Rochester, Minnesota




Stacey J. Winham, Ph.D., is a statistical geneticist interested in the genetic etiology of common, complex diseases. She develops statistical methods to identify genetic risk factors for diseases in high-dimensional data and applies those analysis methods to studies of psychiatric genetics, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Focus areas

  • Statistical methods development. Dr. Winham's work aims to identify complicated genetic disease models (gene-gene interactions, gene-environment interactions, sex-specific genetic effects and the role of the X chromosome) by integrating multiple genomic data types. She is an expert on machine learning methods applied to high-dimensional genetic data.
  • Psychiatric disorders. Dr. Winham has extensive experience in genetic analyses of psychiatric traits, in particular alcohol dependence and bipolar disorder. She investigates genetic factors underlying alcohol dependence and related traits such as craving for alcohol, depression and relapse.

    In particular, Dr. Winham is interested in genetic factors underlying sex-specific differences. She also examines genetic risk factors for bipolar disorder and related subtypes, such as bipolar with comorbid obesity, focusing on genetic risk factors that may differ in men and women. She has spent several years in collaboration on clinical research studies within the Samuel C. Johnson Genomics of Addiction Program and the Mayo Clinic Bipolar Disorder Biobank. She is also involved with the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.

  • Ovarian cancer. Dr. Winham investigates genetic risk factors for ovarian cancer as well as genetic markers for outcome and response treatment. She is particularly interested in the role of the X chromosome in cancer susceptibility. She has extensive experience in the study of the genetic epidemiology of ovarian cancer spanning genome-wide association studies, DNA methylation, RNA profiling and sequencing, and protein expression via tissue microarrays. She is the lead statistician with the Mayo Clinic Ovarian Cancer Case Control Study. Externally, she collaborates with the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium and the Ovarian Tumor Tissue Analysis consortium.
  • Breast cancer. Dr. Winham also investigates early prevention and prediction of breast cancer risk. With the Mayo Clinic Benign Breast Disease Cohort, she studies tissue biomarkers in benign breast tissue that are associated with future progression to breast cancer. Additionally, with the Mayo Mammography Health Study, she investigates imaging measures (such as mammographic density) that are risk factors for breast cancer.
  • Education. Dr. Winham is actively involved with Mayo Clinic's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCATS) as quantitative methods concentration leader, biostatistics education theme leader and as a course director. She works closely with basic scientists to improve statistical practices and education offerings. She is also an engaged mentor to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty.

Significance to patient care

Understanding genetic risk factors for common, complex diseases will lead to better knowledge of disease causes and origins and produce better predictive tools for diagnosis and prevention. Furthermore, identifying complex genetic relationships, including gene-gene and gene-environment interactions and sex-specific effects, furthers the goal of individualized medicine.

As a biostatistician, Dr. Winham is passionate about training the next generation of scientists, through formal teaching and mentoring. A thorough understanding of statistical principles, concepts of study design, and basic analysis techniques are critical to all areas of science, and effective mentoring can greatly enhance development of these skills beyond what is taught in the classroom.

Professional highlights

  • Principal investigator, Impact of Sex-Related Hormone Levels and Genetic Variation on Alcohol Use Disorders and Related Phenotypes in Males and Females, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2019-2021
  • Educator of the Year, Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science, 2020
  • Recipient, Career Development Award, Integrative Genomic and Clinical Analysis in Ovarian Cancer, 2017-2019
  • Principal investigator, The Role of X Chromosome Inactivation in Ovarian Cancer, National Cancer Institute, 2017-2019
  • Recipient, Walter and Evelyn Simmers Career Development Award, Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH), 2017
  • Recipient, Cancer Research Fund Award, Fraternal Order of Eagles, 2014
  • Scholar, Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH), National Institutes of Health, 2013-2014


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Division of Computational Biology, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Academic Rank

  1. Associate Professor of Biostatistics


  1. Post Doctoral Fellowship - Biostatistics Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  2. PhD - Statistics North Carolina State University
  3. Master of Science - Statistics North Carolina State University
  4. BA - Mathematics St. Olaf College

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