School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics




Our internationally-recognised Biostatistics research group works at the interface of theory and practice. Members of the group have made significant contributions to both statistical methodology and clinical understanding.

One active research area is nonparametric curve fitting and prediction, based on Gaussian process regression for longitudinal/functional data. This is being used, amongst other things, to develop methods for analysing human movement, which are particularly relevant in the rehabilitation of paraplegics. The group also works on missing data problems for longitudinal analysis. This is being extended to missing data in clinical trials, especially crossovers and meta-analyses with missing confounders. There is also interest in both the design of clinical trials and biological assays, and in causal inference from observational data, including dynamic treatment allocation.

There is a strong tradition of collaborative research with colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine and there are links with the Clinical Trials Unit. The many ongoing projects include the analysis of healthcare indicators in HIV infection, dynamic anticoagulation treatment allocation, survival time prediction for hospice patients, cancer epidemiology and prognosis, trial design for haemodialysis in babies, analysis of resurfacing data related to total hip replacement, the effect of lifestyle on blood pressure and the effect of dietary intake on wellbeing in children.

Grants and Fellowships

Details of the grants and fellowships awarded to members of the Biostatistics research group.

Current grants, studentships and fellowships

  • Limbs alive - monitoring of upper limb rehabilitation and recovery after stroke through gaming, Wellcome trust grant on HICF (Health Innovation Challenge Fund, total of 2.1 million pounds, Jan. 2012-Dec.2014, Dr Jian Q Shi is the leader of Work Package 1: Data Analysis and Validation) with PI Prof. Janet A Eyre.

Past grants, fellowships and studentships

  • Predictive dynamic modelling for next generation processing — Javier Serradilla, EPSRC CASE funded PhD student sponsored by BP Oil International Ltd (2008–11), supervised by Dr Jian Q Shi and Prof Julian Morris.
  • INVESTIGATE-1 a pragmatic multicentre pilot study to assess the feasibility of a future randomised controlled trial (Hilton, McColl, Howel, Deverill, Buckley, Lucas, Wagg, Tincello, Armstrong) Funded by NIHR HTA (2011–2013).
  • Brief alcohol intervention to reduce risky drinking in pregnancy: a pilot randomised controlled trial. (Kaner, Rankin, Howel, Deverill) NIHR RfPB (2011–2013)
  • Nonparametric Methods for Curve Fitting and Prediction with Large Data-set (PI: Dr. Jian Q Shi), funded by EPSRC.
  • Predictive Analysis — Gang Yi, BP Postgraduate Project, supervised by Dr Jian Q Shi. PhD awarded in 2009.
  • A randomised preference trial of medical vs surgical termination of pregnancy (Robson, Howel, May, Deverill, Hewison) Funded by NIHR HTA (2005–2008).


The following members of staff form the School of Mathematics and Statistics are members of the Biostatistics research group.

Dr Phil Ansell
Senior Lecturer and DELT

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6344

Dr Lee Fawcett
Lecturer in Statistics

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7228

Professor Robin Henderson
Professor of Statistics

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7235

Denise Howel
Senior Lecturer in Epidemiological Statistics

Telephone: 0191 208 7381/7245

Professor John Matthews
Professor of Medical Statistics

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7259

Dr Jian Shi
Reader in Statistics

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7315

Dr David Walshaw
Lecturer in Statistics

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7219