Rho Announces Retirement of Katherine Monti, Prominent Biostatistician and Statistical Scientist

Published 01/03/17


Chapel Hill, NC  ̶  January 4, 2017  ̶  Rho, a full-service contract research organization (CRO) focused on bringing new products to market through a full range of product development services, today announced the retirement of Chief Statistical Scientist Katherine Monti, PhD, a prominent biostatistician.

Dr. Monti is well known in the statistical world for her work in the American Statistical Association, or ASA, and for her participation on research teams that have made significant contributions to the health of human beings and some of their pets. 

Rho co-founder and former UNC Biostatistics Professor Ronald Helms commented, “Wow!  What a career!  Not surprising, I suppose, as Kathy was one of the smartest, hardest-working Ph.D. students to go through the UNC Biostat program. One is reminded of the old line, ‘Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels.’ Kathy not only succeeded, she used her intelligence, education, ‘street smarts’, and charm to excel in institutions and companies with cultures that had, shall we say,  ‘traditional attitudes’ toward professional women, even one with a Ph.D. from one of the most highly respected biostatics programs in the world.  And all that while very successfully bringing up two rambunctious sons.  Eighteen years ago we were truly fortunate to have Kathy join Rho.  She claims to have been drawn by the culture of Rho, a culture valuing quality, caring, teamwork, and celebration of diversity.”

On the human medical research side of her career, including her work at Rho, Dr. Monti has collaborated with researchers in a wide range of fields, including chronic and acute pain, oncology, chronic and intra-operative hypertension, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, non-Alzheimer’s memory impairment, traumatic brain injury, chronic and acute respiratory diseases, AIDS, osteoarthritis, gynecology, autism, fragile X, and aesthetic indications in dermatology.

Dr. Monti achieved prominence in the statistical community for her work in the American Statistical Association, the world’s largest professional statistical organization.  In 2007 the ASA recognized Dr. Monti’s achievements by bestowing on her the title of ASA Fellow, one of the Association’s highest honors.   The ASA topped that by placing her on the Committee of Fellows, which annually selects ASA members for that honor from a pool of nominees, and subsequently topped even that by making her the Chair of that Committee.  Additionally, in 2014 she was honored by Boston Chapter of the ASA with the Mosteller Statistician of the Year Award.

ASA members elected Monti to Association positions including the ASA Board of Directors, Chair of the ASA Biopharmaceutical Section, and Secretary and then President of ASA’s Boston Chapter.  ASA presidents appointed Kathy to some of the Association’s most prominent committees, notably the Advisory Committee on Continuing Education.  Always eager to attract students to statistics, she has organized and participated in many career-related sessions, hosted career-oriented roundtables, and contributed to the Amstat News career series “A Day in the Life of a Statistician” and STATtr@k.

Monti completed her undergraduate degree in mathematics at Oberlin College before earning her Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1975.  She then served on the faculty of the University of Missouri-St. Louis before switching to industry, supporting veterinary and food science research at Ralston-Purina.  While there, Dr. Monti’s work in veterinary medicine included research on feline reproduction and canine restricted feeding.  Ralston’s research was the first to demonstrate that canine hip dysplasia can be prevented or ameliorated in large breeds by either restricting food intake or, during the puppy stage, by feeding a diet with a specially calibrated balance of anions.  One of her favorite projects, which produced many humorous anecdotes, was a project that optimized the Twinkie recipe for product “springiness”.  She also wrote and distributed the highly popular quarterly “newsletter,” Statistically Speaking, in which she used humor and her pedagogical skills to explain one basic statistical topic per issue to over 150 scientists in the Ralston research community.

She later moved to Boston, where she first worked on the development of new medical devices and diagnostic tests (including the first prostate-specific antigen [PSA] test) at Ciba Corning Diagnostics Corp., then helped develop new human drugs at Astra Pharmaceuticals, and in 1998 became Director of Rho’s Massachusetts office.  Dr. Monti relocated to the Chicago area in 2011, serving Rho as a Chief Statistical Scientist at the time of her retirement.

Dr. Monti has a wide variety of activities planned for retirement, including: marrying her fiancé John (date: May 2017), spending time with their combined 5 children and 6 (soon to be 7) grandchildren in 4 states, traveling, learning Spanish, expanding information on the family tree, attacking her list of “to be read” books, and exercising more frequently.  She and John are also investigating several volunteering opportunities.
To learn more about Rho, please visit www.rhoworld.com.

About Rho
Rho, a privately-held, contract research organization (CRO) located in Chapel Hill, NC, provides a full range of clinical research services across the entire drug development process. For more than 32 years, Rho has been a trusted partner to some of the industry’s leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies as well as academic and government organizations. Our commitment to excellence, our innovative technologies, and our therapeutic expertise accelerate time to market, maximize returns on investment, and lead to an exceptional customer experience. Please follow us on Twitter.