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Syndromic surveillance of gastrointestinal illness for a more connected future

Project Description

In order to prevent and control gastrointestinal diseases, public health services need to analyse data from many sources, including GPs, hospitals and laboratories. Patient/citizen-reported information is important too, particularly as people share more information about their experiences of gastrointestinal illness via social media etc. New data sources pose new data science challenges for syndromic surveillance (the near real-time collection, analysis and interpretation of large-scale data to protect health). With careful analytics, syndromic surveillance can provide actionable information such as early warning of seasonal outbreaks of infectious disease and situational awareness during incidents. This PhD will examine an existing suite of syndromic surveillance systems for monitoring the impact of a range of gastrointestinal pathogens in the community. It will determine the sensitivity of these systems to aid the interpretation of both outbreaks and seasonally expected increases of disease e.g. norovirus. Furthermore, the student will consider the role of patient/citizen-driven data sources (including GP-record-access/personal health record apps and social media) for detecting patterns of gastrointestinal disease that are currently invisible to healthcare and public health services. The student will also have access to novel civic data sources such as school absenteeism in the UK’s first Civic Data Cooperative – a stimulating environment for advanced public health informatics, data science and AI.

We invite applications from candidates who have a 2.1 or 1st class degree in a relevant biological science or quantitative science discipline. A Masters degree in a relevant discipline would be an advantage.

Applicants should send a full CV (including the names and email addresses of at least two academic referees), and personal statement to . This should state:
• An outline of how this programme of research and training will benefit from their past experience and impact upon their career aspirations.

The position may be based at either, The University of Liverpool, The University of Warwick or PHE (Colindale/ Porton Down), depending on the project. For some projects, students will be required to work at one of the partner Universities’ and spend time at PHE.

Funding Notes

Thesis studentships cover research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who meet the residency requirements only.

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