Dr. Natarajan received her PhD in Mathematics from UC Berkeley in 1991, and was an Assistant professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas (at El Paso (1991-1993) and Tufts University (1993-1998). Spurred by exciting developments in computational biology, Dr. Natarajan retrained as a biostatistician, and joined the UCSD biostatistics faculty in 2002. She has over 20 years of experience as a Principal or Co-investigator on multiple studies and clinical trials including development of statistical methodology, secondary cancer prevention, behavioral interventions in physical activity, sedentary behavior and diet, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and sleep apnea.
Dr. Natarajan's methodological research interests lie in two broad areas: (i) developing prognostic models for chronic disease incorporating high dimensional ‘omics predictors, (ii) design and analysis of studies of multiple health behaviors, i.e., diet, physical activity, sleep, and obesity. The focus of her current work is on implementing and developing methods for analysis of densely sampled time-series data derived from wearable sensors, such as physical activity derived from accelerometers. Her prior work included measurement error modeling with particular emphasis on dietary self-report, efficient designs for Phase I trials, and mutation rate estimation in cancer cell lines.
Dr. Natarajan is also actively involved in teaching and mentoring at UCSD. She was the founding Program Director of the UCSD Biostatistics PhD program (initiated in Fall 2016). She developed and teaches a Statistical Learning course in the Biostatistics graduate program, as well as, an Introduction to Biostatistics course in the Master’s in Public Health program. She has served on a number of PhD committees in biostatistics, mathematical statistics, and public health, and has advised numerous graduate and medical students on statistical issues related to their theses or independent study projects. Several of her mentees have won poster and or paper competitions at local and national conferences.