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  Improving diagnostic processes and therapeutic strategies in acute care

   Institute of Inflammation and Ageing

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  Prof Elizabeth Sapey  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

We are seeking talented, motivated students with a passion for clinically informed and clinically-based research using health data, studying as a PhD student affiliated with PIONEER, the Health Data Research Hub in acute care.

Acute care is any unplanned healthcare contact or escalation in care. It includes Emergency Medicine, Acute Internal Medicine, Respiratory Medicine (Pulmonology) and Intensive Care Medicine. Acute care is a critical healthcare priority across the globe, associated with poor patient outcomes, high costs and health inequalities. There is great need to reduce the burden on emergency medical presentations, and a means to achieve this is to improve the care offered to patients with acute and chronic diseases both prior to and during the acute admission.

The University of Birmingham has one the largest, multi-disciplinary acute care research groups in the UK. Professor Liz Sapey leads a large group of scientists, healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiologists) and data scientists, all focused on improving health care services in acute care and respiratory medicine through translational, clinical and data science,( She is also the Director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham and a clinical consultant working in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

PIONEER is a health data centre of excellence based in the West Midlands. We hold highly detailed health, social and environmental data from care providers across the West Midlands, reflecting a population of 6.2M patients ( PIONEER can provide access to health data in secure research platforms and students will have access to experienced health informatics and data analytics teams to help support analysis.

Applicants should have a first or upper second-class degree in a relevant scientific discipline, and who are self-funded or have typically applied for, or secured funding for their studies from their government, employer or associated charitable organisations.


We are interested in understanding how medical care can be improved for patients through a personalised therapeutic approach. This includes interrogating how multi-morbidity, age and individual diseases impact on physiology, biomarkers, responses to treatments and outcomes. Our work has included earlier diagnosis of disease and acute exacerbations of disease using new techniques, large data studies and clinical studies delivered within hospitals. Our area of focus includes acute and chronic lung diseases, infections and inflammatory insults.

We have ongoing projects examining:

• The role of small airways disease in asthma and COPD

• Developing biomarker profiles in acute care

• Characteristics of responders and non-responders to novel treatments

• Healthcare pathways for acute patients with multi-morbidity and end organ dysfunction

PhD projects, using these approaches, answering translationally and clinically relevant research questions are available to self-funded or scholarship-funded graduates interested in joining the acute care group.

For more information, see:

Funding notes:

Applicants are invited from self-funded or scholarship-funded graduates ONLY

Applicants will be self-funded or will have typically applied for, or secured funding for their studies from their government, employer or associated charitable organisations.

Overseas graduates require IELTs of 6.5 overall.

Medicine (26)

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 About the Project