Jefferson, Emily


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Emily has a degree in Biochemistry, a PhD in Bioinformatics and was employed as a post-doctoral researcher in Bioinformatics following her PhD. She then left academia to work in the finance sector. In industry she gained extensive experience of using “Big Data” and leading the delivery of large software and hardware projects. Emily then took a career break to solo cycle from New Zealand to the UK over 1 year.

Emily chose to return to work in an area she feels passionate about. She now works to combine an understanding of medical research and academia with industry standard IT project management and software development experience and apply these skills to the field of Health Informatics and Data Science.

As the academic lead and Director of the Health Informatics Centre (HIC) at the University of Dundee for the past 6 years, Emily has lead a team of ~60 providing services to hundreds of different research projects providing expertise in health informatics, data science, data management, governance, and machine learning. She is responsible for an ISO27001 certified infrastructure, and a Scottish Government accredited Safe Haven.

As a Professor of Health Data Science, Emily is involved with a range of projects in the fields of data science, clinical imaging, data linkage and machine learning.


As Professor in Health Data Science, Emily’s main research interest is in innovative methods for the provision of sensitive linked data which meets both data governance requirements and those of the research community. She is part of Health Data Research (HDR) UK.  

For the past 5 years Emily has been leading the development of the Research Data Management Platform (RDMP), an open source tool for the management of longitudinal cohorts of clinical data and computable phenotypes. This tool has now been used to provide over 2000 extracts of anonymised linked data for research (

She is currently leading a £3.8M MRC/EPSRC Programme Grant called PICTURES: The programme is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, Abertay University, National Services Scotland and an industry partner and will enable safe and secure research access to linked, routinely collected radiological images stored within the Scottish National Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS).

Emily is leading the informatics work stream of a Horizon 2020 EU project called ENSAT-HT using machine learning to stratify individuals with different types of hypertension from multi-omics markers. A video about this project, ENSAT-HT H2020 research project on endocrine hypertension can be found on YouTube.

As part of the work of the Health Data Research (HDR) UK Scottish site, Emily leads a project to roll out a widely used software tool, the Biorepository Management Platform (BMP) developed by Health Informatics Centre (HIC), across all of the Biorepositories within Scotland. Working with the UKRI Tissue Directory Co-ordination Centre (TDCC), we are supporting interoperability and standards.

Through her work as the Director of the Health Informatics Centre (HIC), Emily is involved with a wide range of other projects some of which include the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre (SISCC) and SHARE.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Science, PhD Bioinformatics

1 Oct 20031 Oct 2006

Award Date: 1 Jun 2007

Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, University of St Andrews

1 Sept 20001 Jul 2003

Award Date: 1 Jul 2003


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