A short Course on NonLinear Mixed Models
and Their Applications

Nonlinear extensions of linear or generalized linear mixed models are becoming increasingly popular. These models have a wide variety of applications in many areas, including applications in biomedical sciences. The aim of this course is to provide an overview of recent developments of this methodology for professionals in the pharmaceutical industry, biomedical sciences and biostatistics. This course is jointly organized by SSL (The Statisticians in the Finnish Pharmaceutical Industry), FSB (The Finnish Society of Biostatistics) and FMS (The Swedish Association for Medical Statistics). The course consists of a two-day seminar and an additional one-day computer workshop. The Department of Statistics at the University of Turku has arranged the facilities at the university. The event is supported by SAS Finland.

September 30th & October 1st, 2009
(supplementary computer workshop Oct 2nd)
Turku, Finland

Main speaker: Ed Vonesh
Prof. Vonesh has decades of experience from nonlinear mixed models. He is an excellent teacher and he has shown his outstanding knowledge on this area in many publications and several books. This course will focus on applications and implementations using mainly the newest available procedures in SAS, without ignoring the theory behind the implementations.

In this course he will start with the linear mixed-effects (LME) model briefly because it helps set the basic data structure which will be used later on for the more complicated nonlinear mixed-effects (NLME) models. Moreover a careful understanding of how the LME works will help understanding how the NLME model works.

The lectures will be focused on 1) an introduction to the basic model, 2) the basic approaches to estimation and inference and 3) applications involving SAS and the use of PROC NLMIXED, PROC GLIMMIX and the SAS macros NLINMIX, MIXNLIN and CGEE2, (he has written the last two himself). Other macros for assessing model goodness-of-fit, obtaining good starting values, etc. will also be presented.

He will focus on the nonlinear mixed-effects models and generalized nonlinear mixed-effects models stressing applications in SAS. Among other things he has three excellent examples of using generalized nonlinear mixed-effects models for the problem of estimating the parameters from a mixed-model in the presence of missing data due to dropouts. He will also contrast the marginal or population-averaged model to the mixed model in terms of how parameters from the two types of models represent very different interpretations.

Additional speaker: Pyry Välitalo
PhD student Välitalo will give a presentation on Population Pharmacokinetics (pop PK), including:
- Introduction to pop PK, and advantages of pop PK compared to traditional modeling
- Linkage between the parameters of the non-linear mixed model and pop PK
- A simple example of building a pop PK model
- A case example: Implementation of pop PK in a study of flurbiprofen on children

[Added 2.11.2009]
- The lecture notes and the SAS codes for the workshop exercises can be found here.

[Added 22.3.2010]
- Pictures from the course are available here.


Wednesday 30th September:
    9:00 Registration and morning coffee/tea
    9:30 Seminar starts
  17:00 Seminar ends for the day
  19:00 Course dinner

Thursday 1st October:
    8:30 Pyry Välitalo's presentation about the population pharmacokinetics (with discussion)
    9:30 Coffee break
  17:00 Seminar ends

Friday 2nd October:
    8:15 Computer workshop starts
  14:45 Computer workshop ends


The registration deadline is 15th September. To register please go to the registration page.

NOTE! The workshop is now full but there are still seats available for the seminar. All participants who registered for the workshop before the early bird deadline have been accepted to the workshop. A confirmation letter will be sent on Monday 31.8. to all who have registered so far.

Registration fees: Three-day course
30 Sept – 2 Oct
Two-day seminar
30 Sept – 1 Oct
Registration on or before 21st August 290 EUR 210 EUR
Registration after 21st August 330 EUR 250 EUR
Reduced student fee 100* EUR 100 EUR

* The number of seats to the computer workshop is limited and therefore the Organizing Committee reserves the right to choose the participants for the workshop (first come, first serve as main principle). Participants paying the reduced student fee will be admitted if seats are available.

The registration fees (except for the reduced student fee) include coffee and lunch on all days, and a course dinner on the 30th September.

The reduced student fee is for full-time undergraduate students, i.e. not for postgraduate students or undergraduate students who work more than 70 hours a month.


The course will take place at the University of Turku. The seminar will take place in Calonia 2 (2nd floor), Vänrikinkatu 2. The workshop will be held in the Publicum building, Assistentinkatu 7, in room ATK409 (4th floor). Calonia and Publicum are situated near the other Universities in Turku and Turku University Hospital, within walking distance from Kupittaa railway station (1.5 km) and about 3 km from the central trainstation and bus stations (see map).


Below are some hotel options close to the course venue. The course participants are required to book their hotel themselves. The closest hotel is located about 200 m from the course venue:

Holiday Club Caribia
   Kongressikuja 1, tel. 020-1234 902
   140EUR single/150EUR double room (Booking code: SSL)

Other hotels located in the center of Turku about 1 km distance from the venue:

Scandic Hotel Julia
   Eerikinkatu 4, tel. 02-336 000

Sokos Hotel Hamburger Börs & City Börs
   Kauppiaskatu 6, tel. 02-337 381

Centro Hotel
   Yliopistonkatu 12 a, tel. 02-211 8100

For a list and some details about hotels in Turku please visit Turku Touring.

Organising Committee

Sami Hokkanen (Chair)    SSL, Orion Pharma
Britt-Marie Lindström    SSL, 4Pharma
Heikki Hiekkanen         SSL, Encorium
Tapio Nummi              FSB, University of Tampere
Timo Hurme               FSB, MTT Agrifood Research Finland
John Aspegren            FSB, Orion Pharma
Stig Johan Wiklund       FMS, AstraZeneca

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Updated: 22.3.2010 | sihteeri@biostatistiikanseura.org