Brian Willis


Accepting PhD Students

1996 …2023

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Personal profile


After studying Mathematics at Bristol, Brian, with some interest in the medical sciences, read for a Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering. A short venture into the financial sector persuaded him to pursue an alternative career in medicine where he qualified as a doctor.

Following his house officer year he joined the Public Health department in Birmingham where he was the main researcher on an NHS HTA project which reviewed the field of automated cervical screening. It was during these 18 months that he developed an interest in diagnostic research. 

In 2002 he returned to the frontline of the NHS to work at the John Radcliffe in Oxford in Emergency medicine This was followed by rotations in General medicine and General Practice during which, he completed membership examinations for both the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of General Practitioners. 

In 2008 he was awarded an MRC fellowship which he took up at the University of Manchester and led to his PhD in Medical Statistics. Broadly, his thesis explored meta-analysis methods used in diagnostic research and tackled the problems of applying diagnostic research to different clinical settings.

He joined the Primary Care department in January 2012 as an NIHR Clinical Lecturer where he has extended his work into diagnostic test methodological research. Based on this research, in 2015 he received the Thomas Chalmers award for the best paper at the internationally renowned Cochrane Colloquium and in 2016 he was awarded a prestigious MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship being one of only a few GPs to have ever achieved such an award.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Medical Statistics, University of Manchester


Award Date: 20 Nov 2019

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Medicine


Award Date: 30 Jun 1999

Master in Science, Biomedical Engineering, University of Dundee


Award Date: 30 Sept 1990

Bachelor of Science, Mathematics, University of Bristol


Award Date: 30 Jun 1989


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