Intended audience: Medical / applied / pharmaceutical statisticians, and quantitative epidemiologists. The course material is relevant to causal inference in a wide range of fields including epidemiology, drug development and social sciences, and would be particularly suitable for a PhD or post-doc about to start a project using Mendelian randomization.
Prerequisites: Knowledge of applied statistical methods used in epidemiological studies is assumed (e.g. epidemiological study designs, multiple logistic regression). No prior knowledge of genetics, instrumental variable techniques, or Mendelian randomization is necessary.
Computing practicals: Participants will gain most from the practicals if they have a working knowledge of R. We are happy for participants to use other statistical software packages (e.g. Stata), but we may not be able to support users as effectively.
Course objectives: After the course, participants should have sufficient knowledge to undertake their own Mendelian randomization analyses, to understand the assumptions on which causal inferences are based, and to critically appraise published studies using Mendelian randomization.
Software download: Details of software to be downloaded for use on the course practicals will be given to course participants. It should ideally be downloaded and installed prior to the course, but please do not worry if there are any problems with the software as there will be an opportunity for software assistance during the course.
The course will be delivered via the Moodle online learning platform.
The course consists of four half-days of on-demand content plus the final hackathon. Each half-day includes three talks (around 20-30 minutes each) and one practical session (around 1-1.5 hour). Each of the three computer practicals should be performed individually, but there is an associated drop-in session to come and ask questions. There is also a recorded debrief session that runs through the practical content. One of the practical sessions is a paper discussion.
In terms of live content, in addition to the practical drop-in sessions, paper discussion, and hackathon, there is also a question and answer session each week to ask your questions. There will be a forum to ask questions during the week, or you can ask questions live (Q+A sessions will be recorded).
The hackathon is an opportunity to perform your own Mendelian randomization investigation to use the skills you have gained during the course. This can be done individually or as part of a group.
Participants should choose one of the papers for the timetabled paper discussion (Practical 3), and one hackathon session, based on their availability and preference. The papers and topics for each hackathon session are announced in advance. There is a final session to present hackathon results.
Please note that there will not be a research symposium for the online course. Additionally, a copy of the Mendelian randomization book will not be provided to delegates.
Stephen Burgess (MRC Biostatistics Unit and Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge)
Verena Zuber (Imperial College London)
Apostolos Gkatzionis (MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge)
Andrew Grant (MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge)
Amy Mason (Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge)
Dipender Gill (Imperial College London)
Contact: For any queries relating to the course, please email email@example.com