Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology
Nuffield Department of Population Health
Tell us a bit about your role
I lead a team of statisticians working on large-scale randomized trials in cardiovascular disease and on studies of ageing.
A graduate in mathematics, I began working on multistage models for cancer with Richard Peto but was soon swept into the pioneering work of the team in establishing large-scale randomized trials in cardiovascular disease. Randomized trials are the crucial final stage of evidence needed to establish the safety and effectiveness of new treatments against disease, but the trials being conducted at the time were too small to reliably detect plausible effects. I have had the good fortune to work with inspirational colleagues keen to innovate and improve practices, and my career has developed alongside the success of the studies and the expansion of our ideas and of the department. An exciting aspect of the work in recent years has been the fast changing opportunities to enhance studies with the incorporation of new data technologies, increasing the scope and cost-effectiveness of the studies - and generating new statistical challenges.
What is the most meaningful aspect of your work?
My most meaningful work has been my contributions to the success of large-scale randomized trials that have identified improved treatments and prolonged millions of lives around the world.
Can you tell us about something you've done, contributed to that you're most proud of?
Over the four decades of my career we have seen age-specific rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality fall dramatically and I am proud that my work, as part of the department, has contributed to this.
What changes would you most like to see in the Medical Sciences in the next 100 years?
Promotion of the rapid sharing of electronic patient records for medical research, which would speed the progress of advances in medicine.