Thomas Jaki

IDEAS Network : Thomas Jaki's Profile

Arthur-Linder Prize for IDEAS ESRs Nicolas!

The Austro – Swiss Region of the International Biometric Society promotes young scientists with the Arthur Linder prize ( In honour of Prof. Dr Arthur Linder, a prize is awarded every two years to a young member of the Austro-Swiss Region of the International Biometric Society (RoeS).

ESRs Nicolas Ballarini (Medical University of Vienna) won the Arthur-Linder Prize this year for his paper “Subgroup identification in clinical trials via the predicted individual treatment effect” in PLOS ONE.
The winners were announced at the ROeS seminar in Lausanne in September 2019, where Nicolas presented his paper as a short lecture.

Ballarini NM, Rosenkranz GK, Jaki T, König F, Posch M. Subgroup identification in clinical trials via the predicted individual treatment effect. PLOS ONE. 2018 Oct 18;13(10):e0205971

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Gratulations to our Early Stage Researcher Marius Thomas who successfully defended his PhD on Friday, 25th January 2019.

Throughout the IDEAS programme, Marius has been based at Novartis, where he worked on Subgroup Analyses in Early Phase Clinical Trials

Marius has secured a new position within Novartis and we wish him every success for his new role.

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Huge congratulations to our Early Stage Researcher Haiyan Zheng, who successfully defended her PhD on Wednesday, 9th January 2019.

Throughout the IDEAS programme, Haiyan has been based at Lancaster University UK, where her research has focussed on Using pre-clinical information to establish a safe dose in first-in-men studies

We wish Haiyan every success for in her new role at Newcastle University.

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Huge congratulations to our Early Stage Researcher Saswati Saha, who was awarded her PhD magna cum laude on Friday, 7th December 2018.

Throughout the IDEAS programme, Saswati has been based at the University of Bremen in German, where her research has focussed on Interval estimation for dose-finding studies

We wish Saswati every success for in the future

Our researcher, Saswati Saha, ready to defend her PhD thesis

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Huge congratulations to our Early Stage Researcher Jose Jiménez who successfully defended his PhD thesis on Friday, 30th November 2018.  Jose, who is originally from Madrid in Spain, has been awarded his doctorate by the Politecnico di Torino in Turin, Italy where he has been based throughout the IDEAS programme.

His research with IDEAS has focussed on innovative designs for combination of existing therapies and the title of his thesis was “Innovative adaptive designs in oncology clinical trials with drug combinations”.

Jose has recently started working at Novartis in Switzerland in the Early Development Biostatistics Group and we wish him all the best for the future.





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IDEAS and the International Biometric Society (Vienna and Styria region) will be holding a joint seminar on Thursday, 29th November 2018, Medical University of Vienna.

The event has been organised by IDEAS researcher Nicolas Ballarini and partner Franz König (both from the Medical University of Vienna) and Andrea Berghold from the Medical University of Graz, and promises to be a highly informative afternoon of engaging talks.

The presentations include:

  • Thomas Jaki (Lancaster University, UK):  The IDEAS network: Training and research under one umbrella
  • Andreas Gleiss & Michael Schemper (Medical University of Vienna, Austria):  Quantifying degrees of necessity and of sufficiency in cause-effect relationships with dichotomous and survival outcomes
  • Edith Hofer (Medical University of Graz, Austria):  Genome-wide association study of cortical thickness, surface area and volume
  • Sonja Zehetmayer (Medical University of Vienna, Austria):  A new omnibus test for the global null hypothesis
  • Alexander Avian (Medical University of Graz, Austria):  Scaling properties of pain intensity ratings in paediatric populations using the Faces Pain Scale-revised
  • Susanne Strohmaier (Medical University of Vienna, Austria): Time-dependent mediators in survival analysis: Modeling direct and indirect effects with the additive hazards model
  • Susanne Urach (Medical University of Vienna, Austria):  Testing endpoints with unknown correlation
  • Michael Kammer (Medical University of Vienna, Austria): Combining dynamic Cox prediction models and the Lasso
  • Nicolas Ballarini (Medical University of Vienna, Austria):  Graphical approaches for subgroup analysis in clinical trials

The full agenda and abstracts of the talks can be found by clicking here

Please register online by following this link

The event will take place in the Jugendstilhörsaal at the Medical University of Vienna (Bauteil 88 – Ebene 3, Spitalgasse 23, 1090 Vienna, Austria).  The location of the room can be seen below or a larger version of the map can be found by clicking this link

Joint Seminar room plan


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Huge congratulations to our ESR Maria-Athina Altzerinakou who has today successfully defended her thesis and has been awarded her PhD Magna cum laude (with great honour) by the Université Paris-Saclay in France.

Originally from Greece, Maria-Athina has been based at INSERM in Paris throughout the IDEAS programme.  Her research and thesis have focussed on “Statistical methods for phase I/II trials of molecularly targeted agents in oncology”.

IDEAS wishes Maria-Athina all the best for the future.


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IDEAS ESR Arsénio Nhacolo has today successfully defended his thesis and has been awarded his PhD Magna cum laude (with great honourby the University of Bremen in Germany.

Arsénio, who has been based at the University of Bremen throughout the IDEAS project, has been researching “Bias and precision in early phase adaptive oncology studies and its consequences for confirmatory trials” which has also led to a publication “Interval and point estimation in adaptive Phase II trials with binary endpointin the journal Statistical Methods in Medical Research.

In November 2018, Arsénio will be joining the Manhiça Health Research Centre in Maputo (Mozambique).  This is a bilateral cooperation programme between the Governments of Mozambique and Spain, supported by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.

IDEAS wishes Arsénio all the best for his future career.

Arsénio and his supervisor Werner Brannath

Arsénio and his supervisor Werner Brannath


Enjoying the sunshine after his successful PhD defence!

Enjoying the sunshine after the successful defence of his thesis!


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The third IDEAS Summer School took place in Basel, Switzerland from the 23rd-27th September 2018.

The week started with a full day course on Adaptive Clinical Trials, led by Franz König (Medical University of Vienna).  This was an extremely informative and engaging workshop which finalised the ESRs’ training programme.

On the Monday and Tuesday, the ESRs attended the 3rd EFSPI Regulatory Statistics Workshop which gave them the opportunity to present their latest research to colleagues from across industry and academia in the form of the poster presentations listed below:

  • Improving a safety of the Continual Reassessment Method via a modified allocation rule (Pavel Mozgunov, Lancaster University, UK)
  • Designs for oncology clinical trials: Exploring the relationship between time to progression and overall survival (Enya Weber, Lancaster University, UK)
  • A Bayesian decision-theoretic approach to leverage preclinical information into a phase I first-in-man trial (Haiyan Zheng, Lancaster University, UK)
  • Optimising the sample allocation across a multi-stage adaptive confirmatory clinical trial (Nicolas Ballárini, Medical University Vienna, Austria)
  • Clinical Trial Designs with Data-Driven Selection of Subgroups (Julia Niewczas, Medical University Vienna, Austria)
  • Incorporating historical information in biosimiliar trials (Johanna Mielke, Novartis Pharma AG, Switzerland)
  • A multiple comparison procedure for dose-finding trials with subpopulations (Marius Thomas, Novartis Pharma AG, Switzerland)
  • A Bayesian adaptive design in cancer phase I/II trials with drug combinations using escalation with overdose control (EWOC) and adaptive randomization (José Jiménez, Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
  • Parametric inference for PK models defined by stochastic differential equations (Elvira Erhardt, Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
  • New inference methods for adaptive Phase II designs with binary endpoint (Arsénio Nhacolo, University of Bremen, Germany)
  • Multiple testing approaches for evaluating the effectiveness of a drug combination in a multiple-dose factorial design (Saswati Saha, University of Bremen, Germany)
  • Cumulative risk of toxicity in Phase I trails of targeted therapies:  what to expect at the recommended Phase II dose? (Maria-Athina Altzerinakou, INSERM, France).
  • Model selection based on combined penalties for biomarker identification (Eleni Vradi, Bayer AG, Germany)
  • A novel Bayesian K-PD model for synergy:  Challenges and opportunities for sequential knowledge integration (Fabiola La Gamba, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Belgium)

On the Tuesday evening, three ESRs gave the talks listed below while the others also gave a short introduction to their research to promote the IDEAS Dissemination Workshop taking place the next day:

  • Graphical approaches for subgroup analysis in clinical trials (Nicolas Ballárini, Medical University of Vienna, Austria).
  • Cancer phase I trial design using drug combinations when a fraction of dose limiting toxicities is attributable to one or more agents (José Jiménez, Politecnico di Torino, Italy). 
  • Bayesian variable selection and classification with control of predictive values (Eleni Vradi, Bayer AG, Germany).

On Wednesday, 26th September, the IDEAS Dissemination Workshop took place at Novartis.  The workshop was of great interest to those working in in both industry and academia and attracted around 70 delegates.  Each ESR presented their research and more details about the event, including copies of the talks and posters, can be found here.

On Thursday, the final team building activity took place at the Pharmazie Museum in Basel.  The IDEAS ESRs and partners were treated to a private tour of the museum and the apéro session in this beautiful location was the perfect way to finish our final event.

Pharmacy Museum 1

The IDEAS Network was treated to a private tour of the Pharmacy Museum in Basel

Group Photo 4

ESRs enjoy the group dinner on Wednesday


Lovely Basel was the perfect location for our final event



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On 17th July, ESRs Nicolas, Julia and supervisor Franz took part in KinderUni Wien at the Medical University of Vienna. KinderUni ( is organised by local universities all around Austria and allows children aged 7 to 12 to gain an insight into different areas of many courses taught at university.

We organised a workshop for children, where they could learn about the basics of statistics through different games and activities. We explained the terms of mean, maximum, minimum, median or correlation by measuring the children’s height or arm length. We talked about real life examples of where statistics can be applied and were really happy to see how engaged and knowledgeable the children were.

Julia, Nicolas and Franz at the Kinder Uni event

We were very impressed by how clever the children were and how they quickly adapted to the tasks in hand.  An example was a game we called ‘Can you trick us with randomness?’, where they had to either flip a coin 100 times and report the outcome, or to write down a sequence of 0’s and 1’s. Most of the time, it is quite easy to tell which results correspond to a coin flip and which to generating numbers. People tend to switch between 0’s and 1’s more often, so that if one sees more than 6 consecutive outcomes in a row, it should be a coin flip. This was however not the case for children and the results they reported could not be distinguished from the coin flips. They left us quite baffled!

children taking part in the Kinder Uni event


It was great to have this opportunity to teach a younger generation about the world of statistics. I have to admit that we were very surprised how much children nowadays know about statistics, data science and computing. Perhaps we made the workshop too easy!

A group of children discuss statistics at the Kinder Uni event


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