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PhD Studentship in novel statistical approaches for basket trials in chronic ageing-related diseases

Population and Health Sciences Institute

About the Project

Number of awards:

Start date and duration:
September 2020 / January 2021 for 42 months.

This project will appeal to individuals with expertise and interest in statistics who wish to apply their skills to improving patients’ health. With the prioritisation of ‘precision medicine’ (finding which subgroups of patients benefit from a new treatment) there is a strong need for innovative statistical methods for treatment evaluation. This project will develop new statistical methods for designing and analysing ‘basket trials’ to make them suitable in a wider variety of disease areas. Basket trials combine several trials in multiple conditions that share biology or symptoms. They allow for application of advanced Bayesian methods to borrow information between these ‘subtrials’ to efficiently and robustly assess a treatment.

The project will focus on methodology development for basket trials in chronic ageing-related diseases, with the following objectives:
Patients might be eligible for being part of multiple subtrials, e.g. in multimorbid populations; in others there may be potential misclassification of patients, e.g. when patients are classified by imperfect biomarker tests. This project will assess the implications on the statistical properties of typical analyses and propose better analytical methods.

In some settings a patient may move from being eligible from one sub-trial to another during treatment. The project will develop methods for estimating causal effects of treatment when this occurs.

Basket trials have not often been used in confirmatory settings. The project will evaluate the effect of sharing information between sub-trials on the statistical properties such as the error rate, and methods for controlling it.

The student will join the Newcastle University Biostatistics Research Group. They would also have the opportunity to work with clinical experts in ageing-related diseases as well as a pharmaceutical company with strong expertise in real basket trials. There would be strong opportunities for methods developed by the student to be used in real clinical trials.

EPSRC and Boehringer-Ingelheim.

Name of supervisor(s):
Professor James Wason (https://bit.ly/3hfSkpU) and Professor Miles Witham (https://bit.ly/3l56Dj8).

Eligibility Criteria:
This award is available only to UK/EU applicants. You should have at least a 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, with a strong mathematical or statistical background. A masters-level qualification in a subject with substantial statistical content would be advantageous.

How to apply:

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’ (https://bit.ly/2EdfMpt).

Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:

insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section
insert the studentship code PH012 in the studentship/partnership reference field
Programme name ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences (full time) – Ageing
attach a covering letter and CV (≤ two pages for each). The covering letter must state the studentship title, quote the reference PH012 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees and annual tax-free stipend of £17,785. Research support costs (for training and travel) of £5000 per year.

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