Funded PhD Studentship – Epidemiology / Medical Statistics
3 years - Stipend £16,383 per annum excluding London
UCL Research Department of Infection and Population Health is seeking applications from candidates for a 3 year funded PhD Studentship in epidemiology / medical statistics commencing in Spring 2014, to be based at the Royal Free site within the HIV Epidemiology and Biostatistics Group.
The studentship will involve an epidemiological analysis of data from the Icona Foundation Study (http://www.fondazioneicona.org/_new/pages/presentationFolder/). It is a purely a data analysis project which will not involve collecting new data or similar activities. The database contains information on over 10,000 HIV-positive individuals enrolled after April 1, 1997 and up to present by 71 clinical sites operating throughout Italy and coordinated by 6 University Centres. The only eligibility criterion for participants was that they must never have taken antiretroviral medication. Icona is the biggest Italian cohort of HIV-positive persons enrolled when “naïve” to antiretroviral therapy.
The Icona Foundation Database contains comprehensive information on many aspects of HIV care and treatment for all HIV outpatients seen at 71 clinical sites in Italy, including demographic information, details of antiretroviral treatment, laboratory tests and major morbidity and mortality. Previous and ongoing projects address questions concerning HIV prognosis and management; in particular the use and effects of current treatment, development of toxicities, and trends over time in morbidity, mortality and treatment response. The database is likely to be expanded to additionally collect people co-infected with both HIV and HCV viruses who are naïve to new generation HCV treatment even if they have previously receive antivirals to treat their HIV infection.
Together with the supervisors, the student will develop a PhD project on the following main themes:
Study of hepatitis co-infections
This area is of particular interest as, recently, new treatments for HCV are becoming available leading to eradication of the virus in a substantial proportion of cases. The study of hepatitis co-infection in the cohort could identify the prevalence and the yearly incidence of newly acquired hepatitis co-infection according to different exposure factors (e.g. sex, mode of transmission, age); moreover the outcome of liver disease could be monitored and evaluated according to HIV-related (immunosuppression, markers of immune activation and inflammation, HIV replication), HCV-related (genotype, HCV viral load, liver disease at baseline) factors and therapy (anti-HIV and anti-HCV drugs). Of particular interest will be the impact of newly licenced anti-HCV direct antiviral agents (DAAs) on HCV eradication and chronic liver disease outcome in both anti-HCV treatment-naïve patients and those previously treated with IFN and ribavirin.
Study of non-infectious co-morbidities
The proposal is to estimate the frequency of occurrence of cancer and cardiovascular diseases in the cohort and to identify possible factors predictive of such events. In particular, the purpose is to study the incidence of newly diagnosed non-AIDS defining cancers in relation to traditional and HIV-related and ART-related risk factors. Cancers will be grouped according to their aetiology (viral vs. non-viral). The study on cardiovascular disease is aimed to evaluate the incidence of cardio- and cerebro-vascular disease, and to relate these events to different risk factors. Further, biological studies analysing different immunological and platelets-related patterns are planned.
The student will have the opportunity to develop and write up a number of papers for publication based on the analyses undertaken, and also will be expected to undertake data management tasks that contribute to papers produced by other members of the research team.
The Research Department of Infection and Population Health (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/iph/)
The Research Department of Infection and Population Health (Head of Department: Dr Richard Gilson), within the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care (Institute Director: Prof Andrew Steptoe) conducts population-based research related to infections. It contains research staff from a wide range of disciplines, including biostatisticians, epidemiologists, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists and public health physicians. The department has around 80 staff and currently about 35 PhD students. The Department consists of four distinct research groups [‘HIV Epidemiology and Biostatistics Group’; ‘Health Psychology and Social Sciences Group’; ‘Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology’; ‘Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research’], and is split across the Royal Free and Mortimer Market sites. The post-holder will be working within the ‘HIV Epidemiology and Biostatistics Group’ (co-led by Professors Andrew Phillips and Caroline Sabin) at the Royal Free site.
The Supervisory team will include: Dr Alessandro Cozzi-Lepri (Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics/Epidemiology), Dr Fiona Lampe (Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Medical Statistics), Professor Antonella d’Arminio Monforte (clinical lead for Icona Foundation Study and S. Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy), Professor Andrea Antinori and Dr Massimo Puoti (clinical leads or two of the largest clinical sites participating in Icona).
Applicants should hold a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject (mathematics, statistics, or epidemiology) and an MSc in a relevant subject (medical statistics, epidemiology or related discipline). Excellent skills in quantitative research methodology, statistical methods, analysis of large and complex datasets, data management, and the use of statistical software are all essential. Although there is flexibility with regard to which statistical package is used for analyses, a large part of data management will use SAS, and so knowledge of or willingness to learn this package is essential. Applicants should also have excellent oral and written communication skills.
Due to funding restrictions, applicants must be UK/EU nationals and must have been resident in the UK for three years immediately prior to starting a PhD to be eligible.
Please submit a CV including full details of all University courses and grades to date; contact details of two academic or professional referees and a personal statement (750 words maximum) outlining your suitability for the project, what you hope to achieve from the PhD. and your research experience to date.
Electronic Applications should be sent to:
Dr Alessandro Cozzi-Lepri
Research Department of Infection & Population Health UCL, Royal Free Hospital 1st floor Medical School Building Rowland Hill Street London NW3 2PF UK
Closing date: 30th November 2013
Page last modified on 27 sep 13 15:38