I am currently Reader in Medical Statistics in the Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology Unit. I have been with the Unit since 1999, although I spent the academic year 2006-2007 on sabbatical with the Pharmacoepidemiology Group of Harvard University's Medical School, studying causal inference.
Having completed a B.Sc. in mathematics from Warwick University in 1985, and a PGCE in 1987, I started my career as a secondary school maths teacher, first in Liverpool and then in Liberia. However, my teaching career was interrupted by the civil war in Liberia, so I spent a short while working for Medicins sans Frontieres. During this time, I was faced with a number of interesting questions that could have been answered using statistics (e.g. is the increase in cases of diarrhoea in this village normal seasonal variation, or do we need to dig a new well ?) but I did not know enough stats to answer them. So on returning to England, I took and M.Sc. in Medical Statistics in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
My first job after qualifying in 1993 was as study statistician with the European Prospective Osteoporosis Study (EPOS), based in Cambridge. My main focus at this time was on the epidemiology of osteoporosis: identifying risk factors for reduced bone density and vertebral fractures. At this time I began my Ph.D. with the Open University, on statistical methods of identifying vertebral fractures. I completed this in 2003, after moving to Manchester in 1999. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2004.