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Marion Mafham

Oxford BHF CRE Senior Clinical Transition Fellow

  • Start Date: 01/06/2021
  • End Date: 31/05/2023
  • BHF CRE Mentor: Professor Sir Rory Collins

Research project title: Data-enabled cardiovascular trials: Development of methods for large streamlined trials using routine healthcare data

Research summary:

My research project will develop and assess new methods to identify cardiovascular outcomes for clinical trials from routinely-collected healthcare data.

Currently, most trials rely on laborious data collection processes in which information is provided to the research team by trial participants, entered into research questionnaires and then checked by the trial team against the medical records. This is expensive and time-consuming for both research staff and trial participants. As a result trials are often too small or too short to produce the best results.

National routinely collected healthcare datas held by organizations such as NHS Digital can be used to collect outcome information about trial participants but uncertainties remain about the accuracy of these methods for identifying relevant cardiovascular outcomes, such as strokes and heart attacks. In addition, the use of these data to assess the safety of new medicines has not been assessed. My research will use existing trial datasets to develop algorithms to identify relevant outcomes and assess their performance against the traditional methods.

This research will enable routinely-collected healthcare data to be accepted by funders and researchers, improving the quality of cardiovascular trials and reducing the burden on trial participants.


Randomized trials are essential to reliably assess the effects of treatments but have become so costly and complex that many important research questions go unanswered and promising new drugs are not developed because of the costs involved. I have worked for several years within CTSU, a world-renowned clinical trials unit at the University of Oxford, on improving health through large-scale randomized trials and developing new streamlined methods to make such studies possible within CTSU. This fellowship will establish me to develop new, robust methods to conduct clinical trials more efficiently and enable those methods to be accepted by regulators and funders.

My long-term plans are to become a leading cardiovascular clinical trialist, generating reliable evidence on the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. The research supported by this fellowship will drive adoption of new trial methods enabling highly streamlined, cost-effective, high-quality randomized trials.

Undergraduate Degrees/Training:

MBChB Edinburgh