease severity is sensitive to temporal changes in alcohol use: a national study of VA patients with HIV. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2019 Apr 6. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000002049. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Drewnowski A, Arterburn D, Zane J, Aggarwal A, Gupta S, Hurvitz PM, Moudon AV, Bobb J, Cook A, Lozano P, Rosenberg D. The Moving to Health (M2H) approach to natural experiment research:a paradigm shift for studies on built environment and health. SSM Popul Health. 2018 Dec 28;7:100345. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2018.100345. eCollection 2019. PubMed

Shortreed SM, Cook AJ, Coley RY, Bobb JF, Nelson JC. Challenges and opportunities for using big health care data to advance medical science and public health. Am J Epidemiol. 2019 Mar 16. pii: 5381891. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwy292. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Marcum ZA, Walker R, Bobb JF, Sin MK, Gray SL, Bowen JD, McCormick W, McCurry SM, Crane PK, Larson EB. Serum cholesterol and incident Alzheimer’s disease: findings from the Adult Changes in Thought study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Oct 5. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15581. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Liu SH, Bobb JF, Claus Henn B, Gennings C, Schnaas L, Tellez-Rojo M, Bellinger D, Arora M, Wright RO, Coull BA. Bayesian varying coefficient kernel machine regression to assess neurodevelopmental trajectories associated with exposure to complex mixtures. Stat Med. 2018 Sep 12. doi: 10.1002/sim.7947. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Bobb JF, Claus Henn B, Valeri L, Coull BA. Statistical software for analyzing the health effects of multiple concurrent exposures via Bayesian kernel machine regression. Environ Health. 2018 Aug 20;17(1):67. doi: 10.1186/s12940-018-0413-y. PubMed



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