Expansion at Lancaster University bolsters the power of health data science in Northern England.

Posted on July 1, 2015

With the appointment of five new academics and the position of Lancaster-based HeRC Investigator Prof Peter Diggle as President of the Royal Statistical Society the region looks set to accelerate the pace of progress in UK health data science.

CHICAS (combining health information, computation and statistics) is HeRC’s base at Lancaster University and comprises statisticians, epidemiologists, informaticians and computer scientists who are developing methodologies for real-world research problems in the field of population health.

The new appointments were made as part of Lancaster University’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. As a result of this and other funding and transfer opportunities the following people will be joining CHICAS in autumn 2015:

  • Dr Frank Dondelinger. A lecturer in Biostatistics, Dr Dondelinger is currently a post-doctoral researcher in statistical genomics at the MRC Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge.
  • Dr James Hensman. Dr Hensman holds a career development fellowship with the Medical Research Council and works at the interface of biostatistics and machine learning.
  • Dr Jo Knight. Dr Knight is currently the Joanne Murphy Professor in Behavioural Neuroscience in the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto. She is a statistical geneticist who will take up the post as Reader in the Data Science Institute at Lancaster.
  • Dr Jon Read. Currently at the University of Liverpool Dr Read works on modelling the transmission of infectious diseases of people and animals.
  • Dr Luigi Sedda. A geostatistician currently at the University of Southampton Dr Sedda is a specialist in spatio-temporal modelling.

This line-up of world-leading eHealth researchers compliments Lancaster’s other recent new addition, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology Dr Chris Jewell. Dr Jewell works at the interface between epidemiology, infectious disease modelling, statistics and high performance computing and joined CHICAS in March.

Prof Peter Diggle said: “It’s been a great year for CHICAS and marks a real step-change in both the size and scope of the group whose research will now include biostatistics and health informatics and help strengthen the power and scope eHealth research across HeRC and the UK-wide Farr Institute.

Alongside the new appointments we should also extend our congratulations to PhD student Emanuele Giorgi who has been awarded an MRC Career Development Fellowship to continue his work on spatial statistics and spatial epidemiology.”

Prof Iain Buchan, Director of Farr@HeRC said: “The expansion of the team in Lancaster in fantastic news. Consolidating powerful bridges like this between statistics and informatics is vital for the UK’s quest to build a world-leading network of data-intensive health science. Northern England is certainly a “powerhouse” in this regard. I wish all of the new researchers a warm welcome to the North’s Health eResearch Centre and to the wider national Farr Institute, and look forward to great science.”


Notes for editors:

The Health eResearch Centre (HeRC) is delivering large scale, population wide health research by harnessing the power of information and technology.

Led by The University of Manchester and bringing together research excellence across the North of England (in partnership with the universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and York) the Health eResearch Centre is increasing the pace of progress in the UK’s health sector by turning under-used health information into new knowledge.

The Health eResearch Centre – People | Data | Methods

For more information please visit our website #datasaveslives


Stephen Melia

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