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Chris brings to the role considerable expertise in data science and artificial intelligence methodologies, specifically statistics and machine learning, and its application to health and biomedical science problems. He is currently Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Oxford with a joint appointment between the Department of Statistics and the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine through the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. Within the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine he is an Affiliate Member of the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery. Before joining Oxford, Chris was based at Imperial College, London, and also worked in industry conducting research in scientific computing. He holds a Programme Leader’s award in Statistical Genomics from the Medical Research Council UK.

Chris will be responsible for driving the Turing’s data science and AI research in health. Chris has a broad interest in the theory, methods and applications of statistics and statistical modelling. He is particularly interested in pattern recognition and nonlinear, nonparametric statistical machine learning methods applied to the genomic sciences and genetic epidemiology.

He will develop and coordinate a programme of research involving collaboration across The Alan Turing Institute’s growing university network, creating opportunities with HDR UK’s six substantive sites and the broader health and data science sector. His programme will build on an already established set of health projects underway at the Turing, including partnerships with Cystic Fibrosis Trust applying machine learning to improve treatment plans, a set of interdisciplinary projects awarded jointly with the British Heart Foundation through the BHF-Turing Cardiovascular Data Science Awards and cross-cutting foundational research looking into data security and privacy.

Commenting on his appointment, Chris remarked:

“Already we are seeing data science and AI innovation bear fruit in the health sector; with areas like medical imaging now opening up to machine learning algorithms. There are many other areas of opportunity; including using data to inform adaptive clinical drug trials, personalised medicine, addressing operational challenges within the health service and using theoretical mathematics and statistics to help connect and understand the algorithms that can extract information from large datasets. “I am delighted to join with the Turing and HDR-UK and look forward to working with them to improve human health and the scientific understanding of biomedical systems.”

Alan Wilson, CEO of The Alan Turing Institute, commented:

“Since the Institute was first created in 2015, health has been a priority area of research, reflecting the exciting potential for data science and artificial intelligence to revolutionise this area. The appointment of Chris as Programme Director provides terrific leadership for our ambitions in health, and it is especially rewarding to make this appointment with HDR-UK, thus building strong scientific collaboration between our two national centres.”

Professor Andrew Morris, Director of Health Data Research UK, said: “I am delighted that Chris has agreed to take up this major leadership role that will forge a strong scientific partnership between The Alan Turing Institute and Health Data Research UK. The scientific opportunities are endless and Chris is the ideal person to seek them out.” Projects and collaborative plans will be developed further over the coming months.

This article is adapted from materials by The Alan Turing Institute.