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Modelling the association between blood pressure variability and cardiovascular disease

  • Full or part time
    Dr J Barrett
    Dr S Kaptoge
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, January 03, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Evidence has been growing in the medical literature for an association between the variability of a person’s blood pressure and their risk of cardiovascular disease1; those with more variable blood pressure measurements appear to be at greater risk of disease. But sub-optimal statistical methods have generally been used to estimate the association, such as using the standard deviation of each individual’s measurements as a risk factor in a survival model for the time to first cardiovascular event. Limitations with this approach include (i) failure to account for measurement error in the estimated standard deviations and (ii) those who experience an early cardiovascular event having fewer blood pressure measurements, leading to differing levels of measurement error between individuals. This project will explore the use of joint models of longitudinal and survival data to overcome these problems by simultaneous analysis of the repeated blood pressure measurements and the time to the first cardiovascular event2. The new methods will be applied to data from the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, a consortium led by the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit consisting of more than 130 prospective studies providing individual-participant data with the aim of studying novel risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Dr Stephen Kaptoge from the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit will also advise on the applied aspects of this research.

Funding Notes

The MRC Biostatistics Unit offers at least 6 fulltime PhDs funded by the Medical Research Council or NIHR for commencement in April 2019 or October 2019.

Academic and Residence eligibility criteria apply.

More details are available at
(View Website )

In order to be formally considered all applicants must also complete a University of Cambridge application form- full details can be found here (View Website )

However informal enquiries are welcome to

Projects will remain open until the studentships are filled but priority will be given to applications received by the 3rd January 2019


1. Parati G. et al. Blood pressure variability: assessment, predictive value, and potential as a therapeutic agent. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2015;17(4):23.
2. Asar, Ö. et al. Joint modelling of repeated measurement and time-to-event data: an introductory tutorial. International Journal of Epidemiology 2015;44(1):334-344.

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