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Michelle Wiest

Michelle Wiest

Associate Professor


Brink Hall 416



Mailing Address

Department of Mathematics and Statistical Science
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 1103
Moscow, ID 83844-1103

  • Ph.D., University of California, Davis, CA, 2007 Epidemiology: Study Methods and Biostatistics
  • M.S., University of California, Davis, CA, 2004 Statistics
  • B.S. North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, 2001 Chemistry

  • Epidemiology
  • Diagnostic Development
  • Study Design

Research interests lie in epidemiological and biostatistical methods. This includes developing multivariate diagnostic and prognostic tools for evaluation of metabolic status, study design for nutrition interventions, and evaluation of risk factors for mining injuries.

  • Wiest, MM, L Xin , H Knickerbocker. Reference Ranges for Essential Fatty Acid Concentrations in Plasma. In preparation.
  • Smilowitz JT, MM Wiest, SM Watkins, D Teegarden, MB. Zemel, JB German and MD Van Loan. Lipid Metabolism Predicts Changes in Body Composition during Energy Restriction in Overweight Humans. J. Nutr. 2009; 139(2): 222‐229.
  • Puri P, MM Wiest, O Cheung, F Mirshahi, C Sargeant, H Min, MJ Contos, RK Sterling, M Fuchs, H Zhou, SM Watkins, AJ Sanyal. The Plasma Lipidomic Signature of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis. Hepatology 2009; 50(6): 1827-1838.
  • Wiest, MM, JB German, DJ Harvey, SM Watkins, I Hertz-Picciotto. Plasma Fatty Acid Profiles in Autism: A Case-Control Study. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2009; 80(4): 221-227.
  • Wiest, MM, SM Watkins. Biomarker discovery using high-dimensional lipid analysis. Current Opinion in Lipidology 2007; 18(2):181-186.

Multivariate reference ranges

Abstract: The CHARGE study was a population based study to determine risk factors for autism. This study has recruited nearly 1,500 children and measured a vast array of environmental, biological, and genetic factors. Dr. Wiest’s research thus far has focused on a sub-population of approximately 200 subject on which 200 lipid metabolites were measured. Because this study is one of the few population based studies on both autistic and normal children, it is an excellent opportunity to define reference ranges for many different measurements.

Thus far, we have used univariate methods to detail reference ranges for each lipid metabolite. However, it is unlikely that one lipid metabolite being out of the reference range would be cause for concern. Therefore, we are working to define multivariate reference ranges based on the biochemical interconnection of the lipid metabolites, and graphical tools to visual them.

Modeling lipoprotein size and composition in response to dietary challenge

Abstract: Cholesterol levels in HDL and LDL are well established predictors of heart disease. They also react to certain foods, for instance, high saturated fat. However, it is not the level of HDL and LDL alone, but their size and composition which determines the risk of coronary disease. In collaboration with UC Davis and Harvard, we are modeling how the composition of the particle influences the size, which in turn relates to coronary disease risk.  

Identifying risk factors for injury in underground metal mines

Abstract: We are working with local silver mines as well as federal databases to identify underlying risk factors for mining injuries and accidents. This involves multivariate modeling of the injury experience overall. We are also utilizing in-depth questionnaires to identify personal practices to relate back to miners’ injury history.

  • Women in Science, Fall 2009, 2010, Spring 2010
    Women in Science is an invitational program for tenth-grade girls in northern Idaho.  I am a keynote speaker and activity leader in both the Boise and Coeur d’Alene programs.
  • Kootenai Medical Center Clinical Research Roundtable, 2009 – present
    The group consists of nurses, educators, medical librarians, and academic partners who meet the first Tuesday of every month to assist in Institutional Review Board proposal development, facilitation of research, and mentoring new researchers.
  • Micron STEM Education Research Initiative
    This project, supported by major funding from the Micron Technology Foundation – is learning why some Idaho students may not perform well, or pursue careers, in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and developing educational programs based upon those findings

  • Outstanding Faculty Award, 2009
  • In recognition of exceptional support in assisting students with disabilities to achieve their academic goals.
  • Business Development Intensive Program, 2007
  • Graduate School of Management, University of California, Davis
  • GTE NCAA Post-graduate Scholarship, 2001
  • NCAA Academic All-American, 2000


Physical Address:
Brink Hall 300

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 1103
Moscow, ID 83844-1103

Phone: 208-885-6742

Fax: 208-885-5843


Web: Department of Mathematics and Statistical Science