Biography

Profile PictureI’m a research associate at the University of Bristol, completing a 6-month fellowship with the Medical Research Council (MRC) Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU). My main research interests are improving prostate cancer detection and application of new or interesting evidence synthesis methods. I also enjoy communicating complex statistical concepts in understandable terms (whether other people enjoy that, I don’t know).

I have just submitted my thesis for a PhD in genetic, molecular and lifecourse epidemiology with the Wellcome Trust at the University of Bristol. My aim was to systematically find an individual characteristic (e.g. age, height, ethnicity etc.) that was associated with both prostate cancer and prostate-specific antigen (PSA), to see whether we could improve PSA testing for prostate cancer. Once my viva is complete, I will upload a copy of my thesis.

The website contains blog posts about news items, statistics, evidence synthesis and general thoughts, and descriptions of my work, including information that wouldn’t normally go into a publication. All views are my own.

History

I was a medical student for about 4 years, before realising that although I had spent roughly 9 months in hospitals, I had yet to have a day where I enjoyed what I was doing. So I left medicine, and entered the world of unemployment. I was turned down for a job at Ladbrookes before becoming a night porter at a hotel in Bath (absolutely nothing like the Night Manager, which was great but involved far less cleaning). I then left the hotel to gain some experience working in my old secondary school as I thought I’d quite like to be a teacher.

About the same time, I applied for a job on the CAP project in Cambridge, and to my surprise I was successful. I spent the next year and a half working for CAP summarising the clinical pathways of men with prostate cancer. I applied for my PhD, then spent the next four years working on that.

While completing my PhD, I worked on a few other projects (variety is good):

  • Analysed and wrote four annual national reports for a domestic abuse charity (IRIS)
  • Analysed and wrote three annual reports for my school’s staff survey for the equality and diversity committee
  • Worked for CAP assessing whether men died of prostate cancer
  • Assisted in a systematic review and meta-analysis of peer-led interventions in young people to prevent smoking, alcohol and/or drug use
  • Led a systematic review and meta-analysis assessing whether milk is associated with prostate cancer through an effect on insulin-like growth factors
  • Developed a novel method of evidence synthesis (the albatross plot)
  • Used the albatross plot to assist in a World Health Organisation systematic review assessing the effect of cash transfers and vouchers on the use and quality of maternity care services
  • Was a representative for the postgraduates in my school

Even while unemployed, I never regretted my choice to leave medical school. I have the utmost respect for doctors, it’s just a job you have to love (especially these days), and I did not.