UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Shah-Jalal Sarker

Honorary Associate Professor of Medical Statistics & Epidemiology, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, Faculty of Brain Sciences, UCL

Dr Shah-Jalal Sarker (UCL IRIS profile) is an honorary Associate Professor in Medical Statistics at the Institute of Neurology. He is an experienced quantitative (Biostatistics and Epidemiology) researcher with professional recognition for teaching statistics to non-statisticians. He was the Graduate Tutor for Research (GTR) and also the admission tutor for PhD students at UCL Medical School. Before moving to UCL in 2018, he was the lead and founding academic statistician of the Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London. 
He holds a PhD in Statistics (2002) from the University of Surrey and an MSc in Epidemiology (1998) from the Erasmus University Rotterdam (jointly with the University of Cambridge). His BSc (First Class Honours) and MSc (First Class, 1995) were in Statistics. In 2012, he obtained "Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP)" with Distinction from the University of London and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Prior to undertaking a PhD, he worked as a Lecturer and then Assistant Professor of Statistics at the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh. In the final year of his PhD, he was appointed as a Research Fellow in Pharmaco-Economics at the University of Reading (2002-2004) and then he moved on to work in Epidemiology of Stroke (King's College London: 2005-2008). In 2009, he moved to the Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London as a Lecturer in Cancer Biostatistics. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2016. After working almost ten years at Queen Mary, he moved to UCL. 

Research summary
Dr Sarker is an Educator, Clinical Trial Statistician, Inter-disciplinary Collaborative Researcher and Statistical Consultant. As a collaborative researcher, he carried out research in a number of inter-disciplinary areas covering the fields of statistical methodology (sample sizing, survival analysis, frailty modelling and missing data methods), medical education, cancer, stroke, psychology, ophthalmology, surgical science and management.

He has over 15 years’ experience in the design, implementation, statistical analyses and interpretation of clinical trials (predominantly early phase) and observational studies. He was the lead and founding academic statistician of the Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine at QMUL and provided key input at least to 50 cancer clinical trials (9 international). He has 60 peer-reviewed publications (58 journal articles & 2 reports, a quarter of which are in the highest-ranking journals in the field) and 75 other peer-reviewed outputs (in total 135 publications). He was involved in £22 million grant funding of which £20 million as the sole trial statistician for cancer clinical trials. He was also involved in grant funding for educational research projects at UCL (utilising UKMED data). He supervises PhD students and is an external examiner for PhD students in Medical Statistics / Epidemiology (Monash and Kingston). He is a reviewer for the NIHR program grant for applied research, several international journals (BMJ open, PLOS One) and a member of several reputed international statistical professional societies (e.g. RSS, PSI, SCT, ISCB).

Four key articles:

  • 2020 Capivasertib plus Paclitaxel versus Placebo plus Paclitaxel as first-line therapy for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (PAKT). Journal of Clinical Oncology. IF=32.956.
  • 2019 Fulvestrant plus vistusertib vs fulvestrant plus everolimus vs fulvestrant alone for women with hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer. The MANTA phase 2 randomised clinical trial. JAMA Oncology August 29, 2019  doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.2526. Journal IF=22.4.
  • 2017 Phase III, Double-Blind, Randomized Trial That Compared Maintenance Lapatinib Versus Placebo After First-Line Chemotherapy in Patients with Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 1/2-Positive Metastatic Bladder Cancer. JCO. IF=32.956.
  • 2015 Phase II randomized preoperative window of opportunity study of the PI3K inhibitor Pictilisib plus Anastrozole compared with Anastrozole alone in patients with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. JCO. IF=32.956.

Teaching summary
Statistics is a crucial part of research. Traditionally, it is taught using mathematical derivations and formulae, which drives away students’ enthusiasm and interest, especially those with non-mathematical backgrounds. Teaching Statistics to distance learning students presents another challenge. To address these issues, Shah-Jalal adopts a totally non-mathematical approach focusing on concepts rather than formulae and successfully uses digital innovation for on-campus and distance-learning students. He strives to provide research-led, data-driven interactive teaching to non-statistics students via enhanced communication and feedback and assessment focusing on critical thinking.
His major teaching focus has been at post-graduate level. He has been recognised for teaching statistics to non-statisticians through several prizes at the National Burwalls conferences (judged by clinicians and final year medical students). He received QMUL Teaching Awards for “Technology Enhanced Learning” in 2015 and “Innovative Teaching” in 2016. He was also short listed for the Times Higher Education Award in 2016 for Outstanding Digital Innovation in Teaching. 


DatesPosition heldInstitution
Jan 2021 – To dateHon Associate Professor of Medical Statistics & EpidemiologyUCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
Aug 2018 – Dec’ 20 Associate Professor of Medical Education ResearchResearch Department of Medical Education, UCL Medical School, UCL.
Oct 2016 – Aug’ 18  Senior Lecturer of BiostatisticsCentre for Experimental Cancer Medicine, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London.
Jan 2009 – Sep ‘16Lecturer of BiostatisticsCentre for Experimental Cancer Medicine, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London.
Jan 2005 – Dec ‘08 Post-doc FellowDepartment of Primary care and Public Health Sciences, King’s College London.
Jan 2002 – Dec ‘04 Research FellowMPS Research Unit, University of Reading.

Academic Background


YearQualification Awarding body
2012 PGCAP (Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice) (Distinction)University of London
2002PhD in Statistics University of Surrey
1998MSc in EpidemiologyErasmus University Rotterdam 
1995MSc in Statistics (First Class: equivalent to UK Distinction)University of Dhaka
1993BSc (Hons) in Statistics (First Class, 3rd in the batch: equivalent to UK Distinction)University of Dhaka