Alex Stiby

What motivated you to come to Bristol and do this programme?

The main motivation for me to join Bristol was to develop my career in Epidemiological research. There were several reasons why I chose to apply for Bristol University; this was due to the data resource ALSPAC, the world-class research conducted here, the short-course programme and the quality of the supervision with a strong collaborative ethos. I was also very much motivated by the Wellcome Trust PhD programme, this programme allowed for a year dedicated to training by research before the start of the main PhD research and funding for workshops, courses and conferences outside of the university. 

What is the key research question of your PhD research project and what have you found out so far?/did you find out?

The key research question of my PhD was to investigate the causal Inference in observational studies of cannabis and tobacco use and later educational outcomes. I found a dose-response association between increasing tobacco and cannabis use in earlier adolescence and poorer educational performance in later adolescence. Given the non-specific patterns of association seen for tobacco and cannabis and the attenuation of estimates on adjustment it is possible that these effects arise through non-causal mechanisms, most probably residual confounding. Although it is not possible to completely discount a causal basis for this relationship. Genome wide association analysis did not identify any strong genetic predictors of any of the cannabis use phenotypes measured; these results are now being put into collaborative meta-analyses in order to increase power to detect associations. 

Where do you think your research could lead and what are your future career plans now?/ Where did your research lead and what are your future career plans?

I have now started a Research Associate position at Oxford University where I have started research in the Clinical Trial Service Unit. My principal research here is based around LPA variants and risk of Heart Failure. This research is different to my PhD but I am using techniques and skills which I learnt from my PhD in Bristol.  

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