Despite being based at the University of Manchester, Tianxiao thesis project centres on data from Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOSH) and is supported by academics from UCL.
This is in keeping with the HDRUK-Turing Wellcome PhD programme’s aim to create UK-wide research collaborations.
During her Foundation Year Tianxiao had the opportunity to hold discussions with programme staff and with GOSH (her co-sponsors) to design a research project that would develop her skills and make a clear contribution to healthcare.
She says: “My current research is about putting similar patients into sub groups that correspond to their disease trajectory. In the coming years I will focus on removing the effect of treatment in disease course.”
The aim is to identify how the disease would have progressed without treatment and use the insights to try to design better approaches to care and treatment.
It’s a potentially important piece of work because there are few clinical trials being carried out for the groups of children Tianxiao will be studying, which limits the opportunities for progress.
She says: “What we want to do is to utilise the large amount of observational data to complement the lack of clinical trials in paediatric patients with cardiomyopathy using causal inference.”
The programme’s immersion events are something she has found hugely valuable for her understanding of health data research.
She says: “What inspires me is the immersion mix. We have attended some events in-person this year which is quite exciting. We visited Astrazeneca who have given us a lot of presentations about their current work using health data science, which I think inspires us a lot and also inspires me about future career.”
Looking to the future Tianxiao may opt for a career in a research institute or in industry.
A University of Manchester graduate with a background in mathematics and statistics, Tianxiao went on to study Statistical Science for her Master’s at Oxford.
During her PhD foundation year Tianxiao developed an interest in causal inference and clinical prediction models for improving clinical decision support system.
Her hobbies include photography, travel and baking.