Gurka, Matthew J.

Gurka for WebProfessor, Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics
Associate Chair, Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics
Associate Director, Institute for Child Health Policy

Phone: (352) 627-9088
Fax: (352) 294-5994
University of Florida

Clinical and Translational Research Building
2004 Mowry Road, Suite 3211
PO Box 100147
Gainesville, FL 32610-0147



  • Ph.D., Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • B.S., Mathematics, Carroll University

Professional Biography

Dr. Gurka is a Professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics at the University of Florida and Associate Chair of the department. Hired as part of the University’s Preeminence Initiative, Dr. Gurka is also Associate Director of the Institute for Child Health Policy. Prior to his recent appointment at UF, Dr. Gurka was the Founding Chair of the Department of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at West Virginia University, where he also led the Clinical Research Design, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics Program of the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI). Before his stay at WVU, Dr. Gurka was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Gurka received a Ph.D. in biostatistics with an emphasis in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has experience in a wide range of applications of biostatistics to medical research, from the design and analysis of observational studies to the coordination and analysis of multi center longitudinal studies. His research areas in statistics include longitudinal data analyses, mixed models and other multivariate modeling techniques, model selection, power analysis, and internal pilot studies. He has published articles in renowned statistical journals regarding complexities associated with the use of linear mixed models, and he recently served on the Editorial Panel of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A.

Dr. Gurka has extensive collaborative and independent research experience in pediatrics. He has obtained funding from the NICHD to study the impact of chronic illnesses such as asthma on development and behavior in children and adolescents. Recently he has focused on childhood and adult obesity, specifically studying the metabolic syndrome. He has obtained NIH funding (NIDDK R21 and a current NHLBI R01) to develop and validate tools to measure metabolic syndrome severity that takes into account sex and racial/ethnic differences observed in this condition. He recently served a term on the Executive Editorial Board of the journal Pediatrics. 

Matthew Gurka CV


  • Biostatistics
  • Longitudinal research design and data analysis
  • Pediatric research
  • Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome Severity Calculator

Recent News



  • Gurka MJ, Vishnu A, Santen RA, DeBoer MD. Progression of metabolic syndrome severity during the menopausal transition. Journal of the American Heart Association 5: e003609, 2016.
  • DeBoer MD, Gurka MJ, Morrison JA, Woo JG. Inter-relationships between the severity of metabolic syndrome, insulin, and adiponectin and their relationships to future type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. International Journal of Obesity 40: 1353-1359, 2016.
  • Gurka MJ, Vishnu A, Okereke OI, Musani S, Sims M, DeBoer MD. Depressive symptoms are associated with worsened severity of the metabolic syndrome in African American women independent of lifestyle factors: A consideration of mechanistic links from the Jackson Heart Study. Psychoneuroendocrinology 68: 82-90, 2016.
  • Lee AM, Gurka MJ, DeBoer MD. A metabolic syndrome severity score to estimate risk in adolescents and adults: current evidence and future potential. Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 14: 411-413, 2016.
  • Lee AM, Charlton JR, Carmody JB, Gurka MJ, Deboer MD*. Metabolic risk factors in non-diabetic adolescents with glomerular hyperfiltration. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation (accepted).

*  Indicates the corresponding author  /   ** Indicates co-first authors


Book Chapters (Invited and Peer-Reviewed)

  • Reger-Nash B, Bauman A, Abildso CG, Zullig K, Cottrell L, Gurka M. Wheeling Walks: A targeted mass‑media‑led physical activity campaign. Implementing Physical Activity Strategies. 2014; Human Kinetics: Champaign, Illinois, Chapter 9.
  •  Gurka MJ, Kelley GA, and Edwards LJ. Fixed and random effects models. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Statistics. 2011; doi: 10.1002/wics.201.
  • Gurka MJ and Edwards LJ. Mixed Models. Handbook of Statistics, 27: Epidemiology and Medical Statistics. 2008; Elsevier: Amsterdam, Chapter 9.


2008 – Carroll University Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Alumnus Award
2008 – University of Virginia School of Medicine Academy of Distinguished Educators
2013 – University of North Carolina Department of Biostatistics James E. Grizzle Distinguished Alumnus

Courses Taught

  • GMS 7886: Health Outcomes and Policy PhD Seminar: Applied Research