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Statistical methods for survival analysis and use of control populations in large-scale electronic health record research

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Sweeting
    Dr P Lambert
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This PhD focusses on the development and application of statistical methods for survival analysis in electronic health record (EHR) epidemiological research. The student will build on research undertaken in the Biostatistics Research Group in relative survival analyses and multistate modelling.

Linkage of large-scale disease registry and population EHR data has huge potential to address key questions regarding the life-course of patients living with a chronic disease, determining whether there are excess rates of comorbidity and determinants of variations in excess rates.

The aims of this PhD are to investigate how linked disease registry data can be suitably matched to control populations to address questions of excess rates of comorbidity following diagnosis of a chronic disease. The project is a mixture of methodological and applied work and can be tailored based on the interests of the student. The following provides a summary of the goals of the project:
• To conduct a review of survival analysis methods applied to EHR research and the use of control populations
• To compare relative survival methods with matched cohort studies for estimating excess rates of morbidity and mortality through extensive simulation studies and application to real-world EHR data
• To extend the methods to a multistate model setting to communicate clinical quantities of interest, such as the expected number of years spent living with a comorbidity
• To investigate whether there is an increased risk of cancer following diagnosis and treatment of heart failure or other cardiovascular disease, and the determinants of any differences in excess morbidity and mortality.

The PhD student will join the Biostatistics Research Group, which is an internationally regarded hub of biostatistical methods development. The group is home to leading researchers in the field of survival analysis (Michael Sweeting, Paul Lambert, Michael Crowther, Mark Rutherford). The student will benefit from collaboration with an extensive research network comprising postdocs and doctoral students working in the broad research area of survival analysis. The student will collaborate extensively with clinical colleagues in Cardiovascular Sciences. There will be the opportunity to attend specialist training courses and attend and present at international conferences.

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better or Master’s degree in a subject that relates to the goals of the research group (e.g. Biostatistics), or overseas equivalent qualification.

The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable: https://le.ac.uk/study/research-degrees/entry-reqs/eng-lang-reqs

Informal enquiries about the PhD to discuss further details are encouraged.

How to apply

You should submit your application using our online application system: https://www2.le.ac.uk/research-degrees/phd/applyphd

Apply for Health Sciences Research

In the funding section of the application please indicate you wish to be considered for British Heart Foundation Studentship

In the proposal section please provide the name of the supervisor and project.

Include a CV and a personal statement explaining your interest in the project and why we should consider you together with all other relevant application documents.

Project / Funding Enquiries:
Dr Michael Sweeting [Email Address Removed]
Professor Paul Lambert [Email Address Removed]

Application enquiries to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

The PhD is open to applicants from all countries but applicants who do not qualify for UK/EU fee status must be able to demonstrate that they can pay the difference between UK/EU and International fees for the duration of their studies.

The three year studentship provided by the British Heart Foundation covers:
• PhD tuition fees at UK/EU rates
• A stipend at current British Heart Foundation rates (£19,919 - £23,398 pa)
• Research expenses and some travel costs.



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