Matthews Fiona

A statistician by training I am currently part time Professor of Epidemiology, Institute for Health and Society, Newcastle University, and part time as a Programme Leader at the MRC Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge.

Research interests include longitudinal data analysis, including joint survival models, discrete outcomes analysis and missing data modelling, study design issues for complex cohort designs, and estimating the health of the population through healthy active life expectancy and general population prediction models.

I am particularly interested in using modern statistical methods to investigate ageing, healthy life expectancy and autism using population based epidemiological studies.  I am the Principal Statistician and deputy director on the Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies (www.cfas.ac.uk).

Understanding the changes associated with ageing is vital now that there is increased longevity within the population. Investigating these raises interesting statistical challenges in terms of population representation, pathological versus ‘normal’ ageing, missing data due to drop out and death, and measurement within the ageing community. We investigate these challenges using a combination of epidemiological investigations together with implementing and developing appropriate statistical methodology. We have provided appropriate methodology to understand the changes associated with cognition in older age.

Ageing is essentially a longitudinal process that shows a lot of variability between individuals and our statistical models both investigate the longitudinal change and the reasons behind the individual variability. These models are then used for developing public health models and influencing policy.