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Timothy Pickles   BSc, MSc

Mr Timothy Pickles

(he/him)

BSc, MSc

Research Fellow in Statistics

School of Medicine

Email
PicklesTE@cardiff.ac.uk
Campuses
Neuadd Meirionnydd, Room Room 510, 5th floor, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YS
Comment
Media commentator

Overview

Research Themes

I work in the Centre for Trials Research (CTR) at Cardiff University as a Research Fellow in Statistics. I was granted a Health and Care Research Wales NIHR Doctoral Fellowship in 2019 and am working on psychometrics, patient reported outcome measures (PROMs), Rasch measurement theory and computer adaptive test in the field of Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity. I was supervised by Professor Ernest Choy (Cardiff University), Dr Mike Horton (University of Leeds), Dr Karl Bang Christensen (University of Copenhagen), Dr Rhiannon Phillips (Cardiff Metropolitan University) and Dr David Gillespie (Cardiff University).

I have been granted a Health and Care Research Wales Next Steps Award to continue the research from my PhD.

I have previously held posts in the Cardiff Regional Experimental Arthritis Treatment and Evaluation (CREATE) Centre and had a secondment in the School of Dentistry, which as well as research, involved teaching statistics and SPSS to BDS students, and providing statistical support to MOrth and PhD students.

Until 2019, my work in CTR principally involved being the statistician on multiple and differing clinical trials, across many varied disciplines. I have developed an interest in diabetes, urinary tract infections, rheumatology and skin conditions, as well as dental caries from my previous work in the School of Dentistry. The interventions I have focussed on are behaviour change counselling, shared decision making tools and devices/aids for appropriate antibiotic prescribing.

In my role within the CREATE centre, I was researching the use of early phase clinical trial methodology in the field of rheumatology. I had already begun looking into techniques to explore the psychometric properties of various Quality of Life Instruments, and I was fortunate to spend my MSc dissertation learning about, and undertaking, Rasch analyses, which is a continuing research theme.

I have also undertaken meta-analyses and epidemiological research, and advised PhD students and relevant staff members. I am the statistical lead for CTR Standard Operating Procedures.

Following a succesful application, I joined the 2019 cohort of the GW4 Crucible on Digital Innovation and received seedcorn funding for the GW4-PATH study.

I hold a BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences from the University of Bath and a MSc (distinction) in Operational Research and Appiled Statistics from Cardiff University.

Further links:

SOCRATES study: https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/centre-for-trials-research/research/studies-and-trials/view/socrates

CTR Blogs: https://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/centre-for-trials-research/author/wpptep/

GW4-PATH: https://gw4.ac.uk/gw4-crucible-seed-projects-2019/ 

GW4 blog: https://gw4.ac.uk/experience-of-gw4-crucible-from-trepidation-to-triumph/ 

publons: https://publons.com/author/1193132/timothy-pickles#profile

Publication

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Articles

Conferences

Research

I have completed a Health and Care Research Wales NIHR Doctoral Fellowship and PhD focussed on psychometrics, patient reported outcome measures (PROMs), Rasch measurement theory and computer adaptive test in the field of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a common chronic inflammatory arthritis characterised by fluctuating symptom severity and recurrent flares, requiring ongoing monitoring and subsequent treatment adjustments over time. Disease activity (DA) monitoring is a standard of care in RA. The current DA assessments require laboratory tests and/or health care professional (HCP) input. Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs), which are tools completed by patients to ascertain perceptions of their health, may therefore be preferable. However, there is no consensus on how to measure RA DA using a PROM.

Disease activity (DA) monitoring is a standard of care in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The current DA assessments require laboratory tests and/or health care professional input. Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) may therefore be preferable. However, there is no consensus on how to measure RA DA using a PROM.

I aimed to assess the measurement properties of legacy RA DA PROMs and other relevant PROMs, and begin developing a new RA DA PROM.

I employed multiple methods including a systematic review following COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) guidelines, quantitative analyses of data on legacy PROMs collected in a cross-sectional study of people with RA (pwRA) across four South Wales University Health Boards, thematic and content analyses of cognitive interviews with pwRA and the development of a computer adaptive test.

I found that no legacy RA DA PROMs can be recommended for future use and no legacy PROMs could fully evidence fit to the Rasch measurement theory model. I showed that the Patient global domain is two distinct domains of Disease activity and General health. 12 items across the domains of Pain, Disease activity, Tenderness and swelling, Physical functioning and Stiffness can be used to measure the construct of RA DA. I established some initial evidence of content validity for these items. Lastly, I discovered that a computer adaptive test does not provide a major advantage for the purpose of administering the 12 items.

My findings show that the construct of RA DA can be measured with just five items, with one from each of the Pain, Disease activity, Tenderness and swelling, Physical functioning and Stiffness domains. The next steps are to discover how best to design these five items and to test their measurement properties, before using them as part of a weekly DA monitoring tool.

Patient and public involvement
People with RA were involved throughout the whole life-cycle of this fellowship, from helping to design the research phases, overseeing the running of the fellowship, and helping to understand the meaning of the results.

I was supervised by Professor Ernest Choy (Cardiff University), Dr Mike Horton (University of Leeds), Dr Karl Bang Christensen (University of Copenhagen), Dr Rhiannon Phillips (Cardiff Metropolitan University) and Dr David Gillespie (Cardiff University).

Biography

Career Profile

2009 - 2014: Research Assistant in Statistics, South East Wales Trials Unit and School of Dentistry, Cardiff University

2014 - 2019: Research Associate in Statistics, Centre for Trials Research and Cardiff Regional Experimental Arthritis Treatment and Evaluation Centre

2019 - 2024: Health and Care Research Wales NIHR Doctoral Fellow, Centre for Trials Research

2024 - present: Research Fellow in Statistics, Centre for Trials Research

Education and Qualifications

2009: 1st Class BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences with Industrial Placement, University of Bath

2014: MSc (Distinction) Operational Research and Applied Statistics, Cardiff University

Teaching Profile

BDS Dental Public Health Statistics Lectures and SPSS Sessions

Honours and awards

GradStat, Royal Statistical Society, 2016

CStat, Royal Statistical Society, 2019

Travel Scholarship, ISOQOL 2021 Conference, 2021

Professional memberships

ISOQOL Member, chair elect of ISOQOL UK & Ireland SIG, October 2021 to October 2022, chair of ISOQOL UK & Ireland SIG, October 2022 to October 2023, past chair of ISOQOL UK & Ireland SIG, October 2023 onwards

MRC-NIHR Trials Methodology Research Partnership Outcomes Working Group Strategy Group

National PROMs Network coordinator

 

Academic positions

Career Profile

2009 - 2014: Research Assistant in Statistics, South East Wales Trials Unit and School of Dentistry, Cardiff University

2014 - 2019: Research Associate in Statistics, Centre for Trials Research and Cardiff Regional Experimental Arthritis Treatment and Evaluation Centre

2019 - 2024: Health and Care Research Wales NIHR Doctoral Fellow, Centre for Trials Research

2024 - present: Research Fellow in Statistics, Centre for Trials Research