Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Statistics

First Advisor

Dylan Small

Abstract

The standard methods of diagnosing disease based on antibody microtiter plates are quite crude. Few methods create a rigorous underlying model for the antibody levels of populations consisting of a mixture of positive and negative subjects, and fewer make full use of the entirety of the available data for diagnoses. In this paper, we propose a Bayesian hierarchical model that provides a systematic way of pooling data across different plates, and accounts for the subtle sources of variations that occur in the optical densities of typical microtiter data. In addition to our Bayesian method having good frequentist properties, we find that our method outperforms one of the standard crude approaches (the "3SD Rule") under reasonable assumptions, and provides more accurate disease diagnoses in terms of both sensitivity and specificity.

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