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2020 NIHR ACF PES Birmingham Platform Science and Bioinformatics



2020 NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in Priority Research Themes

HEE Local Office: West Midlands
Medical School: University of Birmingham
Research Theme: Platform Science and Bioinformatics
Specialty Options: General Practice or Obstetrics and Gynaecology or Public Health Medicine

Plain English Summary

Scientists and clinicians have ever increasing quantities of data on patients, in the form of medical records, laboratory tests, treatments and diseases. Analysing this type of information can give new insights into the effects of exposure to the wider determinants of health, improve understanding of pathology (including the use of -omics data to aid personalisation of future treatment strategies), aid evaluation of current health policies and strategies, and identify unexpected benefits or harms of drugs.

Information and intelligence are crucial to the development of an NHS for the 21st century. However understanding this data requires special skills in biomedical informatics. Biomedical informatics combines computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering to analyse and interpret biological and environmental information. In order to realise the potential for this type of research it is critical that clinicians are involved.

This means we should support the careers of clinicians with specialist health informatics skills to undertaking biomedical informatics using available datasets to the research team at University of Birmingham including but not limited to electronic datasets such as: primary care, secondary care, biobank, crime, social services and educational data.
The University of Birmingham has a strong track record in the analysis of electronic records from general practices and University Hospital Birmingham has world-class hospital information systems. Strong collaborations between scientists and clinicians have allowed world class research exploring disease epidemiology to be performed.

A team of leading public health physicians, general practitioners, obstetricians and gynaecology will support the trainee selected. Research projects within the scope of this call will use population based phenoytyopic, environmental and genetic data to improve our understanding of mental health, pertinent social issues, multimorbidity and women's reproductive health. Examples of research projects include: (i) Using healthcare data in conjunction with environmental data to improve our understanding of the population attributable risk factors (including sex-specific) that play a role in the development of depression, anxiety and serious mental illness (ii) Using statistical modelling and machine learning approaches to identify the main factors associated with common multimorbid disease clusters (iii) Using available social, police and health care data to understand the impact of crime on health (iv) Improve understanding of miscarriage, predict outcomes of future pregnancies, determine the causes of complications during pregnancy and develop personalised treatments to improve the care pathway for families suffering from pregnancy loss.