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Welcome to the world of clinical trials. I think it’s great that you want to find new treatments that will improve human health. And let’s be honest, if you are a clinician, the career boost is nice as well. But I have some bad news for you. Are you ready?


“Individuals engaging in ad hominem attacks in scientific discourse should be subject to censure.” From Issues with data and analyses: Errors, underlying themes, and potential solutions. Andrew W. Brown, Kathryn A. Kaiser, and David B. Allison. PNAS March 13, 2018. 115 (11) 2563-2570; published ahead of print March 12, 2018. That is a remarkable suggestion.


I was greeted today with the news that there are 5, not 2, types of diabetes. This is earth-shattering if you are a diabetologist or diabetes researcher. However, I soon as I saw the term “data-driven clustering” I knew I could probably relax. For the uninitiated, data-driven clustering techniques can seem magical. The basic premise is that you take a sample, measure lots of things about them, and then feed all those data into an algorithm that will divide your sample into mutually exclusive groups.


I have been blogging and using Twitter as a scientist since 2010. By that point it was pretty obvious that internet was radically changing how scientists could engage with the public and each other, and thus science blogging had become quite popular. Like a lot of people, I wanted to write about how studies from my areas of expertise were reported in the media, and my first substantial blog post was about a large epidemiological study of homebirths in the UK. Twitter was a natural companion to blogging, since you could use it to share what you were writing. Eight years later I still blog and tweet. From time to time this comes up in conversation with colleagues, and they often ask if I really think it’s worth my time.


I am happy to announce that in the new year we will be running a series of workshops for Cork Citizen Scientists. In contrast to the small series of lectures we ran this year, the new workshops will be completely focused on supporting local citizen scientists in their efforts to answer real questions with real data.


Recent Publications

  • Associations of linear growth and relative weight gain during early life with adult health and human capital in countries of low and middle income: findings from five birth cohort studies


  • A structural equation model of the developmental origins of blood pressure

    Details PDF


  • Western Gateway Building 4.23
  • Email for appointments