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*MRC CASE Studentship in Statistics - University of Warwick &
Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in Statistics at the
University of Warwick, funded by a MRC Industrial CASE award with the
GlaxoSmithKline's Clinical Unit Cambridge.
*Title: *Optimal Fixed and Adaptive Designs for fMRI Clinical Trials
*Supervisors:* Dr. Thomas Nichols (Warwick) and Dr. Ed Bullmore (GSK)
*Funding: *Tuition fees (at UK/EU level) and tax-free stipend for a 4 year
PhD. Stipend rises annually as per the UK Research Councils minimum rate
(£13,590 for 2010/11), and is topped-up £2,500 by the industrial sponsor.
*Start Date:* October 2011
*Project Description:* Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is now
almost 20 years old and is an indispensible tool for cognitive neuroscience.
However only recently has fMRI been employed as part of drug development, as
pharmaceutical companies seek to develop biomarkers that are more sensitive
to disease state. By it's increased sensitivity and specificity, fMRI has
the potential to reduce the time require to bring a drug to the marketplace,
thus lower the cost of drug development and ultimately improve patient care.
However, fMRI for clinical trials requires a different set of statistical
tools than that used by conventional brain mapping: clinical trial outcomes
must be precisely defined a priori, and the number of outcomes considered
minimized. Further, cutting-edge type of fMRI designs, using task-free data
to measure "resting state networks" presents yet new challenges for use in a
clinical trial, as task-free results are intrinsically multivariate and
difficult to define a priori.
The goal of this project is to develop novel statistical methodology to
maximize information obtained from an fMRI study while still adhering to the
stringent inferential requirements of a clinical trial. The project has
three broad aims. The first is to develop adaptive designs for task-based
fMRI clinical trials, using initial data to customize outcomes to an unknown
signal. The second is to develop optimal outcomes for the task-free (or
resting-state) fMRI data. The third aim is to develop optimal outcomes from
graph-theoretic measures of task-based or task-free fMRI data, understanding
the impact of matrix filtering operations on the power of final summary
measure. The student will obtain a unique training in statistics and
neuroimaging with mentorship from leading researchers in the field. The
CASE award also includes three-months of on-site research at the GSK
Clinical Unit Cambridge, giving them valuable industrial experience.
*Requirements:* The studentship is available to candidates with the
equivalent of a first class or upper second class degree in a relevant
discipline, and who meet University entry requirements (see
*Eligibility:* UK nationals, or EU nationals who have been resident in the
UK in the last three years. Other EU nationals can only receive a fees-only
award. For full deatils see
*To Apply: *
please notify Dr. Nichols [log in to unmask] when application is
*Deadline*: Applications are considered on rolling basis, up until 31 July
2011, but priority given to applications received before 28 February.
*Inquires:* Specific questions on this project should be directed to Thomas
Nichols [log in to unmask]; questions on the postgraduate application
process at Warwick should be directed to Ms. Kristine Prismall
[log in to unmask]
Warwick Statistics http://go.warwick.ac.uk/stats
Thomas Nichols http://go.warwick.ac.uk/tenichols
Ed Bullmore's academic page
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