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EBW24 Previews
#EBW24 previews: Keynote with Sir Rory Collins, UK Biobank

#EBW24 previews: Keynote with Sir Rory Collins, UK Biobank

We are delighted that the first day keynote of #EBW24 will be delivered by Sir Rory Collins, Principal Investigator and Chief Executive of UK Biobank. The subject of the keynote will be ‘UK Biobank: scale, depth, duration … but, most importantly, accessibility’.

Sir Rory Collins’ talk will provide information about UK Biobank, highlight recent enhancements, and introduce their cloud-based Research Analysis Platform that is facilitating research access.


UK Biobank is a prospective cohort study of 500,000 men and women aged 40-69 years when recruited in 2006-10 that integrates large-scale genomic data (including sequencing) and deep phenotyping data (including lifestyle factors, physical measures and multi-modal imaging) with long-term longitudinal health records.

The recent addition of large-scale metabolomic and proteomic data is creating an even more powerful resource, enabling better understanding of disease biology and discovery of novel drug targets. With its unique combination of scale, depth, duration and accessibility, UK Biobank is enabling tens of thousands of researchers worldwide to perform innovative discovery science that has already yielded more than 10,000 peer-reviewed publications (over 3,000 in 2023 alone). 

Ready access to all of these data on the 500,000 UK Biobank participants allows researchers worldwide to advance discovery science and improve human health. To accommodate the rapid growth of the resource and enable even more researchers across the world to access these data without limitations of transferring, collating, storing, and accessing data at this scale, UK Biobank launched a cloud-based Research Analysis Platform. The availability of research credits for early-career researchers and those from low- and middle-income countries further democratises access to this unique research resource.

Sir Rory Collins

Rory Collins is a medically-qualified epidemiologist who studies how to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease in large international population-based studies. He is the founding Head of Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Population Health.

During the past 40 years, he has conducted large randomised trials which have shown unequivocally that clot-dissolving and clot-preventing treatments during a heart attack can more than halve mortality, and that lowering LDL-cholesterol with statin therapy safely reduces the risk of cardiovascular death and disability among a wide range of people. As a consequence, these treatments are being widely used.

In 2005, the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council appointed him as Principal Investigator and Chief Executive of UK Biobank. Involving 500,000 participants, it is the largest deeply-characterized prospective study globally, available for any type of health research that is in the public interest. More than 30,000 researchers worldwide use it currently, generating more than 3000 papers in 2023 alone.

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