How to find treatments during a pandemic

How to find treatments during a pandemic

How to find treatments during a pandemic
Tuesday 28 September 2021, 9.00am to 9.50am BST
Past event
Past event
Tuesday 28 September 2021, 9.00am to 9.50am BST
  • Image of Coronavirus particles in a lab setting
Open to: 
Alumni and guests
Health and medicine

Clinical trials are the gold standard when finding out the potential of a novel treatment. A standard that should not be compromised during a pandemic. Hear from Professor Thomas Jaki at the MRC Biostatistics Unit about how he used trial designs to find out treatment options for COVID-19. 

This will be a live online talk and panel discussion. Dr Pavel Mozgunov and Dr Sofia Villar will join Professor Thomas Jaki on the panel where there will be the opportunity to ask your questions.   

How to find treatments during a pandemic by Dear World, Yours Cambridge


Professor Thomas Jaki

Image of Professor Thomas Jaki

Thomas is a Programme Leader at the MRC Biostatistics Unit, in the Design and Analysis of Randomised Trials theme. Thomas has been Professor of Statistics at University of Lancaster, where he has led several substantial research projects and is head of Medical Statistics. His work has focused on developing and evaluating novel statistical methods for clinical and pre-clinical studies. These methods are adapted for specific applications to ensure they can be used in the pharmaceutical industry and also in public sector research institutions. 

Thomas leads this continuously evolving research theme into a new era, developing new streams of clinical trials tackling current public health challenges, including COVID-19. 

Dr Pavel Mozgunov

Dr Pavel Mozgunov

Pavel is an NIHR Advanced Research Fellow at the MRC Biostatistics Unit, working on the development and implementation of (response-) adaptive designs in clinical trials. Currently, Pavel is working on the following topics: Adaptive Designs, Dose-Finding Trials, Platform Trials, Bayesian Response-Adaptive Designs, and Quantitative Benefit-Risk analysis.

Pavel provide statistical support in a number of trials, including AGILE-ACCORD (, an early phase trial studying novel therapies for COVID-19 treatments.

Dr Sofia Villar

Sofia Villar

Sofia is an MRC Investigator at the MRC Biostatistics Unit, in the clinical trials methodology group, part of the Design and Analysis of Randomised Trials theme.

Sofia’s research aims to improve clinical trial design through the development of innovative methods that lie in the intersection between optimisation, machine learning and statistics. These methods may result in efficiency gains (i.e. smaller or faster trials) but face several practical barriers (e.g. a high computational cost) to be widely adopted. These innovations include patient-centric trials - i.e. those having an explicit goal of assigning more trial participants to superior treatments (e.g. an efficacious vaccine).  Sofia’s proposed work includes four main objectives: 1) developing computationally feasible innovative trial designs, 2) improving analysis methods of optimal, patient-centric adaptive trials (estimation and testing); 3) designing innovative trial designs in response of specific emerging challenges (including using adaptive experiments to enhance and personalise m-health apps) and 4) promoting update and appropriate application of these novel designs in practice.

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Events Team