We are delighted to welcome three new Programme Leader Tracks (PLTs) to the Unit.
Earlier this year, the MRC Biostatistics Unit (BSU) recruited Dr Jessica Barrett, Dr Stephen Burgess and Dr Paul Newcombe to expand the Unit’s research portfolio, each focusing on contrasting areas of statistical research.
Dr Jessica Barrett
Jessica is leading a programme on Methods for Joint Modelling of Multiple Outcomes, encompassing statistical issues in epidemiology, precision medicine and causal inference. Jessica’s interests lie in the development of statistical methods for situations which require multiple outcomes to be modelled simultaneously, such as the joint modelling of repeated blood pressure measurements and the time to a cardiovascular event. Her work is heavily motivated by ongoing developments in the fields of cardiovascular disease and cystic fibrosis.
Jessica first came to the BSU as a career development fellow, switching to research in medical statistics after studying for a PhD in particle physics. Jessica is returning to the BSU after a few years spent researching at the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge.
“I am delighted to have been granted this fantastic opportunity to return to the BSU, which is the home of so much innovative research into statistical methodology and its medical applications. I am looking forward to building a programme of research at BSU, forging new links with the programmes here and developing new and existing collaborations both within the University of Cambridge and further afield.”
Dr Stephen Burgess
Stephen’s programme of work combines the development of methods for Mendelian randomization and the application of these methods to address novel research questions. Mendelian randomization is an approach that exploits naturally-occurring genetic variation in an analogous way to randomization in a clinical trial to make the crucial distinction between correlation and causation. Stephen’s work is motivated by a number of applied examples, with a particular focus on coronary heart disease via a joint affiliation with the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge.
“I’m excited to be returning to the BSU, where I studied for a PhD, but now to form my own research group. I’m particularly interested in forming strong collaborative links with applied researchers in the Cambridge area and beyond, and ensuring that my methodological research is motivated by and relevant to scientific questions of substantial applied interest.”
Dr Paul Newcombe
For a number of years Paul has worked in the general development of tools for statistical genetics and ‘omics. This included several years in a drug development setting in the pharmaceutical industry, followed by four years as a senior investigator at the BSU. Going forward, Paul’s group will focus on improved methods for analysing and interpreting summary results from the increasing catalog of “meta-GWAS”, large scale genetic association studies comprising tens of thousands of people, as well as methodology to build high dimensional predictive models, for example to incorporate genetic information into the prediction of disease traits.
“I have had a wonderful four years here at the BSU. I have learned a great deal and made many friends along the way. It is a fantastic environment with numerous world class statisticians available for advice just down the corridor, and lots of exciting opportunities for local collaboration with leading scientists based in the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. I am delighted to be offered the opportunity to build by group here.”
The BSU is delighted to have all three new PLTs on board. Their individual expertise will enhance the BSU’s methodological impact and deliver cutting-edge statistical research.