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Epidemiological study of ageing populations affected by blood borne viruses and associated health risk behaviours : analysis of linked databases

School of Health and Life Sciences

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Prof S Hutchinson , Dr H Innes , Dr A Yeung Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Project reference number: SHLS19006

Scotland has a track record in undertaking record-linkage studies to inform public health policy and practice. The establishment of comprehensive surveillance on hepatitis C (covering prevention, diagnosis and treatment) linked to administrative data capturing morbidity and mortality has yielded world leading research on the epidemiology of this infection and impact of interventions (1,2). Through collaboration with researchers in Australia and Canada, researchers at GCU have established an international network to determine the population impact of interventions (such as direct acting antivirals) aimed at addressing the burden of hepatic (and non-hepatic) disease associated with hepatitis C (3,4).

Similar initiatives to that for hepatitis C are in place and being developed through collaboration with NHS organisations Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and Information Services Division (ISD) for other blood borne viruses (HIV and hepatitis B) and for substance misuse. While access to linked data via the UK biobank, relating to over a decade of follow-up on half a million people aged 40-69 years, is also in place to examine liver disease in an ageing population.

This PhD will be shaped by the student but it will focus on quantitative analyses utilizing the above and other available data to better understand the epidemiology of ageing populations affected by blood borne viruses and associated health risk behaviours. The scope of study is thus broad relating to a range of issues of public health concern (from drug and alcohol use through to drug- and liver-related deaths) with an over-arching aim to generate evidence to inform and evaluate interventions designed to address these issues. As part of the PhD, there is also opportunity to lead an international project, collaborating with researchers from Australia and Canada.

The successful applicant will be a qualified and holding a minimum of a first degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant subject (e.g. Public Health, Epidemiology, Statistics). Highly developed statistical analysis skills are essential.
Candidates are requested to submit a detailed research proposal (of a maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of their application.

Research Strategy and Research Profile
Glasgow Caledonian University’s research is framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We address the Goals via three societal challenge areas of Inclusive Societies, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Environments. See .

This project is part of the research activity of the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Research Group within the Centre for Living :
We are a dynamic group of multidisciplinary researchers and clinical academics focussed on sexual health and blood borne viruses, with a major focus on Hepatitis C and HIV. In relation to this PhD, the student would work alongside a team of experienced statisticians and epidemiologists, with established networks and links to a range of academic and non-academic groups (including clinicians and other practitioners, policymakers, and patient representatives).

How to Apply
This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with a start date of 1st October 2019
For information on How to apply and the online application form please go to
Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview.

Funding Notes


1. Innes H, et al. The risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients with hepatitis C and sustained viral response: Role of the treatment regimen. J Hepatol. 2018 Apr;68(4):646-654.
2. Innes H, et al. The contribution of health risk behaviors to excess mortality in American adults with chronic hepatitis C: A population cohort-study. Hepatology. 2018 Jan;67(1):97-107.
3. Aspinall EJ, et al. Trends in mortality after diagnosis of hepatitis C virus infection: an international comparison and implications for monitoring the population impact of treatment. J Hepatol. 2015 Feb;62(2):269-77.
4. Alavi M, et al. Trends in hepatocellular carcinoma incidence and survival among people with hepatitis C: An international study. J Viral Hepat. 2018 May; 25(5): 473-481.
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