Aspiring health data scientists gather for The Farr Institute’s inaugural PhD Symposium

Posted on June 24, 2015

On the 9th and 10th June the next generation of health informaticians from across The Farr Institute’s four UK-wide centres came together for the first annual Farr PhD Symposium.

The Farr Institute PhD Symposium

Click the link to see the videos of the PhD Symposium and here for the photos

In total twenty-six students from ten universities participated in the event alongside a host of PhD supervisors, investigators from across The Farr Institute and a variety of world-leading researchers, including president of the Royal Statistical Society Prof. Peter Diggle, Director of Farr@HeRC Prof. Iain Buchan and David Robertson, Professor of Applied Logic and Dean College of Science and Engineering at The University of Edinburgh.

Throughout the two days each student was tasked with delivering an oral presentation or a poster to their peers in front of a panel of judges looking to award prizes in two key categories: ‘Best PhD Presentation’ and ‘Best PhD Poster’.

The presentation judging panel included Dr Niels Peek from The University of Manchester, Dr Corri Black from The University of Aberdeen and Dr Spiros Denaxas from University College London. Following some tough competition and a series of challenging questions from the judges, Glen Martin from The University of Manchester took home the ‘Best Presentation’ prize for his research in Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) and Hospital Readmissions. Using data from the British Cardiovascular Interventional Society, Glen’s PHD is seeing him develop a model that will predict clinical risk for patients with aortic stenosis. The ultimate aim of Glen’s research is to investigate the causes of hospital re-admissions of patients undergoing TAVI procedures.

The ‘Best Poster’ prize as judged by Prof. Colin McCowan (University of Glasgow), Dr Matt Sperrin (The University of Manchester) and Prof. Rob Stewart (King’s College London) went to University College London’s Ania Zylbersztejn who presented her research investigating why childhood mortality in the UK is so high in comparison to other European countries. By linking administrative data Ania was able to compare childhood mortality outcomes in England against those in Sweden. She is now trying to identify where any disparities might originate.

The event was organised and delivered by The Farr Institute’s Capacity Building team. With demand for high-quality health data scientists outstripping supply, Capacity Building is one of the Farr Institute’s key objectives. The team are committed to addressing this industry-wide skills shortage by creating a pipeline of highly-skilled health informaticians, capable of capitalising on the UK’s current world-leading position in eHealth research.

“The PhD Symposium was a great opportunity for our students to come together as a community and share ideas, compare research methods and help strengthen the UK’s health data network.

The students are a unique and fortunate position; health informatics is an innovative and multidisciplinary field that requires a special blend of skills. As Farr Institute PhD students they are benefiting from an integrated and co-ordinated studentship that is giving them the necessary skills and experience needed to succeed in this vibrant and emerging career path.” – Dr Catharine Goddard, Manager of The Farr Institute Network

Farr Institute PhD student Natalie Berry said: “I had a great time at the PhD Symposium; it was lovely to be able to get to know the other PhD students across The Farr Institute a bit better and fascinating to see the range and scope of research taking place in the health data science arena”.

Dr Georgina Moulton, a member of the Farr Capacity Building team added: “I am hugely impressed by the quality of the presentations and the posters exhibited by the students over the last two days. The scope of research covered by all twenty-six students is really impressive but more than this, their ability to derive meaning through data-linkage methods is setting the standard for health data research across the globe.”

Throughout the event each students was invited to produce a short video highlighting their research. These videos will be made available on The Farr Institute website in the next few weeks.

Following the Symposium, the PhD students will gather at the end of summer to attend the Farr Institute Summer School before the annual Farr Institute International Conference takes place on the 26-28th August 2015.

The full list of Students attending includes:

Christiana McMahon, University College LondonImproving the capture of consent for record linkage metadata in UK longitudinal studies
Alexander Pate, The University of ManchesterThe design of point-of-care trials that use routinely collected data: evaluation of the Trials within Cohorts (TwiCs) design implemented in a Cluster Randomised Trial (CRT) framework.
Ozgur Asar, Lancaster UniversityLongitudinal and survival statistical methods, with applications in the biomedical and health sciences
Victoria Allan, University College LondonPrevention of adverse cardiovascular events in Atrial Fibrillation
Rebecca Howard, The University of ManchesterLongitudinal probabilistic modelling of disease endotypes
Philip Appleby, The University of DundeeDiscovery of Novel Disease Mechanisms through Advanced Biomedical Informatics
Tanja Mueller, University of StrathclydeOral anticoagulants in Scotland – utilisation, clinical effectiveness and safety
Mohammad Al Sallakh, Swansea UniversityCreating and utilising a Wales Asthma Observatory to support health policy, health service planning and clinical research
Candice Keane, University College LondonTowards a mobile phone connected test for influenza
Glen Martin, The University of ManchesterTranscatheter Aortic Valve Implantation and Hospital Readmissions: an analysis of the British Cardiovascular Interventional Society National Dataset
Andrea Fernandes, King’s College LondonHow do Treatments for Depression effect Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour in Major Depression?
Ellena Badrick, The University of ManchesterMultiple timescales in predictive modelling: with particular reference for developing risk prediction for early cancer detection in patients with diabetes
Rachel Reeves, University College LondonRespiratory syncytial virus in young children in England – burden and risk factors for severe disease
Ziyu Zheng, Lancaster UniversityStatistical Modelling of NHS Open Data Sources
Bader Alshoumr, The University of Manchester          Role of mHealth in Long-care illnessess
Natalie Berry, The University of Manchester                How we can use technology to deliver interventions for people who experience serious mental health problems.                                                                                      
Anthony Chapman, University of Aberdeen              A computing approach to understanding relationship s between antenatal fetal ultrasound measurements and postnatal outcomes.                                    
Giogio Ciminata, University of Glasgow                      The cost of atrial fibrillation in Scotland                                                              
Karim El Ferkh, University of Edinburgh                        Burden of asthma co-morbidity in the UK: secondary analyses of national databases from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales                                              
Iliada Eleftheriou, The University of Manchester          Information portability in large, complex organisations
Eduardo Ensaldo, University of Edinburgh                    Patient safety in ambulatory dental care
William Hulme, The University of Manchester              Cause of death following Coronary Percutaneous Intervention: an analysis of the British Cardiovascular Intervention Society Dataset
Marjorie Johnston, University of Aberdeen                  Multimorbidity prevalence, risk factors and resilience in a Scottish birth cohort
Shifa Sarica, University of Aberdeen                          Assessing the health burden of a rare, multisystem autoimmune disease: An epidemiological analysis of comorbidities in ANCA-associated vasculitis
Aizhan Tursunbayeva, University of Edinburgh          Human Resource Systems in Healthcare
Anna Zylbersztein, University College London          Why are childhood mortality rates in the UK so high? An inter-country comparison between England and Sweden using linked administrative data.


For more information about The Farr Institute PhD Symposium please contact Stephen Melia, Communications Officer on T: +44 (0)161 306 7876