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PhD studenships: Statistical issues in assessing whether new biomarkers are fit for purpose

Statistical issues in assessing whether new biomarkers are fit for purpose
 
Institute of Applied Health Research
University of Birmingham
 
Closing date: 3rd June 2018
 
Applications are invited for (2 posts) 3-year fully-funded PhD Studentships starting September/October 2018 (EU/UK students)

Advances in experimental medicine increasingly rely on the development of diagnostic devices, novel biomarkers, repurposing of existing tests, and identifying powerful test combinations. The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) focusses on three key clinical areas: inflammatory arthritis, inflammatory gastroenterology and inflammatory sarcopenia. Within the BRC, the Diagnostics and Biomarkers theme works with the key research themes to develop, design and deliver portfolios of test research studies, and to advance the methodology behind early evaluative studies. 

The Diagnostics and Biomarkers cross-cutting theme is led by Professor Jon Deeks, and is building on the internationally influential programme of test evaluation research that Professor Deeks and the TERG team (Test Evaluation Research Group) have developed at Birmingham, combined with the resources of the early clinical trials facility D3B (Devices, Drugs, Diagnostics and Biomarkers) and the established Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit with capacity for late phase test evaluation. 

The over-arching objective is to ensure that tests and biomarkers developed or used in the research themes undergo appropriate evaluation and assessment before being utilised as clinical tests or outcome measures, as well as improving the methodological basis upon which such assessments are made.
 
The key aims of the proposed studentships are to: 

• Review the statistical properties of key markers, and design studies to fully assess their variability and measurement properties 
• Develop methods, and provide guidance on the design and analysis of studies of biological variability 
• Identify tests and biomarkers within the research themes requiring evaluation in patient pathways suitable for early evaluation by simulation 
• Identify data required to develop simulation models of the patient pathways and evaluate the potential impact of introducing new tests and biomarkers 
• Identify common formats for simulation models and develop software tools to enable efficient simulation studies to be completed
 
Person Specification 
Applicants should have a strong background in statistics. They should have a commitment to medical statistics research and hold or realistically expect to obtain at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in statistics or a closely related subject, or a Master’s degree in statistics. 

How to apply 
Applications should be directed to a.j.sitch@bham.ac.uk  

To apply, please send: 
• A Detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth; 
• Names and addresses of two referees; 
• A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities; 
• Copies of your degree transcripts; 
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable. 

Applicants will be required to attend an interview 13th June. This can be conducted face –to –face, or by video conference