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Biography

I am an NIHR Research Professor and Professor of Medical Statistics and Trials Methodology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.

Before joining the IoPPN in January 2018, I held a personal Chair at The University of Manchester as Professor of Medical Statistics and was Deputy Director of the Manchester Clinical Trials Unit.

I studied at The University of Manchester for a BSc in Mathematics (2000-2003) and an MRC funded PhD studentship in Biostatistics (2003-2007) under the supervision of Prof Graham Dunn and Prof Andrew Pickles.  Following my PhD, I worked as a Research Associate in the Centre for Biostatistics, and was awarded personal fellowships as an MRC Career Development Award in Biostatistics (2009-2012) and an MRC Early Career Centenary Award (2012-2013), before being appointed as a Lecturer (2012), and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2015 and Professor in 2016.  During my fellowships, I spent several months as a visiting researcher at the Department of Epidemiology and Department of Biostatistics at Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

Research interests:

My research interests are in clinical trials methodology, and developing statistical methods for efficacy and mechanisms evaluation using causal inference approaches. The applications of these methods include randomised trials of complex interventions in mental health, and trial designs and associated analysis methods in precision medicine.

My research programme aims to answer four key questions about treatments when analysing clinical trials:

  1. Are treatments effective?
  2. How do they work?
  3. What factors make them work more effectively?
  4. Which patients are they most effective for?

I develop clinical trial designs which aim to answer questions about treatments more quickly and using fewer patients.

Within the Department of Biostatistics and Health Informatics, I lead the Clinical Trials Methodology research theme. I am co-lead for Psychological Therapeutics in the NIHR Maudsley BRC.

Externally, I am an investigator on the MRC-NIHR Trials Methodology Research Partnership, and co-lead of its Statistical Analysis Working Group. I am the founder of the European Causal Inference Meeting (Euro-CIM).

Teaching:

For the MSc in Applied Statistical Modelling and Health Informatics and Biostatistics Executive Education programme, I teach on the following courses:

  • Multilevel and Longitudinal Modelling (module lead)
  • Structural Equation Modelling with Stata
  • Causal Modelling and Evaluation

I teach lectures on clinical trials and intervention studies on the MSc in Global Health and the MSc in Psychiatric Research.

I contribute to the annual Epidemiology and Statistics for Mental Health Research course.

Expertise and public engagement:

I am the lead for the joint department and Maudsley BRC Methodology Patient and Public Involvement group.

I am a member of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Clinical Evaluation and Trials Committee and the NIHR Clinical Trials Unit Standing Advisory Committee.  I am on the Executive Committee of the NIHR Statistics Group, and an Associate Editor of the journal Clinical Trials.

Key publications:

Evaluation and validation of social and psychological markers in randomised trials of complex interventions in mental health: a methodological research programme (2015) Dunn, Emsley et al. Health Technology Assessment 19(93)