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Heather O'Connor

Medical Statistician

Clinical trial statistician with infectious disease surveillance and control background

I joined the Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit (OCTRU) within the Centre for Statistics in Medicine (CSM) in February 2018 to work on clinical trials of various stages. My role focuses on providing statistical input into the design, conduct, analysis, and presentation of clinical research projects.

With a background in collaborative and mixed-methods research, I am passionate about applying my statistical skills in a useful and meaningful way, making sense of the complex, and transferring knowledge from evidence-based research to all those it may affect. I am particularly passionate about science with impact, working to integrate findings from robust research into advice, guidelines, and policy.

My research work before joining CSM was predominantly on the surveillance and control of infectious diseases in livestock. I used a variety of statistical methods to understand bovine tuberculosis and food-borne zoonoses in animal populations. I also designed and conducted qualitative research in relation to behaviours surrounding wider disease prevention.

In 2011, I achieved an MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology from the Royal Veterinary College, taught in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. During my MSc, I researched direct and indirect contacts between cattle and badgers naturally infected with tuberculosis. The data for this project was collected using automated proximity loggers which recorded real-time contact between animals as well as with badger latrines, in an area of south-west England. Using a Cox’s Proportional Hazards Model, I investigated associations between animal characteristics on both the type and frequency of contacts taking place across one year.