Statistics is the most important science in the whole world.

Florence Nightingale

Esa Läärä


Professor of Statistics


I obtained MSc in Applied Statistics at Oxford University in 1985, and became Licentiate in Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki in 1987. From 1981 onwards I worked as a biostatistician and epidemiologist at the Finnish Cancer Registry and at Universities of Kuopio, Tampere and Oulu. Since 1996 I have served as Associate Professor and Professor in Statistics, especially Biometry, at the Department - now Research Unit - of Mathematical Sciences, University of Oulu. Currently I am the Deputy Leader of the Unit.

Research interests

  • Development and creative application of statistical methods in health sciences
  • Population-based survival analysis of cancer patients
  • Prognosis of head and neck cancer patients
  • Incidence and survival of gynecological and colorectal cancers in relation to antidiabetic medications and use of statins in women with type 2 diabetes


805309A/805609S Epidemiologian tilastolliset menetelmät (Statistical Methods in Epidemiology, in Finnish) Sep-Dec 2020

805351A Lineaarinen regressio (Linear regression, in Finnish) Jan-Mar, 2021

805326A/805629S Otantamenetelmät (Sampling Methods, in Finnish), Mar-May 2021

Teaching in international courses

Faculty member of "Statistical Practice in Epidemiology Using R", Tartu, Estonia, 13 to 18 August, 2021

Selected publications

  • Seppä, Karri; Rue, Håvard; Hakulinen, Timo; Läärä, Esa; Sillanpää, Mikko J; Pitkäniemi, Janne (2019) Estimating multilevel regional variation in excess mortality of cancer patients using integrated nested Laplace approximation. - Statistics in medicine 38, 778-791 . [Original] [Self-archived]
  • Urpilainen, Elina; Marttila, Mikko; Hautakoski, Ari; Arffman, Martti; Sund, Reijo; Ilanne-Parikka, Pirjo; Arima, Reetta; Kangaskokko, Jenni; Puistola, Ulla; Läärä, Esa; Hinkula, Marianne (2018) The role of metformin and statins in the incidence of epithelial ovarian cancer in type 2 diabetes: a cohort and nested case–control study. - BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 125, 1001-1008 . [Original] [Self-archived]
  • Läärä, E.; Korpi, J.T.; Pitkänen, H.; Alho, O.­P.; Kantola, S. (2017) Competing risks analysis of cause-specific mortality in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma. - Head & Neck 39 (1), 56-62 . [Original] [Self-archived]
  • Seppä, Karri; Hakulinen, Timo; Läärä, Esa; Pitkäniemi, Janne (2016) Comparing net survival estimators of cancer patients. - Statistics in medicine 35 (11), 1866-1879 . [Original]
  • Uusküla, A.; Toompere, K.; Laisaar, K.-T.; Rosenthal, M.; Pürjer, M.L.; Knellwolf, A.; Läärä, E.; Jarlais, D.C.Des (2015) HIV research productivity and structural factors associated with HIV research output in European Union countries: a bibliometric analysis. - BMJ Open 5 (2), e006591 . [Original]
  • Kaakinen, Marika; Sovio, Ulla; Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa; Pouta, Anneli; Savolainen, Markku J.; Herzig, Karl-Heinz; Elliott, Paul; De Stavola, Bianca; Läärä, Esa; Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta (2014) Life course structural equation model of the effects of prenatal and postnatal growth on adult blood pressure. - Journal of epidemiology and community health 68 (12), 1161-1167
  • Seppä, Karri; Hakulinen, Timo; Läärä, Esa (2014) Regional variation in relative survival-quantifying the effects of the competing risks of death by using a cure fraction model with random effects. - Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series C (Applied Statistics) 63 (1), 175–190 . [Original]