Ewan completed his BSc (Hons) at the University of Dundee in Biomedical Sciences. He then continued his studies at the University of Dundee by completing a MSc in Health Data Science for Applied Precision Medicine.

Ewan’s research interests are in metabolic diseases and the downstream effects of non communicable diseases. Non-communicable diseases have become an epidemic and efficient research is needed to determine the most effective treatments for these individuals.

Ewan is also interested in the safe and secure use of ‘Big Data’ to address certain questions in this research area. Therefore, Ewan spent the last year working within a trusted research environment created by the Health Informatics Centre in Dundee. Within this secure environment, Ewan investigated the downstream effects of gestational diabetes in the NHS Tayside population. Ewan investigated the downstream incidence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease events in these individuals.

Project Information

Research Driver Programme: Big Data for Complex Diseases

Title: Using big data to investigate a high-risk subtype of Type 2 Diabetes and its consequences


Type 2 diabetes mellitus affects around 7% of the UK population. 1/3 of individuals with type 2 diabetes are characterised with having persistently high levels of blood glucose at diagnosis. This is found to be common in individuals with African / African Caribbean ethnicity. Therefore it is unclear whether this subtype is indicative of healthcare inequalities in early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or it is a physiologically more harmful sub form of type 2 diabetes.

This project will use the national data available from GPs and hospitals within in a trusted research environment to safely investigate these individuals. This will allow us to determine whether this is a severe and distinct sub form or a consequence of healthcare inequalities for early diagnosis and treatment.

What is your motivation for undertaking this project and how will this funding impact your research?

As aforementioned my interests are in metabolic diseases and the use of ‘Big data’ to investigate this research area. However, initially I was interested in Parasitology after being tasked with a case study investigating Sickle Cell Anemia and Malaria in specific African populations. This is where my interests in the effect of ethnicity on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of metabolic diseases originated from. These interests led me to completing a MSc in which I investigated real-world applications of precision medicine and was able to personally utilise the abundant electronic health record data available in Scotland.

Throughout my undergraduate and postgraduate career I was aware of Health Data Research UK and have been interested in working alongside this organisation. Therefore when this PhD appeared I was very interested to work in this research area, with this organisation and additionally to work within the University of Bristol.