Institute of Cellular Medicine

Staff Profile

Dr Joy Allen

Research Associate


I am a postdoctoral researcher in the NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative (DEC) Newcastle.  I joined the group in October 2014 following a PhD and three year postdoctoral position focused on mathematical modelling of quantum turbulence in Ultracold Bose gases.  Needless to say the move to diagnostic test evaluation research was a huge change of discipline, but one that posed an exciting challenge in a quickly evolving, innovative area!

I apply my analytic skills to the design and analysis of a large number of the DEC's test evaluation projects. The NIHR DECs are in a unique position of the interface between industry and academia, thus fortunate enough to have practical and hands-on experience in applying these methodologies to real-life case studies.  This means we can identify the challenges faced in their application, gaps in the methodological literature and areas where new, creative thinking is required. 

One such area of interest of mine is application of methodologies to overcome an imperfect reference standard when determining the diagnostic accuracy of a new test.  Traditionally the diagnostic accuracy of a new test is obtained through comparison with the reference standard, an assumption that relies on the reference standard to be 100% accurate which is rarely the case.  Many methods have been proposed to correct for an imperfect reference standard, however all of these approaches introduce bias and can increase the complexity of the evaluation.  I currently lead the DECs research into the further development of existing methodologies and to quantify the direction and magnitude of the bias and to understand whether the additional benefit in the estimates gained warrants the added complexity.

I also work closely alongside the Health economics group with the Institute of Health and Society in Newcastle and hold quarterly journal clubs where medical physicists, microbiologists, clinical scientists, health economists and statisticians meet to share knowledge and exchange ideas and discuss collaboration potential.   



  • Msci, Applied Mathematics, The Queen's University Belfast (2008).
  • PhD, "Non-Equilibrium and Finite Temperature Trapped Bose Gases: Interactions and Decay of Macroscopic Excitations", Newcastle University, (2012).

Research Groups

I lead the Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative journal club and academic group

  • Joint Quantum Centre, Durham-Newcastle
  • Newcastle Quantum Fluids 

Please visit my personal website for more details.



Research Interests

  • Diagnostic Test Evaluation Methodology

  • Early economic modelling for IVD evaluation

  • Efficiency in Clinical Study Design

  • Teaching test evaluation methodology