Dr Andrew Simpkin

BA., PhD.

 
researcher
 

Biography

I am a Lecturer (Above the Bar) in Statistics at the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI, Galway. My research focusses on longitudinal data analysis, functional data analysis, genomics and data science. I work on many interdisciplinary projects across medicine, engineering, biology, sociology and sports science. I’m interested in applied statistics and data science, developing methods and tools to work with people in a wide variety of disciplines. These collaborations often lead to questions which require novel theoretical statistical approaches.  

I came to statistics from a mathematics background, having studied at Trinity College Dublin. After receiving my BA I came to Galway and completed a PhD with Prof. John Newell in 2011.  The PhD focused on derivative estimation. In many cases, changes in a response over time are of primary concern, such that modelling the derivative of the response should take precedence. We developed methods in the area of nonparametric regression and smoothing which improved on established approaches to derivative estimation. While in Galway, I worked across many disciplines including biomedical engineering, medicine, computer science, sports science, economics. This exposure showed me the breadth of application of statistical methods.
 

I left Galway in 2011 and spent five and a half years at the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol. There I worked on many biomedical applications, developing models for prostate cancer among others. I used linear mixed models to analyse repeated measures of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in cohorts of men with and without prostate cancer. We developed individualized PSA reference ranges which served as an alert for men questioning whether to remain on active surveillance. We packaged our model into an application and this was used successfully in patient – consultant discussion of ongoing active surveillance.


At Bristol, I worked as part of the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit to analyse DNA methylation data as part of the Accessible Resource for Integrated Epigenomics Studies (ARIES). Specifically, I developed novel machine learning models for the analysis of longitudinal DNA methylation data collected as part of the Accessible Resource for Integrated Epigenomics Studies (ARIES) program. DNA methylation data encompass up to 850,000 distinct signatures for each person at each time point in this birth cohort study. Using these models, we investigated patterns of DNA methylation in early life and the association of changes with several important clinical factors. We found that maternal smoking is associated with differences in offspring DNA methylation and that these differences persist through childhood and adolescence. On the other hand, we found that while maternal BMI and birth weight were associated with offspring DNA methylation, these differences resolved during childhood. I have also worked on the epigenetic clock in ARIES, identifying associations between sex, birth weight and epigenetic age acceleration in ARIES children. We also found links between maternal smoking and alcohol consumption and the age acceleration of their offspring. Modelling longitudinal big data (such as DNA methylation) is an important research focus. Big data which are also dynamic require care since data within individuals are correlated, requiring approaches which distinguish between- and within-subject variation. These approaches are often ignored in the big data setting.  

In 2014 I was awarded a Career Development Award in Biostatistics from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to investigate flexible methods for analysing longitudinal data. I combined my PhD and postdoctoral work thus far. Here the goal was to gain insights from longitudinal trajectories of biomarkers and other measures, and use these as risk factors for future health outcomes. I developed models for estimating features of trajectories in the big data setting as they related to other longitudinal processes such as child growth. Developing models for repeated measures data where features of longitudinal data are of primary interest. Features, such as maximum velocity of height in adolescents, are useful biomarkers and there is a knowledge gap in how to estimate these alongside other dynamic processes. In this fellowship, I developed the methods which bridged this knowledge gap.
 

I spent a year at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics in 2017 as part of the Orreco-Insight project. I developed statistical-machine learning algorithms for longitudinal data arising in sports science in conjunction with a commercial partner, Orreco. These models led to web applications and two patents pending in the elite sports domain. The goal of these models is to optimise performance and athlete readiness through recommendations based on GPS, biomarker and wearable data collected from professional athletes repeatedly during a competitive season.
  In August 2018 I was appointed a Lecturer (Above the Bar) at the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI, Galway. 

Research Interests

Research grants held:
    
Simpkin AJ, Mellotte, M. Connacht Rugby Targeted Project. January 2018 to July 2018; €60,000
·     

Simpkin AJ
, Wijns W, Newell J (co-PIs). Modelling continuous longitudinal glucose and heart rate data. CÚRAM. March 2018 to February 2022; €100,000
·     

Simpkin AJ
(PI). Estimating features of repeated measures trajectories. Medical Research Council Career Development Award in Biostatistics. 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2018; £456,020
·     

Dunn, E (PI), Simpkin AJ, Suderman, M, Relton CR. (co-investigators).
Childhood adversity, DNA methylation, and risk for depression: A longitudinal study of sensitive periods in development. National Institute for Health. 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2022; $1,662,633
·     

Howe, LD (PI), Smith, GD, Simpkin, AJ, Gaunt, TR, Relton, CR, Shihab, HA, Suderman, M (co-investigators).
Research Network: Interpreting epigenetic signatures in studies of early life adversity (Interstela). 1 September 2015 to 31 August 2017; £268,660
·     



Research Projects

  Project Start Date End Date
Andrew Simpkin - General Research Account 01-JAN-19 31-DEC-29

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
(2019) 'Sensitive periods for the effect of childhood adversity on DNA methylation: Results from a prospective, longitudinal study'
Dunn EC, Soare TW, Zhu Y, Simpkin AJ, Suderman MJ, Klengel T, Smith AD, Ressler K, Relton CL (2019) 'Sensitive periods for the effect of childhood adversity on DNA methylation: Results from a prospective, longitudinal study'. Biological Psychiatry, [Details]
(2019) 'Data on trajectories of measures of cardiovascular health in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)'
O'Keeffe LM, Simpkin AJ, Tilling K, Anderson EL, Hughes AD, Lawlor DA, Fraser A, Howe LD (2019) 'Data on trajectories of measures of cardiovascular health in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)'. Data In Brief, [Details]
(2018) 'Psychosocial adversity and socioeconomic position during childhood and epigenetic age: analysis of two prospective cohort studies'
Lawn RB, Anderson EL, Suderman M, Simpkin AJ, Gaunt TR, Teschendorff AE, Widschwendter M, Hardy R, Kuh D, Relton CL. (2018) 'Psychosocial adversity and socioeconomic position during childhood and epigenetic age: analysis of two prospective cohort studies'. Human Molecular Genetics, [Details]
(2018) 'Epigenetic gestational age acceleration: a prospective cohort study investigating associations with familial, sociodemographic and birth characteristics'
Khouja JN, Simpkin AJ, O'Keeffe LM, Wade KH, Houtepen LC, Relton CL, Suderman M, Howe LD (2018) 'Epigenetic gestational age acceleration: a prospective cohort study investigating associations with familial, sociodemographic and birth characteristics'. Clinical Epigenetics, [Details]
(2018) 'Derivative estimation for longitudinal data analysis: examining features of blood pressure measured during pregnancy'
Simpkin AJ, Durban M, Lawlor DA, Macdonald-Wallis C, May MT, Metcalfe C, Tilling, K. (2018) 'Derivative estimation for longitudinal data analysis: examining features of blood pressure measured during pregnancy'. Statistics In Medicine, [Details]
(2018) 'Sex-specific trajectories of measures of cardiovascular health during childhood and adolescence: A prospective cohort study'
O'Keeffe LM, Simpkin AJ, Tilling K, Anderson EL, Hughes AD, Lawlor DA, Fraser A, Howe LD (2018) 'Sex-specific trajectories of measures of cardiovascular health during childhood and adolescence: A prospective cohort study'. Atherosclerosis, [Details]
(2017) 'Post-diagnosis serum insulin-like growth factors in relation to dietary and lifestyle changes in the Prostate testing for cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) trial'
Er V, Biernacka K, Simpkin AJ, Martin RM, Jeffreys M, Emmett P, Gilbert R, Avery KNL, Walsh E, Davis M, Donovan JL, Neal DE, Hamdy FC, Holly JMP, Lane JA. (2017) 'Post-diagnosis serum insulin-like growth factors in relation to dietary and lifestyle changes in the Prostate testing for cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) trial'. Cancer Causes & Control, [Details]
(2017) 'Associations of anthropometry since birth with sagittal posture at age 7 in a prospective birth cohort: the Generation XXI Study'
Araújo FA, Lucas R, Simpkin AJ, Heron J, Alegrete N, Tilling K, Howe LD, Barros H (2017) 'Associations of anthropometry since birth with sagittal posture at age 7 in a prospective birth cohort: the Generation XXI Study'. BMJ Open, [Details]
(2017) 'Epigenetic clocks for gestational age: statistical and study design considerations'
Simpkin AJ, Suderman M, Howe LD (2017) 'Epigenetic clocks for gestational age: statistical and study design considerations'. Clinical Epigenetics, [Details]
(2017) 'Modelling height in adolescence: a comparison of methods for estimating the age at peak height velocity'
Simpkin AJ, Sayers A, Gilthorpe MS, Heron J, Tilling K. (2017) 'Modelling height in adolescence: a comparison of methods for estimating the age at peak height velocity'. Annals Of Human Biology, [Details]
(2017) 'An epigenome-wide association study meta-analysis of educational attainment'
Karlsson Linnér, R; Marioni, RE; Rietveld, CA; Simpkin, AJ; Davies, NM; Watanabe, K; Armstrong, NJ; Auro, K; Baumbach, C; Bonder, MJ; Buchwald, J; Fiorito, G; Ismail, K; Iurato, S; Joensuu, A; Karell, P; Kasela, S; Lahti, J; McRae, AF; Mandaviya, PR; Seppala, I; Wang, Y; Baglietto, L; Binder, EB; Harris, SE; Hodge, AM; Horvath, S; Hurme, M; Johannesson, M; Latvala, A; Mather, KA; Medland, SE; Metspalu, A; Milani, L; Milne, RL; Pattie, A; Pedersen, NL; Peters, A; Polidoro, S; Raikkonen, K; Severi, G; Starr, JM; Stolk, L; Waldenberger, M; Eriksson, JG; Esko, T; Franke, L; Gieger, C; Giles, GG; Hagg, S; Jousilahti, P; Kapiro, J; Kahonen, M; Lehtimaki, T; Martin, NG; van Meurs, JBC; Ollikainen, M; Perola, M; Posthuma, D; Raitakari, OT; Sachdev, PS; Taskesen, E; Uitterlinden, AG; Vineis, P; Wijmenga, C; Wright, MJ; Relton, C; Davey Smith, G; Deary, IJ; Koellinger, PD; Benjamin, DJ. (2017) 'An epigenome-wide association study meta-analysis of educational attainment'. Molecular Psychiatry, [Details]
(2017) 'The epigenetic clock and physical development during childhood and adolescence: longitudinal analysis from a UK birth cohort'
Simpkin AJ, Howe LD, Tilling K, Gaunt TR, Lyttleton O, McArdle WL, Ring SM, Horvath S, Smith GD, Relton CL. (2017) 'The epigenetic clock and physical development during childhood and adolescence: longitudinal analysis from a UK birth cohort'. International Journal Of Epidemiology, [Details]
(2017) 'Longitudinal analysis strategies for modelling epigenetic trajectories'
Staley JR, Suderman M, Simpkin AJ, Gaunt TR, Heron J, Relton CL, Tilling K. (2017) 'Longitudinal analysis strategies for modelling epigenetic trajectories'. International Journal Of Epidemiology, [Details]
(2017) 'Are objective measures of physical capability relation to accelerated epigenetic age? Findings from a British birth cohort'
Simpkin, AJ; Cooper, R; Howe, LD; Relton, CL; Smith, GD, Teschendorff, AE, Widschwendter, M; Wong, A; Kuh, D; Hardy, R. (2017) 'Are objective measures of physical capability relation to accelerated epigenetic age? Findings from a British birth cohort'. BMJ Open, [Details]
(2016) 'Prostate-specific antigen patterns in US and European populations: comparison of six diverse cohorts'
Simpkin AJ, Donovan JL, Tilling K, Athene Lane J, Martin RM, Albertsen PC, Bill-Axelson A, Ballentine Carter H, Bosch JL, Ferrucci L, Hamdy FC, Holmberg L, Jeffrey Metter E, Neal DE, Parker CC, Metcalfe C. (2016) 'Prostate-specific antigen patterns in US and European populations: comparison of six diverse cohorts'. Bju International, [Details]
(2016) 'Exploration of a Polygenic Risk Score for Alcohol Consumption: A Longitudinal Analysis from the ALSPAC Cohort'
Taylor M, Simpkin AJ, Haycock PC, Dudbridge F, Zuccolo L. (2016) 'Exploration of a Polygenic Risk Score for Alcohol Consumption: A Longitudinal Analysis from the ALSPAC Cohort'. Plos One, [Details]
(2016) 'Serine-arginine protein kinase 1 (SRPK1), a determinant of angiogenesis, is upregulated in prostate cancer and correlates with disease stage and invasion'
Bullock N, Potts J, Simpkin AJ, Koupparis A, Harper SJ, Oxley J, Oltean S. (2016) 'Serine-arginine protein kinase 1 (SRPK1), a determinant of angiogenesis, is upregulated in prostate cancer and correlates with disease stage and invasion'. J Clin Pathol, [Details]
(2016) 'Investigating the prostate specific antigen, body mass index and age relationship: is an age-BMI-adjusted PSA model clinically useful?'
Harrison S, Tilling K, Turner EL, Lane JA, Simpkin A, Davis M, Donovan J, Hamdy FC, Neal DE, Martin RM. (2016) 'Investigating the prostate specific antigen, body mass index and age relationship: is an age-BMI-adjusted PSA model clinically useful?'. Cancer Causes & Control, [Details]
(2016) 'Longitudinal prostate-specific antigen reference ranges: Choosing the underlying model of age-related changes'
Simpkin AJ, Metcalfe C, Martin RM, Lane JA, Donovan JL, Hamdy FC, Neal DE, Tilling K. (2016) 'Longitudinal prostate-specific antigen reference ranges: Choosing the underlying model of age-related changes'. Statistical Methods In Medicaal Research, [Details]
(2016) 'Assessment of Offspring DNA Methylation across the Lifecourse Associated with Prenatal Maternal Smoking Using Bayesian Mixture Modelling'
de Vocht, F; Simpkin, AJ; Richmond, RC; Relton, CL; Tilling, KM. (2016) 'Assessment of Offspring DNA Methylation across the Lifecourse Associated with Prenatal Maternal Smoking Using Bayesian Mixture Modelling'. International Journal Of Environmental Research And Public Health, [Details]
(2016) 'Prenatal and early life influences on epigenetic age in children: a study of mother-offspring pairs from two cohort studies'
Simpkin AJ, Hemani G, Suderman M, Gaunt TR, Lyttleton O, Mcardle WL, Ring SM, Sharp GC, Tilling K, Horvath S, Kunze S, Peters A, Waldenberger M, Ward-Caviness C, Nohr EA, Sørensen TI, Relton CL, Smith GD. (2016) 'Prenatal and early life influences on epigenetic age in children: a study of mother-offspring pairs from two cohort studies'. Human Molecular Genetics, [Details]
(2015) 'Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and gestational weight gain, offspring DNA methylation and later offspring adiposity: findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children'
Sharp GC, Lawlor DA, Richmond RC, Fraser A, Simpkin A, Suderman M, Shihab HA, Lyttleton O, McArdle W, Ring SM, Gaunt TR, Davey Smith G, Relton CL. (2015) 'Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and gestational weight gain, offspring DNA methylation and later offspring adiposity: findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children'. International Journal Of Epidemiology, [Details]
(2015) 'The significance of hand dominance in hip osteoarthritis'
Cawley DT, Guerin SJ, Walsh J, Simpkin A, Masterson EL. (2015) 'The significance of hand dominance in hip osteoarthritis'. Seminars In Arthritis And Rheumatism, [Details]
(2015) 'Gleason drift in the NIHR ProtecT study'
Oxley J, Simpkin A, Goepel J, Varma M, Griffiths D, Grigor K, Mayer N, Warren A, Deshmukh N, Bhattarai S, Dormer J, Hounsome L, Adamczyk LA, Metcalfe C, Lane JA, Davis M, Donovan JL, Neal DE, Hamdy FC, Robinson MC; ProtecT Study Group. (2015) 'Gleason drift in the NIHR ProtecT study'. Histopathology, [Details]
(2015) 'Assessment of Offspring DNA Methylation across the Lifecourse Associated with Prenatal Maternal Smoking Using Bayesian Mixture Modelling'
de Vocht F, Simpkin AJ, Richmond RC, Relton C, Tilling K. (2015) 'Assessment of Offspring DNA Methylation across the Lifecourse Associated with Prenatal Maternal Smoking Using Bayesian Mixture Modelling'. Int J Environ Res Public Health, [Details]
(2015) 'Longitudinal analysis of DNA methylation associated with birth weight and gestational age'
Simpkin AJ, Suderman M, Gaunt TR, Lyttleton O, McArdle WL, Ring SM, Tilling K, Davey Smith G, Relton CL. (2015) 'Longitudinal analysis of DNA methylation associated with birth weight and gestational age'. Human Molecular Genetics, [Details]
(2015) 'Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Factors Determining Change to Radical Treatment in Active Surveillance for Localized Prostate Cancer'
Simpkin AJ, Tilling K, Martin RM, Lane JA, Hamdy FC, Holmberg L, Neal DE, Metcalfe C, Donovan JL. (2015) 'Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Factors Determining Change to Radical Treatment in Active Surveillance for Localized Prostate Cancer'. European Urology, [Details]
(2015) 'Prenatal exposure to maternal smoking and offspring DNA methylation across the lifecourse: findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)'
Richmond RC, Simpkin AJ, Woodward G, Gaunt TR, Lyttleton O, McArdle WL, Ring SM, Smith AD, Timpson NJ, Tilling K, Davey Smith G, Relton CL. (2015) 'Prenatal exposure to maternal smoking and offspring DNA methylation across the lifecourse: findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)'. Human Molecular Genetics, [Details]
(2014) 'Prenatal exposure to maternal smoking and offspring DNA methylation across the life course; findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)'
Richmond, RC; Simpkin, AJ; Woodward, G; Gaunt, TR; Lyttleton, O; McArdle, WL; Ring, SM; Smith, ACAC; Timpson, NJ; Tilling, K; Smith, GD; Relton, CL. (2014) 'Prenatal exposure to maternal smoking and offspring DNA methylation across the life course; findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)'. Human Molecular Genetics, [Details]
(2014) 'What is the point of tips?'
Adamczyk L, Simpkin A, Oxley J. (2014) 'What is the point of tips?'. J Clin Pathol, [Details]
(2014) 'Gleason drift in the NIHR ProtecT Study'
Oxley, J; Simpkin, AJ; Goepel, J; Varma, M; Griffiths, D, Grigor, K; Mayer, N; Warren, A; Deshmukh, N; Bhattarai, S; Dormer, J; Hounsome, L; Adamczyk, LA; Metcalfe, C; Lane, JA; Davis, M; Donovan, JL; Neal, DE; Hamdy, FC; Robinson, MC. (2014) 'Gleason drift in the NIHR ProtecT Study'. Histopathology, [Details]
(2014) 'The significance of hand dominance in hip osteoarthritis'
Cawley, D; Guerin, JS; Walsh, J; Simpkin, AJ; Masterson, E. (2014) 'The significance of hand dominance in hip osteoarthritis'. Seminars In Arthritis And Rheumatism, [Details]
(2014) 'Role of Crassicauda sp. in natural mortality of pantropical spotted dolphins Stenella attenuata: a reassessment'
Balbuena JA, Simpkin A. (2014) 'Role of Crassicauda sp. in natural mortality of pantropical spotted dolphins Stenella attenuata: a reassessment'. Diseases Of Aquatic Organisms, [Details]
(2013) 'New statistics for an old paradigm: Reassessment of the role of Crassicauda sp. in natural mortality of pan tropical spotted dolphins Stenella Attenuate'
Balbuena, JA; Simpkin, AJ; (2013) 'New statistics for an old paradigm: Reassessment of the role of Crassicauda sp. in natural mortality of pan tropical spotted dolphins Stenella Attenuate'. Diseases Of Aquatic Organisms, [Details]
(2013) 'Longitudinal prostate-specific antigen reference ranges: Choosing the underlying model of age-related changes'
Simpkin AJ; Metcalfe, C; Martin, RM; Lane, JA; Donovan, JL; Hamdy, FC; Neal, DE; Tilling, K. (2013) 'Longitudinal prostate-specific antigen reference ranges: Choosing the underlying model of age-related changes'. Statistical Methods In Medical Research, [Details]
(2013) 'An additive penalty P-Spline approach to derivative estimation'
Simpkin AJ, Newell J (2013) 'An additive penalty P-Spline approach to derivative estimation'. Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, [Details]
(2012) 'Full and surface tibial cementation in total knee arthroplasty: a biomechanical investigation of stress distribution and remodeling in the tibia'
Cawley DT, Kelly N, Simpkin A, Shannon FJ, McGarry JP. (2012) 'Full and surface tibial cementation in total knee arthroplasty: a biomechanical investigation of stress distribution and remodeling in the tibia'. Clinical Biomechanics, [Details]
(2011) 'Determination of the utility of the Intubation Difficulty Scale for use with indirect laryngoscopes'
McElwain J, Simpkin A, Newell J, Laffey JG. (2011) 'Determination of the utility of the Intubation Difficulty Scale for use with indirect laryngoscopes'. Anaesthesia, [Details]

Conference Publications

  Year Publication
(2009) 24th International Workshop on Statistical Modelling
Simpkin, AJ; Eilers, PHC; Game, J; Newell, J. (2009) Proceedings of the 24th International Workshop on Statistical Modelling 24th International Workshop on Statistical Modelling [Details]

Published Reports

  Year Publication
(2015) Development, validation and evaluation of an instrument for active monitoring of men with clinically localised prostate cancer: systematic review, cohort studies and qualitative study.
Simpkin AJ, Rooshenas L, Wade J, Donovan JL, Lane JA, Martin RM, Metcalfe C, Albertsen PC, Hamdy FC, Holmberg L, Neal DE, Tilling K. (2015) Development, validation and evaluation of an instrument for active monitoring of men with clinically localised prostate cancer: systematic review, cohort studies and qualitative study. NIHR Journals Library, Southampton. [Details]