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  Using Exposome, Omics, and AI to Develop a Digital Platform for Tailoring the Care of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

   Faculty of Life Sciences

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  Dr Sara Morsy, Dr Mai Elshehaly, Prof Colin Wright  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social impairments, repetitive behaviours, and restricted interests [1]. Over the past 20 years, there is a significant increase in the incidence of Autism spectrum disorders in the UK [1]. Our PhD project will develop a platform for tailoring the care of children with autism spectrum disorders. The project includes using different data integration methods, longitudinal statistical models and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms including generative AI.

The platform will allow policymakers, carers, and healthcare staff to get tailored psychosocial care plan for individuals with Autism spectrum disorders. By understanding these factors, researchers and clinicians can develop effective interventions to improve quality of life for individuals with autism. The platform development will follow FAIR principles (Findable, accessible, interoperable and Reusable).

This PhD project offers an opportunity to learn the principles of interdisciplinary and translational research. The student will learn and work on computational research (data processing, data integration, data analysis including bioinformatics and AI using high-performance computing facilities), Clinical research (clinical data collection, good clinical practice), and principles of web apps development.

The student will also work on establishing patient public involvement group through working with local communities and different charities.

The student will join Dr Morsy's research team, an interdisciplinary lab that develops decision making tools and risk scores that help tailor diagnostics and therapeutics for different diseases.

Dr. Morsy will provide training and support on different data integration, predictive modelling, and platform development used in this project.

Through being a member of Dr Morsy research team at the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, The student will be a member of two international networks, European life sciences infrastructure (ELIXIR) and The Deep Dementia Phenotyping (DEMON). In addition, the student will be working with the Born in Bradford and Connected Bradford teams and local communities. This will allow the students to build and expand their networks for their future research careers.

This PhD is typically suited for students with Bioinformatics, mathematics or AI degree


  1. Bachelor or MSc degree in Mathematics, Biostatistics, health informatics or any relevant research degree
  2. The student should be proficient in one of the programming languages R or Python. Being familiar with languages like Go, Javascript, or Java is a plus, and It is important to show this during your application
  3. The student should show how they developed an active learning approach during their previous study and work.
  4. During the application, the student will solve one coding exercise to assess their skills and to show how they develop an active learning approach.
  5. Familiarity with principles of mathematics and biostatistics

The following skills are favourable

  1. Web development and database management
  2. Model deployment through different cloud services
  3. Sequencing data processing and analysis
  4. Familiarity with concepts of different types of data integration
  5. Generative AI models

In your personal statement, it is very important to mention examples of the aforementioned skills and how you used these skills in practice

How to apply

Formal applications can be made through the University of Bradford web site.

Positive Action Statement

At the University of Bradford our vision is a world of inclusion and equality of opportunity, where people want to, and can, make a difference. We place equality and diversity, inclusion, and a commitment to social mobility at the centre of our mission and ethos. In working to make a difference we are committed to addressing systemic inequality and disadvantages experienced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students.

Under sections 158-159 of the Equality Act 2010, positive action can be taken where protected group members are under-represented. At Bradford, our data show that people from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic groups who are UK nationals are significantly under-represented at the postgraduate researcher level. 

These are lawful measures designed to address systemic and structural issues which result in the under-representation of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic students in PGR studies.

Biological Sciences (4) Computer Science (8) Mathematics (25) Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

The project is funded by Bradford Council and managed through BRAD-ATTAIN award that aims to increase diversity and inclusion among our PGR community and in academia. Our Brad-ATTAIN initiative offers one fully funded PhD scholarships for UK candidates who self-identify as being from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background.


1. Russell G, Stapley S, Newlove-Delgado T, Salmon A, White R, Warren F, et al. Time trends in autism diagnosis over 20 years: a UK population-based cohort study. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2022;63(6):674-82. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.13505.

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