The UK Biobank Frontiers meeting took place at the QEII Conference Centre in London on the 26th June, featuring presentations covering subjects such as the access procedure, Genotyping, and future enhancements to this ground breaking Resource.
Below you will find the event programme, key documentation relating to the Resource and speaker biographies.
Key documents and links:
- UK Biobank Data Showcase
- Principles of Access
- UK Biobank Axiom Array Content Summary
- UK Biobank Axiom Array Datasheet
- UK Biobank Biomarker Panel
- Imaging feasibility study website
Join in the discussion on Twitter @uk_biobank #Frontiers
View the programme here: Frontiers programme
Professor Sir John Savill BA, MBChB, PhD, FRCP, FRCPE, FASN, FMedSci, FRSE, FRS, a clinician scientist from Edinburgh, took up the position as chief executive and deputy chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC) on 1 October 2010. He was a member of the MRC Council from 2002 to 2008 and chaired two MRC Research Boards during this period. Between 2008 and 2010 John worked part-time as the chief scientist for the Scottish Government Health Directorates. He was knighted in the 2008 New Year’s Honours List for services to clinical science. John started his research career with a degree in Physiological Sciences from Oxford University in 1978, followed by degrees in Medicine at the University of Sheffield in 1981. He received a PhD from the University of London in 1989. After junior hospital appointments in Sheffield, Nottingham and London, he spent seven years in the Department of Medicine at Hammersmith Hospital with spells as an MRC clinical training fellow and Wellcome Trust senior clinical research fellow. In 1993, he moved to the chair of Medicine, at the University of Nottingham, then in 1998 became professor of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he was the first director of the University of Edinburgh/MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, directing a group interested in the molecular cell biology of renal inflammation. In 2002, John was appointed as the first vice-principal and head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh. He retains an ongoing, research active involvement with the University of Edinburgh part-time throughout his appointment as MRC chief executive.
Professor Sir Rory Collins was appointed Principal Investigator and Chief Executive of UK Biobank in September 2005. Rory qualified in medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School, University of London, in 1981 and obtained BSc in statistics from George Washington University, Washington DC in 1977 and MSc in statistics from the University of Oxford in 1983. In 1985, he became co-director, with Professor Sir Richard Peto, of the University of Oxford’s Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU). In 1996 he was appointed Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Oxford, supported by the British Heart Foundation. He is now Director of the newly-created Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University. His work has been in the establishment of large-scale epidemiological studies of the causes, prevention and treatment of heart attacks, other vascular disease, and cancer, while also being closely involved in developing approaches to the combination of results from related studies (“meta-analyses”). CTSU was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2006 for its research contributions to public health. In 2011, Rory was knighted for his Services to Science.
Dr Naomi Allen, who has played an important role in the UK’s Million Women Study, joined UK Biobank in 2012. She is a Senior Epidemiologist at Oxford University and is using her experience to help develop additional measures of exposure, thereby expanding the types of research using the resource. One of the planned enhancements Naomi works on is the analysis of data from the diet web questionnaire, and other enhancements such as our activity monitor devices to measure physical activity, currently being rolled out to participants. The Million Women Study is itself a landmark health project. It is investigating the factors that affect health in women aged 50 and over, including use of HRT, diet, childbirth and family history of disease. Scientists are using the resource to investigate the causes of a wide range of cancers, heart disease, fractures and other conditions.
Dr Tim Peakman is deputy Chief Executive Officer for UK Biobank and has overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of the organisation. Tim started work at UK Biobank in April 2004 as the Director of Operations. With ten years experience as a research scientist in the pharmaceutical industry and four as a management consultant in drug discovery, Tim brings a wide knowledge and experience to UK Biobank. In 2011, Tim was awarded the inaugural Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Visiting Fellowship at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne.
Adrian Hill is Professor of Human Genetics and Director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University. He leads research programmes in genetic susceptibility to tropical infectious diseases and in vaccine design and development. His laboratory at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics has identified susceptibility loci for many infectious diseases, mainly in African and Asian populations. These include susceptibility genes for tuberculosis, bacteraemia, pneumococcal disease and malaria. His vaccine group at the Jenner Institute identified heterologous prime-boost immunisation as an exceptionally potent approach for inducing protective T cell responses in murine malaria and undertook the first clinical trials of this vaccination strategy. He currently also chairs the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine and the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility in Oxford. He has published over 450 research papers. He is a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal College of Physicians and a Wellcome Trust and NIHR Senior Investigator.
Dr Alex Mentzer is a Clinical Research Fellow in Professor Adrian Hill’s research group at the University of Oxford. He is involved in a number of projects using modern genetic research techniques to look at various scientific questions including why some individuals are particularly susceptible to infectious diseases and why some individuals respond poorly to vaccination. Together with other scientists in both UK Biobank and other research laboratories throughout the UK, Alex has helped to develop a new proposal to screen all UK Biobank individuals for prior exposure to a range of infectious pathogens. This information is anticipated to provide a unique insight into the processes underlying infection, chronic carriage, and subsequent risk of developing various chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Professor Hugh Watkins is the Field Marshal Alexander Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Oxford. He is Head of the newly formed Radcliffe Department of Medicine and Honorary Consultant in Cardiology at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. Professor Watkins has directed the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence at Oxford since its inception in 2008. His expertise is in molecular genetic analysis of cardiovascular disease as a tool to define disease mechanisms and to improve diagnosis and treatment of patients and families with inherited diseases. He works on both rare inherited diseases, such as cardiomyopathy, where genetic advances now underpin diagnosis and new approaches to therapy, and common diseases such as Coronary Artery Disease where the goal is to use newly identified common genetic variants to define novel therapeutic targets. Professor Watkins is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and an NIHR Senior Investigator.
Professor Martin D. Tobin is a Medical Research Council Senior Clinical Fellow and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Leicester, and is an Honorary Consultant in Public Health. Following a broad clinical background encompassing paediatrics and general practice, he specialised in public health and undertook advanced training in genetic epidemiology. His research empasses studies of lung function, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and related traits using a variety of strategies including genome-wide association, exome array and resequencing studies. He co-leads SpiroMeta, an international consortium for lung function genomics, and co-leads the UK BiLEVE consortium, studying genomics of lung health related traits in 50,000 UK Biobank participants.
Dr Jimmy Whitworth joined the Wellcome Trust in 2004 and took over as Head of Population Health in December 2013.Prior to this, he was Head of International Activities and was responsible for strategy, policy and developing the scientific portfolio for research in low- and middle-income countries, which has an annual grant disbursement of about £70-100 million. Jimmy qualified in medicine in 1979, and has worked in the Gambia for Save the Children Fund and in Sierra Leone and Uganda for the Medical Research Council. He has worked at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he was Professor of International Public Health from 1999 to 2004.
Professor Cathie Sudlow, a clinician and scientist with a particular interest in understanding the causes and prevention of strokes, is UK Biobank’s Chief Scientist and Senior Epidemiologist. Professor Sudlow is Clinical Reader and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the University of Edinburgh, and continues to look after patients with strokes and other neurological disorders. She holds a number of key positions within stroke research, including chair of the British Association of Stroke Physicians scientific committee, and membership of the International Stroke Genetics Consortium. Cathie’s role includes overseeing UK Biobank’s linkages to health records and working with expert groups to ensure that these records are combined in the best way for health-related research on a range of different conditions. She also looks forward to developing new ideas for improving the resource to make it more useful to the health researchers.
Since 2001, John Danesh has been the Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and Head of the 330-person Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge. He is also Director of the Strangeways Research Laboratory, Director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, and Honorary Consultant in Epidemiology for the Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Professor Danesh has overseen major expansion in recent years of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, which is one of Europe’s leading university departments of population health sciences. The department was top-ranked in Epidemiology and Public Health in the UK Research Assessment Exercise 2001-2008. John Danesh trained in medicine at the University of Otago in New Zealand and at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia. As a Rhodes Scholar, he trained in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine andat the University of Oxford. He was elected to his present position at the University of Cambridge in 2001. He was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2007 and of the Faculty of Public Health, London in 2009. In 2011, he was awarded a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award. He leads a research group of over 50 staff and students and is an international leader in cardiovascular disease epidemiology, focusing on genetic, biochemical and lifestyle factors. He has authored over 130 publications, over 60 of which have appeared in leading clinical (eg, NEJM, JAMA, Lancet), scientific (eg, Nature, Nature Genetics) and specialty journals (eg, Circulation, Am J Epidemiology). He is PI (or Joint PI) of several major international research projects, such as the 2 million person Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, EPIC-CVD, and the Pakistan Risk of Myocardial Infarction Study.
Professor Ronan Lyons is Professor of Public Health at Swansea University and Honorary Consultant with Public Health Wales NHS Trust. Following a number of years in hospital medicine he specialised in public health with a focus on informatics driven epidemiology and interventional research. He is one of four Centre Directors of the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, informatics lead for the MRC UK Dementias Platform, and a member of the UK Biobank Data Linkage and Outcome Adjudication Working Group.
Dr John Gallacher is a psychologist and epidemiologist with interests in ageing and dementia. He is Director of the MRC UK Dementias platform, a growing collaboration of over 20 cohorts with a focus on experimental medicine. Gallacher is PI for the Caerphilly Prospective Study (CaPS) and has been instrumental in developing the study’s focus on ageing and dementia. He is a member of the UK Biobank Steering Group, leading on cognitive and psychological assessment. Broader interests include the development of remote assessment methods for large-scale studies.
Professor Barbara Casadei is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Oxford University and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist and senior research fellow. Her particular interests are heart failure and calcium signalling, and genetic determinants of cardiac pacemaker activity.
Paul M. Matthews, OBE, MD, DPhil, FRCP, FMedSci, is Professor of Clinical Neurosciences and Head of the new Division of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London. His broad area of research interest has been in molecular and functional neuroimaging and in neurological therapeutics development. Specific personal research interests have focused on use of advanced imaging to assess brain plasticity and the mechanisms of disability progression in multiple sclerosis. Amongst other external activities, he is Chair of the Imaging Enhancement Working Group and a member of the steering group for UK Biobank (https://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/), which has initiated a programme to image the brain, heart, carotids, bones and body of 100,000 people to understand disease risk in later life. He is a member of the steering group of the Critical Path Institute’s Multiple Sclerosis Outcomes Assessment Consortium (http://c-path.org/programs/msoac/), and serves on a number of other scientific and advisory boards. He was the founding Director of the Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) (http://www.fmrib.ox.ac.uk/) and of the GSK Clinical Imaging Centre at the Hammersmith Hospital, for which he was a lead in spinning out Imanova Ltd., which is run as a public-private partnership between Imperial College, UCL, Kings College and the Medical Research Council (http://www.imanova.co.uk/).
Mr Jonathan Sellors is legal counsel and company secretary at UK Biobank.
Sir Mark is the Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government and Head of the Government Office for Science. Previously, Sir Mark was Director of the Wellcome Trust, which is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health by supporting the brightest minds. Before joining the Trust he was Professor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Medicine at Imperial College London. He is Co-Chair of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and has been a member of this since 2004. He has also been a member of the India UK CEO Forum, the UK India Round Table and the advisory board of Infrastructure UK and a non-executive member of the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research. He is a member of a number of international advisory bodies. He has undertaken independent reviews for the UK Government on the use and sharing of personal information in the public and private sectors: ‘Data Sharing Review’ (2009); and secondary education: ‘Science and Mathematics: Secondary Education for the 21st Century’ (2010). He received a knighthood in the 2009 New Year Honours List for services to medical research and was elected as Fellow of The Royal Society in 2011.