Author Archives: Lucy O'Neill

Lecturer or Senior Lecturer in Health, Medical or Bio Informatics

Lecturer or Senior Lecturer in Health, Medical or Bio Informatics

Reference: THW/17/059639/001049

Contract Type: Temporary/Fixed term

Contract Term: Full time

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer in Health, Medical or Bio Informatics with Professor Richard Dobson’s research group in the Department of Biostatistics & Health Informatics.

The post-holder will develop a portfolio of health-related informatics research which sits within, and benefits from, the leading programme of clinical, health and bioinformatics at the Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (SLaM BRC), and the Centre for Translational Informatics ( with access to linked EHRs, BioResource, mHealth (smartphones and wearables) and imaging datasets. The candidate will have the freedom to specialise in their own area of interest, whether that is bioinformatics using linked data from the BioResource, NLP of the EHR (e.g. learning patient similarity through embeddings), literature and social media, or high resolution real-time streaming analytics using data derived from wearable devices. Ideally the candidate would have interests across multiple data modalities with a background in relevant machine and deep learning as the ultimate aim is to integrate data for better patient care. The very best from the United Kingdom and across the globe are invited to join King’s & we are looking for a strong commitment to teaching, to push the boundaries of knowledge, influence the future and create a lasting impact.

Lecturer Grade 7: £40,523-£48,327 per annum plus £2,623 London Weighting Allowance per annum / Senior Lecturer Grade 8: £49,772 – £57,674 per annum plus £2,623 London Weighting Allowance per annum

This post will be fixed term for 4 years.

The selection process will include competency based questions, a presentation, and a panel interview.
Interviews are scheduled to be held in September.

For an informal discussion to find out more about the role please contact Richard Dobson,

To apply for this post, you will need to register with the HireWire system first to download and submit the application form.  Please note, should you wish to submit a CV and/or a short statement, you will need to copy & paste these at the end of the application form as the system will only allow one document to be uploaded.


Closing date: 20 August 2017



RADAR Platform Software Developer

RADAR Platform Software Developer

Reference: THW/17/059639/000977
Salary Details: £40,523 to £48,327 per annum
Allowances: plus £2,623 London Allowance
Contract Type: Temporary/Fixed term
Contract Term: Full time

An exciting new opportunity to be one of the lead developers of the EU RADAR-CNS project (,Remote Assessment of Disease and Relapse – Central Nervous System (RADAR-CNS) is an innovative and collaborative research programme that is exploring the potential of wearable devices to help prevent, and treat, depression, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. You will be working on passive and active monitoring of Android applications to add new functionality and maintain existing code.

The role will entail:

● Carrying out end-to-end development, deployment and maintenance of the wearable and mobile phone data harvesting platform
● Investigating & developing standards such as (OneM2M, Open mHealth, FIHR)
● Assisting in evaluation and benchmarking of reference set of wearable devices, phone sensors and apps to measure core data classes (eg. Sleep architecture, Physical Activity, Speech, Cognition, Social Connectivity, Memory)
● Developing and improving server-side infrastructure that enable:
1) Data Ingestion from user devices and external services
2) Data Quality Assurance features to provide alerts and reports about the successful transmission of sensor and trial data
3) Database storage for sensor data
4) An integration API layer to allow for interfacing with the data store (eg. Transmart, EMRs, and “build your own interfaces” that other work packages may want to construct)
● Extending functionality on the platform management interface and dashboards (Ionic Framework)

This is a fixed term post for 3 years.

The selection process will include competency based questions, a presentation, and a panel interview.

Interviews are scheduled to be held in August.

To apply for this post, you will need to register with the HireWire system first to download and submit the application form.  Please note, should you wish to submit a CV and/or a short statement, you will need to copy & paste these at the end of the application form as the system will only allow one document to be uploaded.

Closing date: 09 August 2017

If you have questions about this role, please contact: Amos Folarin, Email:,



Senior Research Fellow

Senior Research Fellow

University College London – Institute of Health Informatics – Clinical Epidemiology

The post will be embedded within the Precision Health Informatics Data Lab (, a pan-London lab that sits across the Farr Institute, UCL and King’s College London. Key to the mission of the group is to generate excellent research in health informatics, but to also deliver novel data driven interventions and tooling into the NHS. This role will play a key role in delivery of a number of these projects, including CogStack, an information retrieval and extraction platform ( It implements best-of-breed enterprise search, natural language processing, analytics and visualisation technologies to unlock the health record and assist in clinical decision making and research. Additional projects include the EU H2020 KConnect project where we are overlaying semantic annotation and search capability supporting, for example, recruitment of patients into the 100k Genomics England project through HPO term annotation.

So far, over 9 million free text documents and over 250 million diagnostic results and reports have been processed within CogStack within one hospital alone.

We are currently working with three NHS Foundation Trusts (South London and Maudsley, King’s College Hospital, and University College London Hospitals) with others lined up, to implement this platform, resulting in lasting improvements to recruitment, business intelligence, and research capabilities.

The primary focus of the role is to develop and manage enterprise software projects in the clinical and bioinformatics domains; subscribe to and develop good programming practices, such as Agile (scrum), Continuous Integration, Extreme Programming, Pair Programming, and Test Driven Development; attend and contribute to requirements gathering meetings with senior executives from within UCL and the NHS; train other staff to develop and maintain software projects. This post is funded until 31 January 2020 in the first instance.

Relevant Masters degree (biological science, statistics, computer science, bioinformatics, or equivalent) or demonstrable significant relevant experience. J2EE and extensive experience with the Spring Enterprise framework. Significant Natural Language Processing (NLP) skillset. Knowledge of Python or R and excellent knowledge of Java. Good understanding of machine learning methods.

A job description and person specification can be accessed via the link at the bottom of our page.

UCL vacancy reference: 1651551

Applicants should apply online. To access further details about the position and how to apply please click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

Interested candidates are welcome to contact Professor Richard Dobson ( for an informal discussion.

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact Dr Wing-Chau Tung (

Closing Date: 6 August 2017.

Latest time for the submission of applications: 23:59.

Interview Date: TBC.


Smartphones and wearable devices could revolutionise medical care for people with brain disorders

CachedImage.axdNew collaborative research programme will explore potential of wearable devices to help prevent and treat depression, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy

A major new research programme supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) launches today [26 April], which will develop new ways of monitoring major depressive disorder, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis using wearable devices and smartphone technology.

The RADAR-CNS (Remote assessment of disease and relapse – Central Nervous System) programme aims to improve patients’ symptoms and quality of life and also to change how these and other chronic disorders are treated.

Continuous remote assessment using smartphones and wearable devices provides a complete picture of a patient’s condition at a level of detail which was previously unachievable. Moreover, it could potentially allow treatment to begin before a patient’s health deteriorates, preventing the patient relapsing or becoming more ill before they seek treatment.

RADAR-CNS is jointly led by King’s College London and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (a Public Private Partnership established between the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the European Union) and includes 24 organisations from across Europe and the US. The programme brings together experts from diverse fields including clinical research, engineering, computer science, information technology, data analytics and health services.

Epilepsy, depression, and multiple sclerosis are distinct disorders, with different causes and symptoms, all of which can be severely detrimental to patients’ quality of life and life expectancy. For all three disorders, patients often experience periods where their symptoms are manageable, followed by periods of deterioration and acute illness (relapse). Patient surveys have repeatedly highlighted the need to predict when relapses will happen and to improve the treatments which are available to stop them from occurring.

According to co-lead of the RADAR-CNS programme Professor Matthew Hotopf, Director of the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre in London, UK, “In recent years, the quality and quantity of data that we can collect using wearable devices and smartphones has exploded. It may be that this sort of data can improve clinical care simply by providing more accurate information. Better still, it may be possible to spot when a patient is getting into trouble before their clinic visit.”

“For example, in depression, someone’s behaviour may change even before they have noticed they are struggling – their sleep may get worse, or they may stop doing so much in the weeks leading up to a relapse. RADAR-CNS will exploit the huge potential of wearable monitoring technologies to improve the lives of the millions of people worldwide with chronic illnesses like epilepsy, depression and multiple sclerosis.”

Patients will be involved in RADAR-CNS from the start, helping to identify the most important symptoms to target. They will also advise researchers on how best to implement remote measurement technologies in a way that is acceptable and engaging to patients, including accounting for privacy and security.

Wherever possible, RADAR-CNS will use inexpensive and widely available technology, so that the end results can be made available to as many patients as possible. The research will also be developed in a way that allows the results to be transferred to other diseases, potentially allowing the benefits of remote measurement technologies to become pervasive in medicine, and transforming the way we think about prevention and cure.

According to co-lead of the RADAR-CNS programme Vaibhav Narayan, PhD, Head of Integrated Solutions and Informatics, Neuroscience, Janssen Research & Development, LLC, an affiliate of Janssen Pharmaceutica, “Our goal is to improve clinical care and outcomes by using data generated by patients as they go about their daily lives to predict and pre-empt relapses and improve their quality of life. Such ‘predictive medicine’ solutions will be backed by scientific evidence and will meet regulatory standards. At the same time, the privacy and security of patients and their care-givers will be fully protected.”


Despite potential benefits, big data faces resistance in healthcare

Science Business article on big data in health quotes Dr Richard Dobson:

Big data has the potential to transform the operation of Europe’s healthcare systems, radically improving treatments, underpinning public health initiatives and making constrained budgets stretch further.

But as ever, the pace of technical development is ahead of societal acceptance, and the ability to adopt and reap the benefits of big data is currently constrained by the inherent conservatism of health services.

To take one case in point, there are concerns that the advanced monitoring capabilities implicit in big data would mean health insurance could become a mirror image of motor insurance. People with no ‘health claims’ would pay lower premiums than those who are accident –prone or suffer from a chronic disease.

“We have a strong tradition of social welfare here in Europe. But with this new focus on health data, money and power is going to be re-allocated,” said Bart De Moor, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at KU Leuven, speaking at the recent Science|Business conference on Big Data in Health.

“Suddenly we’re demanding a change of the whole system,” De Moor said. “With change, comes resistance; social disruption always follows tech disruption.”

Physicians too, have concerns about the level of oversight that is enabled by big data techniques. In the same way as it becomes possible to better monitor patients, it is also possible to more closely track the performance of healthcare staff. “You can use big data to evaluate the work of nurses for instance,” said De Moor.

In parallel with concerns about these ‘big brother’ aspects, many in the healthcare profession lack the resources to adopt big data technologies, said Richard Dobson, head of bioinformatics at King’s College London. Even though it is recognised big data can provide more insight into specific diseases, doctors lack the time or capacity to apply it. “I’ve been trying to put small innovations in computers into hospitals for five years,” Dobson said.

One or more of these reasons are holding back the development of the market and many innovators are finding it hard to sell to hospitals, according to Irene Lopez de Vallejo, director of R&D at the UK’s Digital Catapult centre, which is responsible for helping companies to commercialise big data innovations.

“You’re a small business with good ideas,” but there are so many administrative hoops to jump through that it is practically impossible to persuade hospitals to change, she said.

Concerns may be overblown

The potential benefits are so great that these teething problems will be overcome, believes Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, Director of health within the European Commission’s directorate for Research and Innovation. Once that happens there will be widespread adoption, Draghia-Akli said, adding, “Big data means better data.”

Wearable devices and smart phone health apps, such as pedometers, heart rate monitors or calorie intake counters, will empower people to look after their own health and manage long-term conditions.

Exploiting such advances is a necessity, given the economic pressures facing healthcare. “We can use big data to help prevention at a time when a lot of Europe’s healthcare systems are approaching bankruptcy,” Draghia-Akli said.

Xavier Prats Monné, the Commission’s Director-General for Health and Food Safety agreed. “There’s a lot of handwringing about big data and what it means for privacy,” he said. “But more than ever, we need greater capacities [for our] health systems.”

Reports sometimes over-estimate the mistrust of big data among Europeans, Prats Monné, suggested, saying, “I don’t recall ever seeing a headline in Spain presenting data privacy as a major concern of citizens.” Rather, he said, “Big data provides the drive for greater transparency.”

In Europe, companies and health care systems must comply with European law covering the secure storage and transfer of electronic data. Compared to the US, patients in Europe are given more control over what personal information is collected.

The recently strengthened EU data protection rules set down further precautions. This should, “give greater reassurance to the public”, said German MEP, Axel Voss.

On top of that, registries are filled with health data “bound by national laws. Patients sign a consent form so they know what their data will be used for,” said Robert Hyde, senior director of global medical affairs at Biogen.
Sharing digital health records a good thing

The pooling of medical records has already demonstrated its value in the field of rare diseases, and has the power to inform the development of new treatments and public health interventions in common diseases too.

As one example, Draghia-Akli cited the number of pooled databases and shared information sources that are being developed and deployed in the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). In one IMI project, Newmeds, nine pharma companies have pooled data from clinical trials involving 35,000 schizophrenia patients.

“It makes sense to share like this,” Draghia-Akli said. “Based on the knowledge gained, the project was able to convince regulators that clinical trials could be shorter and include fewer patients.”

This sharing message needs to go further, said De Moor, calling for a greater effort from technologists and healthcare workers to broadcast the benefits of new data technologies. “You have to show with case studies that healthcare really can be improved with big data,” he said. “It might be more difficult, and take longer, but it’s the only way to get the population onside.”