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

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

11 May 2018


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

Forty two of these prestigious fellowships were awarded across the UK following a national competition, resulting in four fellowships awarded to Queen Mary out of a total of fourteen awarded to five 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.

Queen Mary’s new Rutherford Academy will be aligned to its research as a partner of the London site of Health Data Research UK - a major new initiative to transform health through data science.  

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 four of these prestigious 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 faculty also includes 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.

Current projects

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 Dayem Ullah’s project endeavours to identify more accurate diagnostic and prognostic factors of the disease. The project will aim to integrate genetic data from patients with environmental risk factors and clinical prognostic factors to understand how these factors interact and contribute to the onset and progression of pancreatic cancer. Dayem will be mentored by Professors Claude Chelala and Hemant Kocher.

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.

The first includes Barts Cardiovascular patients recruited with consent for research to the Barts Bioresource. The second is the UK Biobank, a major UK study of population health, including a cardiovascular imaging component led by Professor Steffen Petersen, who will also be mentoring Adriano with Dr Michael Barnes.

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For media information, contact:

Joel Winston
Public Relations Manager
Queen Mary University of London
email: j.winston@qmul.ac.uk