We are delighted to announce that Stephen Burgess, an MRC Investigator at the MRC Biostatistics Unit (BSU) and senior scientist in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, was recently granted a Career Development Award by the Wellcome Trust to start in November 2022.
The award, which funds four research staff for an eight-year period, will further establish Stephen’s group at the BSU, enabling the continuation of work on methodological development and applied analyses in Mendelian randomization, the use of genetic variation to untangle questions of cause and effect.
Stephen’s proposal is to extend and apply methods for Mendelian randomization beyond answering questions about the validity of risk factors as targets for disease reduction, and towards translational questions about the nature of causal pathways. The aim is to provide focused evidence that can inform policymakers and drug developers to identify the best targets for intervention, the best time to intervene, and who would most benefit from intervention. The work will integrate high-dimensional data from cross-sectional studies, as well as longitudinal data on traits that vary over time.
I am truly thankful to the Wellcome Trust for funding our work, which will provide insights to guide the drug development process. Genetic data have already provided many clues as to why some people are more susceptible to certain diseases than others. Our work exploits these findings to highlight risk factors and biological mechanisms that can be altered to reduce disease risk.”