28 Apr 2022

Meet Sarah Kirk


Meet Sarah Kirk, a Statistician at Roche. Get to know her and her career below…

Education background?

Sarah started her journey to becoming a statistician by doing an undergraduate degree in maths and statistics. Sarah explained that to get into medical statistics, a masters/PhD is required.

What does Sarah do?

On a day to day basis, Sarah works with doctors to figure out the areas of unmet medical need and which drugs/molecules can potentially be the solution, working at various times throughout the clinical trial process.
Before a clinical trial begins, she is involved in the design, working with the study team to figure out what questions need to be answered by the trial. Following this, the questions are prioritised and statistical tests are determined to help answer those questions. This guides what data needs to be collected.

Sarah also plans how to analyse the data from the trial, using tables and graphs. After the trial, the information collected will either be sent to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It is incredibly important to get the appropriate information back to the patients and doctors as this helps with medical journals and future studies.

Discover more Maths role models on the Stemettes Zine >> 

Example – Oncology

To discuss this further, we spoke to Sarah about a specific example, this time regarding oncology (cancer). The questions asked may be:

What can we measure in patients to determine if the treatment is effective?
Does the patient live longer?

As a statistician, Sarah may explore whether survival time increases when the patient is on the medicine, compared to where the patient is not. Patients could be assessed at different time points to determine their state of health, and what may be affecting this.

What do you wish you knew at school?

Sarah wishes she would have tried more to find out about what jobs are available and how her studies could link to a career. She identified that there is in fact a large leap between school and careers.

This article was written by Leila Adlam from Roche.

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