What is your general research area?
My research concerns the contribution of genetic factors to complex traits and the use of genetic data within frameworks of epidemiological analysis allowing causal inference. My early work on Mendelian randomization represented an important development in applied epidemiology. Following this, work at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University (including work on type 2 diabetes and the fat mass and obesity related locus “FTO”) allowed me to develop in the field of genetic epidemiology. I have since been a part of the teams initiating the Early Growth Genetics (EGG) and EArly Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology (EAGLE) consortia (which have publications in Nature Genetics) and have been responsible for the participation of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) in other major international consortia.
I have also conceived of and established a new cohort (Anthropometry and Pigmentation in The Solomon Islands with findings published in Science 2012) the UK10K population based whole genome sequencing initiative. I am currently a programme track lead within the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU) at the University of Bristol and co-lead a work package within the CRUK funded Integrative Cancer Epidemiology Programme based around recall by genotype studies.
What is special about our WT programme?
The key think about the WT programme in molecular and genetic life course epidemiology is integration of both a diverse resource collection and contemporary methods. Students are able to team up with world leading experts in a broad range of fields (from molecular genetics to observational epidemiology and statistical methods) in a manner to generate real synergy and exciting research. This is a unique environment which feeds from our local University environment and of course the research institutes (the MRC IEU and CRUK ICEP for example) it contains. This, in combination with the superbly supported and 4 year based PhD course, provides a brilliant opportunity for the undertaking of a PhD and for building a CV set for an academic career.
Why do you contribute to this PhD programme?
Not only are the conditions within our programme ideal for exciting and contributory research development (which is of great interest to me), but the people we interact with and have on the course are fantastic. We have a superb group of supervisors who are dedicated to the care and development of our students and a great network of support locally and collaboration. With this, the students themselves are routinely of high standard; generating great science and with it being fantastic to work with.