Brian Willis

Colleges, School and Institutes


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.

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Manchester

    Medical Statistics

    2008 - 2011
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery


    1994 - 1999
  • Master in Science, University of Dundee

    Biomedical Engineering

    1989 - 1990
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Bristol


    1986 - 1989

Professional Qualifications

  • Member of Royal College of General Practitioners, MRCGP

  • Diploma of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, DRCOG

  • Member of Royal College of Physicians, MRCP(UK)


Willingness to take PhD students


Sustainable Development Goals