My Experiences as a Research Methods Intern at ICTU
I’m Ellie, a second year undergraduate reading mathematics at Oxford University and I’m 4 weeks into my summer internship with Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (ICTU). I’ve realised the importance of statistics during my studies and find the applications of mathematics and statistics in healthcare particularly interesting, which is what lead me to apply for this opportunity.
My project for this summer has been researching methods for analysis of adverse events in randomised control trials (RCTs). We have anonymised data from historical RCTs and are conducting a variety of regression analyses on adverse event outcomes and comparing these to results in the original publication
To get to a point where I can work on this project has been a steep learning curve! Linear regression was the only regression I knew, so a crash course in Generalized Linear Models (GLMs) and their applications to medical statistics was needed, as well some time to familiarise myself with Stata. Luckily the rest of the stats team are experts on this and have been so helpful in bringing me up to speed!
In the day to day, the majority of my time is spent on Stata. From cleaning and managing datasets, to then performing analyses and extracting results to analyse, I’m always finding new Stata tips and tricks from colleagues and the web! I’ve also been attending the research team meetings, it’s been really exciting to hear about the upcoming projects and the aims of the other members of the team. I’ve also really enjoyed reading academic reports, on both clinical trials and the statistical methods of clinical trials, it’s been really insightful to be able to discuss these articles with academics.
For the next 4 weeks I’ll be continuing the regression analyses in Stata and writing up my findings on what methods are best for analysing adverse events. It's been a really valuable insight into the world of statistical research, before starting this the thought of a career in research seemed quite daunting, but it’s been shown to be hugely interesting, varied, and challenging!