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Dr Shah-Jalal Sarker
Dr Shah-Jalal Sarker profile picture
  • Honorary Associate Professor
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

Dr Shah-Jalal Sarker is an Associate Professor of Medical Statistics & Epidemiology at the Institute of Neurology. He is an experienced quantitative (Biostatistics and Epidemiology) researcher with professional recognition for teaching statistics to non-statisticians. He works as an Educator, Clinical Trial Statistician, Inter-disciplinary Collaborative Researcher and Statistical Consultant. At UCL Medical School, he worked as an Associate Professor of Medical Education Research at the RDME. He was the Graduate Tutor for Research (GTR) and the admission tutor for PhD students at the UCL Medical School. Before moving to UCL, he was the lead and founding academic statistician of the Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London. Shah-Jalal has also held academic appointments at King’s College London, University of Reading, and Shah-Jalal University of Science & Technology.

Shah-Jalal holds a PhD in Statistics (2002) from the University of Surrey and an MSc in Epidemiology (1998) from the Erasmus University Rotterdam (jointly with the University of Cambridge). His BSc (First Class Honours) and MSc (First Class, 1995) were in Statistics. In 2012, he obtained "Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP)" with Distinction from the University of London and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

He is a reviewer for NIHR program grant for applied research including several international journals (e.g. BMJ open, PLOS One) and member of several reputed international statistical professional societies (e.g. Royal Statistical Society, Statisticians in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Society for Clinical Trials, International Society for Clinical Biostatistics).

Research Summary

Shah-Jalal has extensive experience in leading (design, implementation, analysis, and interpretation) a substantial (>50) portfolio of multicentre cancer trials (a quarter of them are international). Papers resulting from these trials are published in leading medical journals: such as Lamb, Opportune and PAKT trials in Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) (IF 32.956, ranked 1st in the field), and  Panther and MANTA trials in JAMA Oncology (IF=22.4). The significant positive results of the Lamb, Opportune and PAKT trials will have a great impact in the field of oncology as the drugs have moved to phase III trials.

Shah-Jalal’s recent work involves analysis of UKMED data. His recent collaborative research projects in medical education research include `Developing a methodology to assess the consistency of fitness to practise outcomes`, `Evaluating the impact of the RLS Duties of a doctor programme`, and `Understanding career choices in psychiatry`. As a collaborative researcher, he carried out research in a number of inter-disciplinary areas covering the fields of statistical methodology (sample sizing, survival analysis, frailty modelling and missing data methods), cancer, stroke, medical education, psychology, ophthalmology, surgical science and management. His current research focuses on Neurology.

  • He has 61 peer-reviewed publications (59 journal articles & 2 reports, a quarter of which are in the highest-ranking journals in the field) and 75 other peer-reviewed outputs (in total 136 publications).
  • He was involved in £22 million grant funding of which £20 million as the sole trial statistician for cancer clinical trials. He was also involved in grant funding for educational research projects at UCL (utilising UKMED data).
  • He is an invited statistician to a number of national trial committees.
  • His methodological works on smaller sample sizes for phase II cancer trial and sample size for cost-effectiveness trials had influenced the design of the clinical trials and have led to a patent in the statistical software “SCET-VA”.
  • His applied collaborative work (in 2007) on the new UK alcohol licensing law on emergency hospital attendances made a huge impact in the field. This article was cited 45 times within a few weeks and findings were reported in all major newspapers and was invited from TV channels to talk about their findings. Following their article, a number of articles were published supporting his findings. 

Teaching Summary

Statistics is a crucial part of the research. Traditionally, it is taught using mathematical derivations and formulae, which drives away students’ enthusiasm and interest, especially those with non-mathematical backgrounds. Teaching Statistics to distance learning students presents another challenge. To address these issues, Shah-Jalal adopts a totally non-mathematical approach focusing on concepts rather than formulae and successfully use digital innovation for students. He strives to provide research-led, data-driven interactive teaching to non-statistics students via enhanced communication and feedback and set the assessment for critical thinking. His innovative approach has a great impact on enhancing student engagement, enthusiasm, and learning, as evidenced by 100% student ratings for his module and many written testimonies on the quality of his teaching. His digital innovation technique is very popular and has already adopted by other universities including UCL Institute of Neurology.

Shah-Jalal’s major teaching focus was at the post-graduate level. He designed and led several MSc modules including Research Methods, Trial Methodology and Survival Analysis, and Statistics for Surgeons. He also designed professional development short courses for pharma company statisticians. He contributed nationally to the pedagogy of statistics, including organising (bi-annually) and presenting at national teaching conferences as a Treasurer and executive committee member of the Association of Statistics Lecturers in Universities (ASLU).

Shah-Jalal has been recognised for teaching statistics to non-statisticians through several prizes at National Burwalls conferences. He received students voted QMUL Teaching Awards for “Technology Enhanced Learning” in 2015 and “Innovative Teaching” in 2016. He was also shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Award in 2016 for Outstanding Digital Innovation in Teaching.

Shah-Jalal is a supervisor and external examiner for PhD theses in Medical Statistics / Epidemiology (e.g. Monash and Kingston). He mentors junior statistician at the Institute of Neurology (IoN) in designing Research methods & Statistics modules. He teaches MSc Statistics modules and examines the MSc thesis at the IoN. He also leads the statistics section of the IoN grant applications.

01-JUN-2020 Associate Professor of Medical Statistics & Epidemiology (H) UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology UCL, United Kingdom
30-AUG-2018 – 31-MAY-2020 Associate Professor of Medical Education Research Researh Department of Medical Education, UCLMS UCL, United Kingdom
01-OCT-2016 – 29-AUG-2018 Senior Lecturer of Biostatistics Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
20-JAN-2009 – 30-SEP-2016 Lecturer of Biostatistics Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
20-JAN-2005 – 19-JAN-2009 Post-doc Fellow Department of Primary Care and Public Health Sciences King's College London, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2002 – 19-JAN-2005 Research Fellow Medical and Pharmaceutical Statistics Research Unit School of Statistical Sciences, University of Reading, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2012   PGCE. University of London
2002   Doctor of Philosophy University of Surrey
1998   Master of Science Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
1995   Master of Science Dhaka University
1993   Bachelor of Science Dhaka University
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