Kaleab Z. Abebe, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Biostatistics, and Clinical and Translational Science
  • Director, Center for Clinical Trials and Data Coordination
  • Director, Center for Research on Health Care Data Center

Dr. Abebe is a biostatistician with collaborative research focuses on design, conduct, and analysis of multicenter, randomized, controlled trials, with particular interest in areas of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), gestational diabetes (GDM), and sickle cell disease (SCD). He leads the data coordinating centers (DCC) for the TAME-PKD clinical trial assessing the safety and tolerability of metformin in PKD; and the STERIO-SCD trial, which is evaluating safety and preliminary efficacy of riociguat in patients with sickle cell disease. Additionally, he leads the statistical and data management core for the GDM2 study, a CRHC-led clinical trial comparing diagnostic strategies for gestational diabetes in pregnant women. Dr. Abebe directs the CRHC Data Center and is the founding director of the Center for Clinical Trials & Data Coordination, created to standardize the design, conduct, and analysis of RCTs. Lastly, he is the Clinical Trials Track Director for the Clinical Research MS program within the ICRE.

Dr. Abebe is on Twitter! Follow him at @coachabebe. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. He’s also an avid soccer player, and he forces his family to watch him occasionally. 

Education & Training

  • BA (Mathematics) Goshen College, 2003
  • MA (Statistics) University of Pittsburgh, 2006
  • PhD (Statistics) University of Pittsburgh, 2009

Representative Publications

Abebe KZ, Althouse AD, Comer D, Holleran K, Koerbel G, Kojtek J, Weiss J, Spillane S. Creating an academic research organization to efficiently design, conduct, coordinate, and analyze clinical trials: The Center for Clinical Trials & Data Coordination. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications. 2019;16:100488.

We describe the organizational structure of the Center for Clinical Trials & Data Coordination as well as the homegrown clinical trial management system integrating electronic data capture, eligibility and randomization, drug and external data tracking, safety reporting, outcome adjudication, data and safety monitoring, statistical analysis and reporting, data sharing, and regulatory compliance.

Schrier RW, Abebe KZ, Perrone RD, Torres VE, Braun WE, Steinman TI, Winklhofer FT, Brosnahan G, Czarnecki PG, Hogan MC, Miskulin DC, Rahbari-Oskoui FF, Grantham JJ, Harris PC, Flessner MF, Bae KT, Moore CG, Chapman AB, the HALT-PKD Trial Investigators. Blood pressure in early autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;371(24):2255-2266. 

In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned 558 hypertensive participants with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease to either a standard or a low blood-pressure target, and to either lisinopril plus telmisartan or lisinopril plus placebo. We assessed the impact of medication and blood pressure interventions on slowing the progression of PKD, as measured by total kidney volume.

Abebe KZ, Jones KA, Ciaravino S, Ripper L, Paglisotti T, Morrow SE, Grafals M, Van Dusen C, Miller E. A Cluster-randomized trial of a middle school gender violence prevention program: design, rationale, and sample characteristics. Contempemopary Clinical Trials. 2017;62:11-20.

Design and rationale for a 2-arm cluster randomized controlled trial to test an athletic coach-delivered adolescent relationship abuse and sexual violence prevention program across 41 middle schools in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Abebe KZ, Scifres C, Simhan HN, Day N, Catalano P, Bodnar LM, Costacou T, Matthew D, Illes A, Orris S, Duell J, Ly K, Davis EM. Comparison of two screening strategies for gestational diabetes (GDM2) trial: design and rationale. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications. 2017;62:43-49.

This paper describes the design and analysis plan of the Comparison of Two Screening Strategies for Gestational Diabetes (GDM2) Trial as well as overall challenges in assessing the impact of screening and diagnosis strategy on adverse pregnancy outcomes. We will also assess whether the additional women diagnosed with the one-step approach benefit from treatment as assessed by metabolic profiles at one year postpartum.

Click here for a more complete bibliography of Dr. Abebe's works.

Research Interests

  • Data coordinating centers
  • Trial management systems
  • Cluster randomized trials
  • Longitudinal data analysis