International Coordinating Centre (Oxford)

Research Staff 

Derrick Bennett, Senior Statistician

scan 20-11-2008 09h11m15s (3).jpgDerrick Bennett joined the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) and Epidemiological Studies Unit at the University of Oxford in 2004. He is currently a Senior Statistician within the Heart Studies Group at CTSU. His work has concentrated on the generation of reliable evidence from large-scale observational epidemiology and randomized trials. His main research interest is the assessment of classical and genetic risk factors for risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Specifically his work includes collaborative analyses of individual participant data from genetic studies of homocysteine and CHD (MTHFR Studies Collaboration), C-Reactive Protein (CRP CHD Studies Collaboration); meta-analyses of randomized trials of the effects B-vitamins for lowering homocysteine on vascular disease, cancer and cognitive function (B-vitamins Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration); large-scale epidemiology such as the assessment of the association of physical activity with prevalent disease in the China Kadoorie Biobank study; genetic analyses in the China Kadoorie Biobank; and large-scale clinical trials including a trial that aims to assess the role of aspirin and omega-3 in 15,000 patients with diabetes but no prior history of vascular disease.  He has also contributed to the estimation of mortality, morbidity, and years of life lost due to stroke as part of the Global Burden of Diseases and Injuries 2010 study, a large-scale international collaborative project.

Ruth Boxhall, Medical Statistician

Ruth Boxall is a Medical Statistician working on the China Kadoorie Biobank Study at the Clinical Trial Service Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, Oxford. After completing a BSc in Biological Sciences with Genetics in 2009 at the University of Edinburgh, she did an MSc by Research in 2010, rotating through the three centres at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine in Edinburgh: MRC Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre and the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine. Ruth remained at the IGMM for a further four years conducting bioinformatics based research into genetic networks and pathways in cognition and neuropsychiatric disorders. As part of the statistical team at the CKB she will be investigating genetic variants as possible causal risk factors in a number of diseases.

Yiping Chen, Senior Research Fellow

Yiping Chen is a senior research fellow at the CTSU, University of Oxford. She qualified in clinical medicine in 1985 at Shanghai Medical University (now Fudan University) and then worked as junior neurologist in University affiliated teaching hospital, Hua-shan hospital in Shanghai. In 1988 she was awarded Sino-British Friendship Scholarship to study in the UK and gained her PhD at University of Oxford in 1993. She joined CTSU in 1998 and has worked as study coordinator and senior research fellow in several CTSU-led large clinical trials such as COMMIT/CCS2, SHARP, HPS2-THRIVE, REVEAL. During 2006-2016 she also plays a leading role in running Oxford-China Fellowship programmes which provides residence training in epidemiology, medical statistics and clinical trials methodology for the clinical doctors, public health workers from China. She is currently leading a multi-disciplinary team in the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) of 0.5 million people, responsible for developing strategies and procedures related to validation of electronically reported clinical events and for conducting disease validation and adjudication in collaboration with clinical specialists in China for CKB. Her main research interests are in the fields of clinical epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases, major depression, and sleeping disorders.

Robert Clarke, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine

Robert Clarke .pngDr Robert Clarke is Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine at CTSU, University of Oxford, and Honorary Consultant in Public Health Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals Trust. He is Scientific Director of the MSc course in Global Health Science. He is an External Examiner in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of Cambridge and University College Dublin and Royal College of Physicians in Ireland.  He qualified in clinical medicine at the National University of Ireland in 1979 and then worked for 5 years in internal medicine and 5 years in Cardiology. He was a Research Fellow in Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA, for 2 years, working on the pharmacology of aspirin and direct thrombin inhibitors. He joined CTSU in 1991 and coordinated several large observational studies and meta-analyses of observational studies and randomized trials. Some of the projects that he coordinated included the Whitehall study, Prospective Studies Collaboration, PROCARDIS, Homocysteine Studies Collaboration, B-Vitamin Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration and BEST-D trial. His work has focussed on the generation of reliable evidence for avoidance of death and disability from cardiovascular diseases using large-scale observational studies and randomised trials. His specific research interests include assessment of the importance of genetic variants and plasma biomarkers for coronary heart disease, stroke and aortic stenosis. His expertise includes use of genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular disease to understand disease mechanisms and define therapeutic targets. He joined the CKB study team to focus on study of the genetic and other blood-based risk factors for stroke, coronary heart disease and other major causes of premature death.  In addition, his work on clinical trials of vitamins and fatty acids has helped to define public health policy on nutrition for disease prevention.

Huaidong Du, Senior Research Fellow

HDong.JPGHuaidong Du obtained her MD degree in 1994 and worked as an ophthalmologist for 8 years in the People’s Hospital of Liaoning Province. In 2009, she finished her MSc and PhD training in Nutritional Epidemiology at Wageningen University, Maastricht University and the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Netherlands. She joined the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), University of Oxford, in January 2010 and has been working on the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) study since then. Her main research focuses on diet, physical activity, adiposity and diabetes. Since 2013, she has been involved in coordinating the currently on-going second resurvey of the CKB, which includes 25,000 participants from 10 study areas in China.


Christiana Kartsonaki, Senior Statistician

Christiana KartsonakiChristiana Kartsonaki is a senior statistician at the Clinical Trial Service and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU) in the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford. She has a degree in Mathematics, an MSc in Applied Statistics and a DPhil in Statistics. She has previously worked in the Department of Oncology of the University of Oxford and at the Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge.



Michael V Holmes, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Medicine

Michael HolmesDr Michael Holmes is a Clinical Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Medicine at CTSU, University of Oxford. He graduated BSc pre-clinical medicine (with 1st class Hons) at University of St. Andrews where his thesis involved running a randomized clinical trial at Ninewells hospital in Dundee. Michael qualified from clinical medicine at University College London in 2005, graduating with distinction, and subsequently worked for 4 years in internal medicine in the UK National Health Service. During this time he held NIHR clinical academic posts including academic foundation year and academic clinical fellowships, which enabled him to strengthen his grounding in clinical research. Michael was awarded an MRC population health scientist fellowship during which he undertook a Masters in Epidemiology at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (graduating with Distinction and class prize for thesis) and completed a PhD in Genetic Epidemiology at University College London. Following his PhD, he was Assistant Professor at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, working on the genetic determinants of clinical outcomes following organ transplantation.

Michael joined CTSU in November 2014 as a senior researcher where he is working with the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) to investigate causal risk factors underlying cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Michael's expertise lies in using genetic variants to disentangle causality from confounding with the aim of improving understanding of disease aetiology and identifying novel therapeutic targets for disease prevention.

Iona Millwood, Research Fellow

Iona Millwood completed an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences and a DPhil in Molecular Genetics. She undertook postdoctoral research at Imperial College on large-scale genetic epidemiological projects including the Northern Finland Birth Cohorts, and spent several years at the University of New South Wales developing clinical trials for biomedical methods of HIV prevention in Australia and South-East Asia. She joined CTSU in 2009, and current research interests focus on the genetic and molecular epidemiology of cardiometabolic diseases, and the health effects of alcohol consumption.


Iain Turnbull, Clinical Research Fellow

Dr Iain Turnbull is a Clinical Research Fellow at the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), University of Oxford. He qualified in clinical medicine at University of Cambridge in 2003 and went on to train in General Medicine in the South West of England and New Zealand until 2007, becoming a Member of the Royal College of Physicians.

Iain completed his training in General Practice in 2009 and worked in a busy surgery in Swindon for 6 years. He joined CTSU in June 2015 and is working with the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB). Since his arrival, he has been engaged in developing a standardisation tool for Chinese health insurance data and procedures for disease classification and adjudication. He continues to work part-time in General Practice.


Robin Walters, Senior Statistical Geneticist

Dr Robin Walters completed degrees in Natural Sciences (Cambridge) and in Genetics (Liverpool) before working for 17 years on the biophysics, biochemistry and genetics of plant photosynthesis, first in Sheffield and then in Oxford. He then held a post as a Research Fellow at Imperial College London, before moving to CTSU in June 2012. Dr Walters’s recent research has focussed on investigating the contribution of structural variation in the human genome to disease risk and phenotypic variation, with a particular focus on diabetes and obesity. He played a leading role in work identifying the highly penetrant obesity phenotype associated with a deletion on chromsome 16p, and the reciprocal effects of a duplication at the same locus. He continues to have an interest in the development of novel methodologies for the identification and analysis of genomic structural variants. His current role is to plan and lead the genetic analysis of stroke risk in the China Kadoorie Biobank.

Ling Yang, Senior Epidemiologist

ling yang.jpgLing Yang qualified in Medicine at South-Eastern University, China, in 1995, then gained her MSc in Bio-statistics in 1998 at the same university, and her PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Tampere in Finland in 2005. Before moving to the University of Oxford in 2007, she worked at the Chinese Academy of Medical Science and Ministry of Health in Beijing (China), WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon (France) and Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden). She is a Senior Epidemiologist at CTSU,University of Oxford, and also leads the Long-term Follow-up Working Group for the CKB. Her main research focuses on women’s reproductive health, environmental causes of chronic diseases, especially cancer, based on big cohort studies, and evidence-based medicine using national survey data to provide strategies for chronic disease prevention and control in developing countries.

Project Staff 

Daniel Avery, Data Analyst

Daniel AveryDaniel Avery is a Data Analyst with the China Kadoorie Biobank at the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), University of Oxford. He graduated with an MSc in Research Methods from the University of Bristol before working for a number of companies in the retail sector performing data management roles. He is responsible for helping develop and manage the CKB database, ensuring the research team and collaborators have access to reliable and high quality data. This includes importing, cleaning and standardising information from sources as diverse as Health Insurance agencies, meteorological stations, urinalysis devices and genetic assays; then integrating it all into an analysis database.

Yu-mei Chang, Project Administrative Coordinator

After completing her training in medical technology at the National Taiwan University Medical College, Yu-mei participated in the coordination of several regional-wide and international research projects while she worked as a licensed MT in Taipei. She was awarded a PhD in Environmental Epidemiology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre in US in 2004. During her graduate study, Yu-mei gained experience in handling/analyzing large datasets; conducting supervised  health service research; and applying geospatial tools and analyses on the impact of environmental factors to health. Yu-mei came to the UK to undertake research in  respiratory health at the University of London. She subsequently joined the China Kadoorie Biobank at the University of Oxford in 2009 as the Research Project Administrative Coordinator. She is involved in the planning and development of different sub-projects, including DNA and genetic research; she also has a responsibility to support and coordinate miscellaneous tasks, such as assessment of certain measurements and procurement of devices.  

Simon Gilbert, Senior IT Developer

Simon GilbertSimon Gilbert is a Senior IT Developer at CTSU. He completed a BSc in Mathematics at London University in 1984 and an MSc in Information Technology at the University of Strathclyde in 1986. More recently he spent a year studying Chinese at Beijing Foreign Language University in 2002 and received an MA in Chinese Studies from Leeds University in 2004. Prior to joining CTSU in 2006, Simon worked for a number of software companies, including eight years with Siemens developing internet security software. After joining CTSU in 2006 he played a major role in developing the IT systems for two large randomised trials, HPS-2 and HPS-3. Simon is currently working on the China Kadoorie Biobank study on a number of bespoke systems related to the resurvey and outcome validation for use on a hand-held portal device.

Alex Hacker, Data Scientist

Alex HackerAlex Hacker is a Data Scientist at the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), University of Oxford. He graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in Mathematical Sciences, and worked in technical support, training and data reporting before joining the China Kadoorie Biobank in 2008. He is responsible for developing and managing the CKB database, ensuring the research team and collaborators have access to reliable and high quality data. This includes importing, cleaning and standardising information from sources as diverse as Health Insurance agencies, meteorological stations, urinalysis devices and genetic assays; then integrating it all into an analysis database. From this he creates and presents preliminary data analyses for colleagues and collaborators. His current focus is on developing and sharing best practice for data management with Data Scientists working on other prospective studies, with an emphasis on preparing and providing data for research.

Michael Hill, Laboratory Scientific Director

Mike HillMike Hill is the Laboratory Scientific Director of the CTSU Wolfson Laboratories. He joined the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) in 2009 from a background in laboratory based research, with particular experience in population-based studies. He manages a team of 30 research and technical staff who provide central laboratory support for clinical trials and observational studies led by CTSU and collaborating groups. He is responsible for senior strategic oversight of the laboratories and ensuring the scientific integrity of the laboratory work. Current research interests and collaborative projects include; establishing an NMR metabolomics facility within CTSU; supporting UK Biobank and China Kadoorie Biobank to undertake biomarker measurements; supporting the University of Oxford and UK Biocentre to establish a new biorepository in the South of England; and supporting the Fuwai Hospital, Beijing to establish a national biocentre in Beijing that stores biological samples collected in the China Kadoorie Biobank.


Becky Stevens, Data Analyst

Becky Stevens is a Data Analyst for the China Kadoorie Biobank at the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU). She graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a BSc (Hons) in Applied Statistics and Environmental Biology before completing a MSc at the University of Southampton in Statistics with Applications in Medicine. Becky began her career working for a contract research organisation and subsequently went on to analyse customer data for a range of industries including the finance and telecommunications sectors. Becky joined China Kadoorie Biobank in June 2016 and is focussed on helping develop and manage the CKB database, ensuring the research team and collaborators have access to reliable and high quality data.

Paul Ryder, Senior Research Facilitator

Paul RyderPaul joined CTSU in May 2014 to work as a research facilitator on the CKB. His main responsibilities are to help manage the planned expansion of the group’s research programme and to promote international collaboration and engagement with the resource. He graduated with a BA (Hons) in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford in 1994 and has 20 years' of project management experience.  He worked with a number of International NGOs on social development and environmental conservation issues before returning to the University of Oxford in 2001. At the Refugee Studies Centre, he managed a large programme grant from the Department for International Development which supported outreach and training initiatives aimed at delivering research-based improvements to humanitarian policy making and practice.  Most recently Paul led the administrative establishment and assisted the strategic development of the George Institute for Global Heath’s UK operations which also form part of the Nuffield Department of Population Health.

Sam Sansome, Senior Data Group Manager

Sam SansomeSam Sansome is the Senior Data Group Manager for the China Kadoorie Biobank at the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), University of Oxford where he is responsible for a team consisting of a Senior Data Scientist and Data Analysts. He graduated from the Open University with a BSc (Hons) in Computing and Statistics. Sam has spent the majority of his career gaining experiencing across all aspects of database management within the financial services sector before joining the China Kadoorie Biobank in early 2013. Sam was the Mainframe Database Manager during one of the largest and most complex Banking IT integrations ever undertaken with a specific focus on delivering an integrated online customer information service and internet banking platform for over 30 million customers.  Sam has taken the opportunity to develop his career within a research environment and to pursue his interest in data from new and heterogeneous sources. Sam is particularly looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that ‘Big Data’ offers to the CKB.

Xiaoming Yang, Senior IT Coordinator

Dr Xiaoming Yang is the Senior IT Coordinator of the CKB group. He completed his B.Eng and M.Eng in Engineering at Tsinghua University (China) in 1983 and 1986 respectively, and his Ph.D in Computer-aided Engineering at Leeds University (UK) in 1998. Before he joined CTSU in 2008, he worked as an IT consultant (on behalf of IBM) for Airbus (UK, Germany) specializing in PDM domains. His interests focus on the application of IT technologies in practice and IT teamwork. In the CKB group, he is responsible for IT coordinating/planning, major IT decisions, daily operational management, critical infrastructure and server security, and mentoring junior members. He is also involved in web application design and development including the CKB website.


Other ICC Project Staff:

Statisticians/Analysts: Peter Ka Hung Chan Jonathan Clarke, Zammy Fairhirst-Hunter, Andri Iona, Pei Kei / Becky Im, Maria Kakkoura, Kuang Lin, Alfred Pozarickij, Saredo Said, Paul Sherliker, Neil Wright, Pang Yao

IT/Data Group: Sushila Burgess. Rene Kerosi, Dan Schmidt, Rajani Sohoni, 

Administration/Support: Hannah Fry, Qunhua Nie, Lin Wang,


DPhil Students

Stephanie Chan

Elizabeth Hamilton

Julie Hechler

Rui Huang

Mohd Karim

Dani Kim

Muriel Levy

Bowen Liu

Sofia Mouchti

Jacqueline Murphy

Valirie Ndip

Lianhan Shang

Mingshu Yan

Anqi Yu