Desai has over 200 publications and in 2020, became a named Fellow of the American Statistical Association. With over 50 mentees spanning the pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and faculty levels, Desai won the American Statistical Association Statistical Consulting Section’s Outstanding Mentorship Award in 2017. She has enjoyed teaching statistical methods and the art of statistical collaboration for over 20 years.
Desai serves as Founding Director of the Quantitative Sciences Unit (QSU) at Stanford University, a data science unit with over 30 faculty-, Ph.D.-, and Master’s-level members, where members engage clinical and translational investigators to answer critical biomedical questions using team science principles. The QSU serves as the foundation for the Biostatistics Shared Resource for the Stanford Cancer Institute, as well as for the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design Program of Stanford University’s Clinical and Translational Science Award. The philosophy of the QSU is that members become fully integrated into research teams to collaborate effectively as peer investigators. To that end, the QSU has been a home for not only the practice of team science but also for the development of innovative methods for practicing team science.
Desai’s statistical expertise is diverse and includes work in the areas of missing data, the design of clinical trials, generalizing trial findings to target populations, and methods for integrating digital health technology into clinical trials.