Utility Mobile

Sallie Keller

  • Distinguished Professor in Biocomplexity, Biocomplexity Institute
  • Professor of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine
Sallie Keller headshot


Dr. Sallie Ann Keller is chief scientist and associate director of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Research and Methodology Directorate. She also holds an endowed distinguished professorship in biocomplexity and faculty appointments in the School of Medicine, Department of Public Health Services; School of Engineering and Applied Science, Department of Engineering Systems and Environment; and School of Data Science at the University of Virginia (UVA).

As chief scientist, Keller leads the Research and Methodology Directorate’s research centers, each devoted to domains of investigation important to the future of social and economic statistics. The directorate collaborates with teams across the U.S. Census Bureau and with researchers worldwide to develop innovative scientific solutions and advances to ensure the Census Bureau remains a leader in economic and social measurement.

Keller is a nationally recognized research scientist with expertise in social and decision informatics, statistical underpinnings of data science, and data access and confidentiality. She is a leading voice in creating the science of all data and advancing this research across disciplines to benefit society.

Her prior positions include director of the Social and Decision Analytics Division within UVA’s Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative; professor of statistics and director of the Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory within the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech; academic vice president and provost at the University of Waterloo; director of the Institute for Defense Analyses Science and Technology Policy Institute; the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering at Rice University; head of the Statistical Sciences group at Los Alamos National Laboratory; professor of statistics at Kansas State University; and Statistics Program director at the National Science Foundation.

Keller is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. She has served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications and the Committee on National Statistics, and as chair of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an elected member of the International Statistics Institute, and a fellow and past president of the American Statistical Association. Keller earned her B.S. and M.S. in mathematics from the University of South Florida and her Ph.D. in statistics from Iowa State University.

Full CV

    • The science of all data

    • Social and decision informatics

    • Statistical underpinnings of data science

    • Data access and confidentiality

    • Samuel S. Wilks Memorial Award, 2021
    • Elected Member of the National Academy of Engineering, 2020
    • Elected Member of Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, 2020
    • Elected Member of International Statistical Institute, 2012
    • Jerome Sacks Award for Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Research, National Institute of Statistical Sciences, 2010
    • John V. Atanasoff Research and Discovery Award, Iowa State University, 2009
    • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2005
    • National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2002
    • Founder’s Award American Statistical Association, 2002
    • Fellow of the American Statistical Association, 1997
    • Director’s Award for Outstanding Program Management, National Science Foundation, 1996
  • Ph.D. in Statistics, Iowa State University of Science and Technology
    M.S. in Mathematics, University of South Florida
    B.S. in Mathematics, University of South Florida

Selected Publications
Social and Decision Analytics
Keller S; Shipp S . The Resilience Challenge: Looking at Resilience through Multiple Lens. Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd.. 2018;
Social and Decision Analytics
Keller S; Shipp S; Korkmaz G; Molfino E; Goldstein J; Lancaster V; Pires B; Higdon D; Chen D; Schroeder A . WIREs Computational Statistics. 2018;
Social and Decision Analytics
Keller S; Heimel J . Leadership and Women in Statistics, Golbeck AL, Olkin I, Gel YR, Eds.. Chapman and Hall/CRC. 2015; :Ch. 14
In the News

Many aspects of the research enterprise are rapidly changing to be more open, accessible, and supportive of rapid-response investigations (e.g., understanding COVID-19) and large cross-national research that addresses complex challenges (e.g., supply chain issues). Around the globe, there have been aggressive responses to the need for a unified open research commons (ORC)—an interoperable collection of data and compute resources within both the public and private sectors that is easy to use and accessible to all. Many nations are positioning themselves to be scientifically competitive in the years to come. But the US is falling behind in the accessibility and connectedness of its research computing and data infrastructure, compromising competitiveness and leadership and limiting global science that could benefit from US contributions.

Science Journals logo black text

With a long and successful career steeped in statistics, the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute’s Sallie Keller will step into a new post that might well have been tailor made for the nationally recognized research scientist. Keller will join the U.S. Census Bureau as chief scientist and associate director for research and methodology lending her scientific knowledge and expertise to advise the Census Bureau’s programs and continued need to produce high-quality statistical products describing America and for use by decision makers in many roles.


An independent team of former census directors and prominent social scientists based at the University of Virginia (UVA) is helping the agency meet their goals, and last week it released a progress report on its 4-year effort. “The Census Bureau is already moving in the right direction, and we’re hoping to help them get there by exploring some of the scientific issues that need to be addressed,” says Sallie Keller, a UVA statistician leading the team along with former Census Director Kenneth Prewitt.

Science Journals logo black text

A research team at the University of Virginia has set its sights on developing new and better measures of America’s people, places, and the economy through a comprehensive innovation they call a Curated Data Enterprise. The research is being done in collaboration between the U.S. Census Bureau and UVA’s Biocomplexity Institute with additional support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Data Science

Washington, DC, metro-area stakeholders will soon have a new tool at their fingertips to inform equitable and sustainable growth, a critical issue for a region where more than 5.5 million people now live and strong growth is expected over the next 25 years. The unique data platform will emerge from the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute’s launch of a Social Impact Data Commons, an open curated knowledge repository that will co-locate data from various sources, including public datasets, administrative records, and private sources focused on the region.

Data Science

This article discusses the necessity for data acumen and data science ethics and describes the fundamentals necessary to apply these skills to real-world problems.

Math Society logo - black
Biocomplexity Institute News

On January 29, during a virtual ceremony over Zoom, the University of Virginia honored and recognized faculty members for their outstanding contributions to their fields and the impact of their research and scholarly activities at the annual Research Achievement Awards.

UVAToday (black)
Data Science for the Public Good

Over the last five summers, students from across the country have come together at the Biocomplexity Institute’s Arlington, Va. location for the Data Science for the Public Good (DSPG) Young Scholars program – an 11-week immersive research program through which students gain world-class, hands-on professional experience combining data science and public service. This year, as the world continues to evolve due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has followed suit, adopting an entirely virtual format for the first time.

Economic Mobility

From local neighborhoods and schools to courtrooms, hospitals, fields, and forests, data are everywhere, providing us the power to solve problems like never before. Communities large and small now have access to a wealth of data they can use to assess conditions, develop strategies and policies, evaluate impact, and make critical decisions. However, not all communities – particularly those that are small or rural – have the expertise or resources necessary to access and leverage complex data for real-world benefits.

Biocomplexity Institute News

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Amstat News, the membership magazine of the American Statistical Association (ASA), highlighted 28 admired and accomplished women in a special March feature titled, “Celebrating Women in Statistics and Data Science.” Deputy Director and Research Professor Stephanie S. Shipp from the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative at the University of Virginia was among this esteemed group, selected by other women in the field because of their influential and inspirational work.

Biocomplexity Institute News

One of the University of Virginia’s most ambitious research efforts is beginning to take shape. In the past several months, UVA announced and introduced the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative, which commenced operations in the UVA Research Park in September 2018, and most recently, appointed five individuals to join Executive Director Dr. Christopher L. Barrett on the senior leadership team.