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Professor Sudlow will talk about “Opportunities and challenges in population health data science: the British Heart Foundation Data Science Centre and beyond”. The aims of Health Data Research UK are to be the UK centre of expertise for enabling cardiovascular data science at scale; to create strong partnerships to improve health data science infrastructure and reduce barriers for research; and, to involve patients and the public to build trust and ensure that its work meets people's needs. This is an exciting time to be involved in health data, but we are still a long way from maximising its potential for benefitting patient care and the public’s health. We need to reduce complexity, minimise the risk of silos and earn/retain public trust.

Professor Cathie Sudlow is Chief Scientist and Deputy Director of Health Data Research UK, the UK’s institute for health data science, and Director of the British Heart Foundation Data Science Centre, which aims to improve the public’s cardiovascular health through the power of large-scale data and advanced analytics across the UK and beyond. She is also Chair of Neurology and Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. Cathie was previously Director of the Centre for Medical Informatics at the Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh, the first Research Director for HDR UK in Scotland and Chief Scientist of UK Biobank.

As a neurology specialist doctor, Cathie’s clinical work has focused mainly on the assessment and treatment of patients with suspected stroke.

Cathie’s research interests have always been firmly embedded in the world of big data. Over the last 15 years, her focus has been on leading large-scale, collaborative, open-science initiatives that enable a better understanding of the causes and consequences of health and disease across the life course, leading to new and improved approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

From 2011 to 2019, she led efforts to follow the health of UK Biobank participants through linkage to national health datasets, and during 2020-2021 worked with NHS Digital to develop the first trusted research environment to hold and enable access for research to linked health data from multiple sources for the whole population of England.

Cathie is fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She was awarded an OBE for services to medical research in 2020. 

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