Statistics Group

Group Leader: Professor Jenny Barrett

We specialise in the statistical analysis of genetic, transcriptomic and epidemiological data. We carry out studies of aetiology, prognosis and response to treatment in a number of disease areas, including cancer (particularly melanoma), musculoskeletal and vascular disease.

Research Areas

Our aim is to apply state-of-the-art approaches to study design and statistical analysis and to evaluate and develop new methods as appropriate.

Genetic epidemiology is concerned with identifying genetic factors that influence a person’s risk of developing a particular disease and understanding the contribution such genes make to disease, alone or in combination with environmental risk factors. Our research in this area is primarily focused on population-based studies investigating genetic variants and environmental factors that influence disease susceptibility and prognosis.

We carry out the analysis of genome-wide association studies, and have conducted the largest genome-wide study of melanoma to date, on behalf of the GenoMEL consortium. We are building on this by conducting meta-analyses, fine-mapping of genetic regions harbouring susceptibility regions and epidemiological studies to understand the interplay between genes and environmental exposure. As part of the BioGenoMEL and MELGEN consortia we are also providing statistical input to understand the genetic and non-genetic predictors of melanoma prognosis. 

Pharmacogenetics is the study of genetic predictors of response to treatment, which can be seen as a form of gene-environment interaction. We are involved in the analysis of pharmacogenetic studies of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and are part of the MATURA consortium, a UK initiative aimed at developing stratified medicine in RA.

Other research interests include:

  • Family-based linkage and association studies
  • The identification and validation of biomarkers of outcome or response to treatment
  • Analysis of copy number variation, multi-locus genetic models and gene-environment interaction



We receive funding from Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health Research, the Medical Research Council, Arthritis Research UK, the European Union and the National Institutes of Health (USA).


Both international and domestic PhD students, either self-funded or with a scholarship/fellowship, are welcome to apply for a place in our group. You must be in possession of either an upper second or first class honours degree, from an internationally renowned University. International students must meet requirements for written and spoken English set out by the Graduate School.

Please email with informal enquiries.