Dr Olly Butters

Public Health and Policy


Personal Statement

I am a population health data researcher working to join up datasets and gain insight from complex systems. I am part of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (Northwest Coast) working with Sarah Rodgers.

I used to work for Newcastle University on a variety of health data projects, including: DataSHIELD, the 1958 Birth Cohort Genetics Repository and Connected Health Cities NENC.

Before working at Newcastle University I was the senior data manager of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC - www.bristol.ac.uk/alspac) at the University of Bristol. In this role I lead a team of 10 members, looking after the data and the infrastructure needed to maintain the ALSPAC birth cohort. This involved curating over twenty five years of data, while all the time facilitating the collection and processing of new data. The data was in a wide variety of formats and sizes, and included questionnaires, clinical assessments, biological samples and genetic data. All of this data had to be ingested into the main resource and made available to researchers in a timely fashion.

Prior to this I was at the University of Leicester where I worked on several projects, including:

BRISSKit (Biomedical Research Infrastructure Software Service Kit). This was an ambitious bioinformatics I.T. infrastructure project in partnership with University Hospitals Leicester Trust. Its main aim was to bring together a suite of programs to form a generic cloud-based platform that researchers could quickly and easily implement, thus reducing the overhead of I.T. infrastructure development and deployment. In this position I was the lead developer, driving the direction of the technical development.

HALOGEN = where I developed a project to bring together the etymology of UK place names, genetics data, census data and treasure hunt finds. This allowed cross-disciplinary research questions to be addressed in a way that was not previously possible.

SuperWASP - which was an exoplanet finding project. A key piece of work I did was to do the first data release for the project, which make over 100 billion data points publicly available. I also ran the Leicester Database Archive Service (LEDAS).

I studied Physics at Imperial College London, then moved on to do a Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the Open University. My Ph.D. project was a combination of observational astronomy and developing a computer simulation of X-ray absorption from Intermediate Polars.

You can find out more about me at:

- My Github profile
- Google scholar list of publications
- ORCID info
- You can follow my research on Twitter