Sir Rory Collins, FRS, FMedSci


Rory Collins is an epidemiologist who studies how to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease in large population-based studies. He trained in Medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital, London University, and Statistics at George Washington and Oxford Universities. He has been at Oxford since 1981, where he is currently Head of the Nuffield Department of Population Health.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Rory coordinated the ISIS “mega-trials” of the emergency treatment of heart attacks involving more than 130,00 patients. These trials showed that clot-dissolving and clot-preventing treatment could more than halve mortality, rapidly becoming part of routine care worldwide (as well as paving the way for selective use of non-pharmaceutical methods to open coronary arteries).

Since the early 1990s, he has been involved in conducting large-scale randomized trials of the effects of modifying blood levels of cholesterol. For example, the 20,000 patient Heart Protection Study that he led showed that lowering LDL-cholesterol with statin therapy safely reduces the risk of death and disability from cardiovascular disease among a much wider range of people than thought likely to benefit. As a consequence, statin therapy is now used extensively worldwide.

He became Principal Investigator of UK Biobank in 2005. Involving 500,000 participants, it is the largest deeply-characterized prospective study of disease globally, available for any type of health research. Over 30,000 researchers worldwide use it currently, generating 1700 papers in 2021 alone.

He was knighted for services to Science in 2011, elected to the Royal Society in 2015, and awarded the UK Medical Research Council’s 2020 Millennium Medal for his national and international contributions to both cardiovascular disease and UK Biobank.

30.03.2023 Evolve or die: the urgent need to streamline RCTs  
   Video | Slides | Transcript