Monsurul Hoq is a Biostatistician and a Research Assistant within Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit at MCRI. His research focuses on using statistics to improve the livelihood of children, advocating the use of the appropriate statistical methods to inform clinical and public health practice. Here, Monsurul gives an insight into the broad range of child health topics the role of a Biostatistician can impact.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to getting to where you are today as a researcher here at MCRI
I’m from Bangladesh, and completed degrees in statistic and a Masters of Public Health there. I was really drawn to the intervention aspects of public health and this drove me to take an onsite position in South Sudan working on a malaria prevention project, ensuring data quality and providing analysis. I really enjoyed working in this field but realised I needed more academic training to make an even bigger impact. That’s what led me to Australia and to MCRI, to study a PhD and establish a career in academia.
Can you provide an example of a research project you are working on?
My thesis relates to blood tests in children. For kids who have blood tests, there are clinical assessment tools to determine whether their test results are normal or abnormal. Currently however, these tools are not age-appropriate (meaning the tools are either inferred from adults or used for an age-group). So, I have used data from the Happy Kids study to estimate age-specific reference intervals and evaluated the statistical methods used in estimating the reference intervals. This is an example of a research project addressing public health issues, statistical methodology and clinical diagnosis.
What is your role on a day-to-day and project perspective?
As a Biostatistician, a key part of my job is analysing data using appropriate statistical methods, but I also inform researchers across different projects, to support and advise on their statistical methods.
What are you hoping to make possible through the work that you’re doing/what is your ideal goal for the future?
I want to continue ensuring appropriate use of statistical analysis in health research. I also want to support those people who need it the most. Long-term, I would love to return to Africa and implement all the knowledge I’ve gained to continue supporting communities and children in need.
What excites you about this field of research and working in child health?
What excites me about Biostatistics is that it gives me insight into lots of topics. It’s a universal language and is needed in every sector of child health research. In the past five years I have worked in vaccine hesitancy, clinical trials, age-specific diagnostics, transgender health and more. I have one main tool that can be applied to all these different areas and I really enjoy this. Every project here is exciting and you learn something new on each one.
Outside of research, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I love sports! I play badminton and sometimes cricket, I also garden. Living in a different country means I get the chance to explore and I really enjoy this too.