Debbie Ford, Senior statistician

Debbie joined the Unit in 2005 after working at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, where she completed a PhD in genetic epidemiology, and a period with the Medical Research Council General Practice Research Framework working on a trial of hormone replacement therapy.

Since joining the Infections Group at MRC CTU, Debbie has worked on a number of trials and observational studies. In particular, she worked on analyses of data collected during the DART trial, a trial of monitoring strategies in African HIV-infected adults initiating ART, including applying causal inference methods to: (i) evaluate the effect of cotrimoxazole given in addition to ART on mortality; and (ii) to investigate when to switch to second-line ART. Between 2011-2016 she was the senior statistician on the Lablite project, which aimed to demonstrate how decentralised clinical care can work in lower-level health centres in ART roll-out in Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The project comprised a baseline situational assessment of HIV care and ART provision in the three countries, a demonstration project at four sites, economic data collection and analysis and cross-sectional population surveys in Northern Uganda. More recently, she has been involved in PENTA (Paediatric European Network for Treatment of AIDS) trials including the analysis of data from the BREATHER trial (5 days on/2 days off in HIV-infected young people on efavrirenz) trial. She is trial statistician on the ODYSSEY trial (a RCT of dolutegravir vs standard of care) in HIV-infected children starting ART or switching to second-line ART). She is also trial statistician for D3, a paediatric trial evaluating dual dolutegravir-based ART vs standard of care, which will open next year. She worked closely with the clinical lead at MRC CTU (Dr Sarah Pett) and the African PI on securing funding for a trial evaluating injectable ART and dolutegravir-based ART given 5 days on/2 days off in adolescents in Africa (BREATHER Plus).


Selected publications

Walker AS, Ford D, Gilks CF, et al. (2010) Impact of daily cotrimoxazole prophylaxis in severely immunosuppressed HIV-infected adults in Africa started on combination antiretroviral therapy; an observational analysis of the DART trial cohort. Lancet 375:1278-86.

Ford D, Robins JM, Petersen ML, et al. (2015) The impact of different CD4 monitoring and switching strategies on mortality in HIV-infected African adults on antiretroviral therapy; an application of dynamic marginal structural models. Am J Epidem 182: 633-43.

Olson AD, Walker AS, Suthar AB, …, Ford D (2016) Limiting Cumulative HIV Viremia Copy-Years by Early Treatment Reduces Risk of AIDS and Death. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 73(1), 100-8.

Ford D, Muzambi M, Nkhata MJ, et al. (2017) Implementation of antiretroviral therapy for life in pregnant/breastfeeding HIV+ women (option B+) alongside rollout and changing guidelines for ART initiation in rural Zimbabwe: the Lablite project experience. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 74(5), 508-16.

Turkova A, Moore CL, Butler K, …, Ford D*, Babiker A*, Gibb DM* (* equal contribution) (2018) Weekends-off efavirenz-based antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected children, adolescents and youg adults (BREATHER): Extended follow-up results of a randomized, open-label, non-inferiority trial. PloS One 13 (4): e0196239

Abongomera G, Chiwaula L, Revill P, …, Ford D (2018) Patient-level benefits associated with decentralization of antiretroviral therapy services to primary health facilities in Malawi and Uganda. Int Health: 10(1):8-19.

Farmer RE, Ford D, Mathur R, et al. (2019) Metformin use and risk of cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes: a cohort study of primary care records using inverse probability weighting of marginal structural models. Int J Epidem 48(2):527-37.

Bollen PDJ, Moore CL, Mujuru HA, ..., Ford D*, Turkova A*, Burger D* (* joint last authors) (2020) Simplified dolutegravir dosing for HIV-infected children weighing ≥20kg; multicentre pharmacokinetic and safety substudies within the ODYSSEY randomised trial. Lancet HIV (in press).





Research Interests

  • HIV
  • Other infectious diseases
  • Design and analysis of randomised trials and observational studies


Research Areas

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis C
  • COVID-19


Related Studies



IRIS Profile