cardiovascular epidemiology profile

Q&A with Connor Emdin

Connor Emdin is a DPhil student at The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford. Although he completed his undergraduate degree in biochemistry, he has transitioned to cardiovascular epidemiology research for his DPhil.

What is your job and what does it involve?

As a DPhil student, my job is to conduct epidemiology/health services research under the supervision of my primary supervisor (Dr Kazem Rahimi) and co-supervisors (Professor Mark Woodward and Professor Stephen MacMahon).

I spend part of my time taking online courses in biostatistics/epidemiology to provide me with a foundation for my research. Most of my time, however, is spent conducting epidemiology research, which involves reading papers, writing code and thinking of hypotheses to test.

How long have you been working at The George Institute and what attracted you to working here?

Although I initially came to Oxford to complete a Master in Public Policy, I realized that the course wasn’t for me halfway through the year. I had enjoyed conducting public health research in undergrad, so switching into a DPhil in Population Health was a natural choice. I’ve been working on my DPhil at The George since February (about five months).

There were two factors that led me to choose to complete my DPhil with The George Institute specifically. First, The George Institute is dedicated to improving the health of underserved populations, a purpose that I strongly agree with it.

Second, all three of my supervisors are strong epidemiological/health services researchers and I knew that training under them would allow me to finish my DPhil as a much better researcher than when I entered.

What are your research and/or professional interests?

My research interests are focused on cardiovascular epidemiology, particularly hypertension. For my DPhil, I am working on the third cycle of the Blood Pressure Lowering Treatment Trialists Collaboration, which is attempting to clarify the safety of blood pressure lowering and its effect on less common outcomes.

I am also undertaking analysis of large routinely collected electronic datasets to determine the association between various measures of blood pressure and risk of events.

What inspires you in the work you do?

I am lucky in that what I really enjoy doing - conducting epidemiology research - is also an activity that can improve the health of populations, if undertaken in the right way.

I am able to combine something that I find fascinating with something that I also think is important. In addition to working, I also enjoy long distance running, which helps me unwind.