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Identification of determinants of sudden cardiac death and arrhythmias using population studies

Main Aim: To identify the genetic and clinical determinants and predictors of sudden cardiac death and arrhythmias

Sudden cardiac death is a major cause of deaths from cardiovascular origin. Indeed, up to half of the deaths from cardiovascular diseases are caused by sudden cardiac death. Prediction of sudden cardiac death is crucial in prevention of these deaths. Modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors are recognised for sudden cardiac death. Examples of modifiable risk factors includes hypertension, diabetes, and electrocardiographic abnormalities such as long QT syndrome. Factors such as problems in heart muscle or stenosis of aorta are not modifiable. Identification of novel determinants of sudden cardiac death is one step forward in prediction and possible insight into treatment options.

This PhD project aims to investigate genetic and clinical determinants and predictors of sudden cardiac death using statistical analysis methods. We will use data from the UK Biobank on 500,000 individuals. This project mainly involves data analysis and learning various skills in epidemiology and statistical analysis. Individuals with first degree at 2:1 or above with/without MSc degree or first degree at 2:2 with MSc degree at Merit or above in the fields related to data analysis such as data science, epidemiology, population genetics, statistics, or related disciplines and those who are experienced working with big data are encouraged to apply. You will learn techniques in analysis of data such as regression models, mendelian randomisation, polygenic models, risk prediction or machine learning. The duration of this PhD project is three years, and it will be supervised by Dr Raha Pazoki.

If you are interested to apply for this PhD project or if you prefer a one-year MPhil on a similar topic, please contact Dr Pazoki directly to get advice on the next steps.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)


Raha Pazoki - Raha Pazoki is a Lecturer in Cardiovascular and Metabolic disorders and MRC Rutherford Fund Fellow at Brunel University and Honorary Lecturer at Imperial College, London. She obtained her PhD from University of Amsterdam in 2015 and spent 3 years as Research Associate and Research Fellow at Imperial College, London. She works in the field of health data research. Her research is focused on the large-scale identification of clinical and genetic determinants for complex diseases in relation to behaviour and circulating biomarkers with a focus on cardiovascular diseases. Dr Pazoki is in collaboration with scientists at Imperial College, London, Cambridge University, Erasmus University, Rotterdam and Groningen University in the Netherlands, Million Veteran Programme in the US, and University of Bern in Switzerlands. ============================================================ - PhD projects open to applicants: - If you are a MSc graduates (with upper second class degree or higher) in the fields of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, Data Science and are interested in a PhD project in cardiovascualr and metabolic research, please contact Dr Raha Pazoki (raha.pazoki@brunel.ac.uk). Examples of Dr Pazoki's avaialble projects: Genetic and non-genetic factors involved in risk of cardiovascular diseases Interplay between genetic and environmental factors and risk of cardiovascular disease Identification of determinants of sudden cardiac death using population studies Interplay between lifestyle factors and genetic factors modulating coagulation in risk of myocardial infarction Health data analysis to identify the role of gene and environment in risk of cardiovascular diseases Lifestyle factors, fibrinogen, genetics and risk of myocardial infarction If you have any queries regarding these projects or topics in health data research, please contact the primary PhD supervisor Dr Raha Pazoki. -   -