University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Jing Cheng, MD, MS, PhD

Jing Cheng, MD, MS, PhD

Professor, Division of Oral Epidemiology & Dental Public Health, Division of Biostatistics, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Tobacco Control

Research Summary

Dr. Cheng is Professor of Biostatistics within the UCSF Division of Oral Epidemiology & Dental Public Health and Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and a faculty member in the UCSF Center to Address Disparities in Oral Health (CAN DO), Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS), Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Clinical & Transnational Science Institute (CTSI). Dr. Cheng is a well-known biostatistician and 2019 Chair-Elected of the American Statistical Association Section on Statistics in Epidemiology. Dr. Cheng is Associate Editor and on editorial board of several scientific journals, and has been invited to provide scientific review for 30 scientific journals and NIH/NIDCR and CSR special review panels.

Dr. Cheng earned her medical degree in China, M.S. in nutrition at Cornell University in 2002, and Ph.D. in biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006. Before joining UCSF School of Dentistry in 2010, Dr. Cheng was an Assistant Professor in Biostatistics at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine.

Dr. Cheng develops new statistical methods for complex problems in randomized trials and observational studies. Dr. Cheng is principal investigator (PI) of various projects, developing statistical methods to better understand the effects of a treatment or program on health outcomes in studies with challenging problems and the underlying mechanisms of the treatment via biomarkers, behaviors and social factors. Dr. Cheng's researches provide investigators evidence to understand the causal pathway/mechanism of the treatment and improve future programs by tailoring specific components of the treatment in specific populations.

Dr. Cheng also works with investigators in various fields of health sciences, including dentistry and oral diseases, biomedicine, cancer, infectious diseases, pharmacogenomics, nursing, and public policy research, on study design, power analysis, randomization, statistical analysis, and the preparation of grant proposals and manuscripts.

Dr. Cheng's specific research interests include causal inference (instrumental variables and propensity scores) with applications in clinical trials with complex issues, e.g., noncompliance, mediation through intermediate variables (biomarkers, attitude, knowledge, behaviors etc.), missing data, and outcomes only observed in “survivors” etc., and in observational studies with measured and unmeasured confounding, methods for genetic association studies, categorical data analysis, longitudinal data analysis, survey design and analysis, and nonparametric statistics.


West China University of Medical Sciences, China, M.D., 06/1994, Preventive Medicine
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, M.S., 08/2002, Nutrition (minor in Epidemiology)
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, Ph.D., 08/2006, Biostatistics (minor in Epidemiology)

Professional Experience

  • 1994-1999
    Lecturer, School of Public Health, Sichuan Continuing Education College of Medical Sciences, Sichuan, China
  • 1997-1999
    Research Scientist, National Key Project (1995-2000): Epidemiological Study of Osteoporosis, China.
  • 1999-2002
    Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • 2002-2006
    Research Assistant, Division of Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2006-2010
    Assistant Professor, Division of Biostatistics, Department of Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • 2010-2011
    Assistant Professor, Division of Oral Epidemiology & Dental Public Health, Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, School of Dentistry, UCSF
  • 2011-2016
    Associate Professor, Division of Oral Epidemiology & Dental Public Health, Division of Biostatistics, School of Dentistry, UCSF
  • 2016-present
    Professor, Division of Oral Epidemiology & Dental Public Health, Division of Biostatistics, UCSF
  • 2011-present
    Associate Director, Dental Data Coordinating Center, UCSF
  • 2011- present
    Faculty Consultant in Biostatistics, CTSI, UCSF

Honors & Awards

  • 1991-1993
    University Outstanding Student, West China University of Medical Sciences, Chengdu, China
  • 1994
    University Outstanding Graduating Senior, West China University of Medical Sciences, Chengdu, China
  • 1999
    Marion Fish Cox Fellowship, Cornell University
  • 2000
    Vincent Woo J.P. Fellowship, Cornell University
  • 2002
    Richard Barnes Fellowship, Cornell University
  • 2002
    GSK Scholarship Award, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2005
    International Biometrics Society ENAR Distinguished Student Paper Award
  • 2007
    Saul Winegrad Award for Outstanding Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2007
    New Researcher Travel Grant, Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Selected Publications

  1. Gaiha SM, Cheng J, Halpern-Felsher B.. Association between youth smoking, e-cigarette use and COVID-19. Journal of Adolescent Health, to appear. 2020.
    View on PubMed
  2. Garber AK, Cheng J, Accurso EC, Adams SH, Buckelew S, Kapphahn CJ, Kreiter A, Le Grange D, Machen VI, Moscicki A-B & Golden NH. Short-term outcomes of higher calorie refeeding in hospitalized patients with atypical anorexia nervosa: findings from the Study of Refeeding to Optimize iNpatient Gains (StRONG). JAMA Pediatrics, to appear. 2020.
    View on PubMed
  3. Baiocchi M, Cheng J, Small D. Correction. Stat Med. 2020 May 22.
    View on PubMed
  4. Yang, F., Cheng, J., and Huo, D. (2020). . Causal effects on a survival outcome in observational studies with unmeasured confounding: Application to the effect of PMRT on breast cancer patients. Observational Studies, to appear. 2020.
    View on PubMed
  5. Cheng J, Gregorich SE, Gansky SA, Fisher-Owens SA, Kottek AM, White JM, and Mertz EA. (2020). Constructing matched groups in dental observational health disparity studies for causal effects. JDR Clinical & Translational Research. 2020; 5(1):82-91.
    View on PubMed
  6. Garber AK, Cheng J, Accurso EC, Adams SH, Buckelew SM, Kapphahn CJ, Kreiter A, Le Grange D, Machen VI, Moscicki AB, Saffran K, Sy AF, Wilson L, Golden NH. Weight Loss and Illness Severity in Adolescents With Atypical Anorexia Nervosa. Pediatrics. 2019 12; 144(6).
    View on PubMed
  7. Baiocchi M, Cheng J, Small DS. Correction. Stat Med. 2019 Sep 10; 38(20):3960.
    View on PubMed
  8. Gardner RC, Cheng J, Ferguson AR, Boylan R, Boscardin J, Zafonte RD, Manley GT. Divergent Six Month Functional Recovery Trajectories and Predictors after Traumatic Brain Injury: Novel Insights from the Citicoline Brain Injury Treatment Trial Study. J Neurotrauma. 2019 09 01; 36(17):2521-2532.
    View on PubMed
  9. Kim J, Zhan L, Le T, Cheng J. Caregivers' Knowledge of Sugar and Control Over Children's Sugar Consumption. Pediatr Dent. 2019 May 15; 41(3):191-199.
    View on PubMed
  10. Chaffee BW, Couch ET, Urata J, Gansky SA, Essex G, Cheng J. Predictors of Smokeless Tobacco Susceptibility, Initiation, and Progression Over Time Among Adolescents in a Rural Cohort. Subst Use Misuse. 2019; 54(7):1154-1166.
    View on PubMed
  11. Cheng, J., Cheng, N.F., Guo, Z., Gregorich, S., Ismail, A.I., Gansky, S.A. . Mediation analysis for count and zero-in?ated count data. Statistical Methods in Medical Research. 2018; 27(9):2756-2774.
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  12. Chaffee, B. and Cheng, J. (2018).. Cigarette and smokeless tobacco perception differences of rural male youth. Tobacco Regulatory Science. 2018; 4:73-90.
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  13. Chaffee, B. and Cheng, J. (2018).. Tobacco Product Initiation is Correlated with Cross-Product Changes in Tobacco Harm Perception and Susceptibility: Longitudinal Analysis of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Youth Cohort . Preventive Medicine. 2018; 114:72-78.
    View on PubMed
  14. Cheng J. and Lin W. (2018).. Understanding distributional and subgroup causal e?ects with the instrumental propensity score. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2018; 87(3):614-622..
    View on PubMed
  15. Taguri, M., Featherstone, J. and Cheng, J. (2018).. Causal mediation analysis with multiple causally non-ordered mediators. Statistical Methods in Medical Research. 2018; 27(1):3-19.
    View on PubMed
  16. Guo, Z., Small, D.S., Gansky, S.A., Cheng, J. . Mediation analysis for count and zero-inflated count data without sequential ignorability and its application in dental studies. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series C. 2018; 67(2):371-394.
    View on PubMed
  17. Dental student clinical experience across three curricula at one institution. Journal of Dental Education. 2017; 81:366-377.
    View on PubMed
  18. Evidence that malaria parasitemia plays a pathogenic role in retinopathy-negative cerebral malaria: A natural experiment. eLife. 2017; 6:e23699, DOI:10.7554/eLife.2369.
    View on PubMed
  19. A Cluster-Randomized, Community-Based, Tribally-Delivered Oral Health Promotion Trial in Navajo Head Start Children. Journal of Dental Research. 2016; 95:1237-1244.
    View on PubMed
  20. Chaffee B.W., Featherstone J.D.B., Gansky S.A., Cheng J., and Zhan L. (2016).. Caries Risk Assessment Item Importance: Risk Designation and Caries Status in Children under Age 6. JDR Clinical & Translational Research. 2016; 2(1):131-142.
    View on PubMed

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