Meet our academics – Dr Christiana Charalambous
Meet the Department 30th May 2019
In this series of blogs, we chat to the academics you’ll meet, be taught by and work with during your time in the School of Mathematics. In this post, we catch up with Lecturer in Statistics Dr Christiana Charalambous and ask about her research in Statistics.
Please can you describe your research, for the layman, in 10 sentences or less?
I am a statistician, with particular interests in the application of statistics in health. More specifically, I’m interested in developing new statistical models or improving current methods, to analyse outcomes obtained in longitudinal studies, such as e.g. clinical trials. In such studies, patients suffering or at risk from a specific disease are followed-up in time to monitor their progress and
typically, patients are randomized into different treatment groups. Depending on the study, different types of outcomes are collected for these patients, such as blood pressure, PSA level, CD4 cell counts, depression indicator (longitudinal outcomes) and time to development/recurrence of disease, death, dropout (survival outcomes). The main aim of these studies is to assess treatment
efficacy, but other interesting questions are how the longitudinal outcome might be related to the survival outcome or whether the survival endpoint, which may be lengthy to ascertain, can be replaced by short-term, longitudinal measurements, to assess treatment efficacy. Jointly modelling the longitudinal and survival processes can give insight into these questions and developments in this area can give improvements in estimation accuracy and future predictions (accurately predicting the survival endpoint). Other aspects of analysing longitudinal studies which interest me involve estimating the different types of variation in the data e.g. within and between patient variability, selecting which information from the data is relevant in building a good model and dealing with missing data.
How did you begin your academic career in Statistics?
Just before finishing my PhD, a temporary lectureship opened up in the school and I was encouraged by my supervisor to apply for it. I was lucky enough to get the job, which then lead to a permanent position and seven years later, I’m still here!
What’s been your favourite aspect of the job so far?
I like the variety that comes with the job, so it’s hard to pick just one. I enjoy engaging with students in my various roles as teacher, adviser, mentor, admissions tutor or just someone to have a chat with! But I also find it exciting doing research, especially when I have a breakthrough or realise the impact of my work. Even administrative work, such as committee work and event organising can be rewarding.
What do you most enjoy about working here at The University of Manchester?
As an alumna of the University of Manchester, I have a special connection with this place, and it is so rewarding working alongside some of my former lecturers and mentors. The School of Maths offers a great environment to work in and there are so many opportunities for both intra- and interdisciplinary collaboration, particularly now that the university has joined the Alan Turing Institute. Also, the university has a long standing tradition of excellence in teaching and research, and it feels good to contribute to that!
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
When I’m not working I like to spend time with my husband and 3 year old son. We like travelling and sightseeing, so we usually take a couple of holiday breaks a year, but we also do day trips to quaint little villages or scenic drives in the British countryside. I think it’s important to expose children to different experiences, so for a bit of culture we would go to a museum or the theatre and for a bit of fun, a walk in the park or a trip to the zoo.
We’ll have a new academic interview for you on the blog soon.