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Background

The project will establish and validate laboratory methods to investigate known and novel biomarkers relevant to cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB), a prospective cohort study of 510,000 adults recruited during 2004-8 from 10 diverse regions of China (www.ckbiobank.org).

China has particularly high stroke rates and the rate of ischaemic heart disease (IHD), though still relatively lower compared with that in most Western populations, is rising over the recent decades due to rapid demographic transition and changes in lifestyle. Within China, there are also large unexplained variations in the age-specific rates of stroke and IHD between different regions, suggesting some important causes remain to be discovered. Substantial uncertainty remains about the relevance of particular blood factors and their association with CVD risks, in particular for stroke subtypes, and about the relevance of these associations with other exposures. Moreover, there is limited evidence about the relevance of known and novel biomarkers for CVD risks in the Chinese population.

Research Experience, Research Methods and Training

The DPhil project will be centred on laboratory analyses and its general aims will be to:

  1. Work with clinicians to progress novel biomarker assays of epidemiological interest for risk of stroke and IHD.
  2. Establish and validate assays new to the laboratory suitable for large-scale projects; including multi-plex and user-defined plate methods and employing automated liquid handling systems.
  3. Investigate sample suitability (including performing biomarker stability studies) for different types of assay;
  4. Examine the role of established and novel biomarkers with risks of stroke and IHD, using a nested case-control approach;

The student will work within a multi-disciplinary team and will gain research experience in literature review, study design and planning, epidemiological and statistical methodology, modern laboratory techniques and data analysis. The specific line of investigation will be subject to further discussion and personal research interest. It is expected the study findings will augment other research or instigate novel lines of investigation within CKB.

Field Work, Secondments, Industry Placements and Training

The project will provide a range of training opportunities in modern laboratory methods, statistical analysis and interpretation, and the use of statistical software tools. There will be opportunities to become closely involved in various aspects of laboratory research, or field work in China, depending on the direction and development of the project.

Prospective Candidate

Candidate should have a 2.1 or higher degree in a life science or medical sciences with some laboratory experience. An MSc in epidemiology, statistics or relevant discipline is desirable.

Supervisors

Projects