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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Fellows inaugurated at new Rutherford Academy of Population Genomics and Health Data Science

Queen Mary University of London has appointed four research fellows to its new Rutherford Academy of Population Genomics and Health Data Science, funded by the Medical Research Council and UK Research and Investment’s Rutherford Fund.


Left to right: Dr Dayem Ullah, Dr Kit Curtius, Dr Gill Harper, Dr Adriano Barbosa

Queen Mary’s new Rutherford Academy will work alongside Health Data Research UK - a major new initiative to transform health through data science.  Forty two of these prestigious fellowships were awarded following a rigorous national competition, resulting in four fellowships at Queen Mary out of a total of fourteen awarded to London universities.

The Rutherford Academy will create an enabling interdisciplinary research environment at Queen Mary for outstanding health data science researchers and deliver a programme of seminars and lectures, as well as training and networking opportunities.

Advancing research in cancer, heart disease and population health

The successful Fellows are Dr Kit Curtius and Dr Dayem Ullah from Barts Cancer Institute, Dr Gill Harper from the Blizard Institute, and Dr Adriano Barbosa from the William Harvey Research Institute.

They will be working on a range of projects looking at the detection of gastrointestinal cancers, the progression of pancreatic cancer, the effect of geography and environment on population health, and the use of health records in monitoring the progression of heart disease.

Professor Claude Chelala from the Rutherford Academy Leadership Team said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this prestigious grant securing four Fellowships at Queen Mary. This impressive success is the result of the fantastic partnership we have formed across the university and has attracted exceptionally talented fellows. I have no doubt our fellows will succeed in advancing health data research at Queen Mary and nationally.”


The Rutherford Academy is also led by Dr Mike Barnes, Professor Carol Dezateux, Dr Damian Smedley, Professor Panos Deloukas, Professor Norman Fenton, Dr Borbala Mifsud and Professor David van Heel, and involves Queen Mary’s Life Sciences Initiative and the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science.


Dr Kit Curtius’ project aims to connect multiple levels of information, from genomic to population-based data, via mathematical modelling to help with detection and early diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancers. Kit will be mentored by Professors Trevor Graham and Stephen Duffy. 


Dr Gill Harper’s project aims to bring granular geography into health data science by studying the effect of individual level geography and environment on population and public health. The project will enable identification of shared households, provide geographic locations of households to calculate environmental metrics, and create a robust method for linking to other data sources. Gill will be mentored by Professor Carol Dezateux. 


Dr Adriano Barbosa will develop new tools for the integrated analysis of electronic health records, genetic, genomic and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging using TranSMART - a translational data warehouse platform. These tools will be used to investigate data collected from two major studies. 


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