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Alecia Nickless


Senior Trial Statistician

I support clinical trials by performing sample size calculations, providing input on experimental design and performing data analysis of clinical trial data. I contribute to applications for funding, develop statistical analysis plans, and produce interim and final statistical analysis reports. I sit as a statistician member of independent data monitoring and ethics committees on external trials. I am an RDS advisor and provide input on statistical analysis, sample size and overall trial design aspects of applications to be submitted to NIHR and MRC funding boards. I perform research on methodologic issues in clinical trials, such as analysis of stepped wedge CRT's. I am part of the teaching team for the Introduction to Medical Statistics course taught to 1st and 2nd year medical students.

I have experience in the following areas of statistics: analysis of clinical trials; experimental design; stepped-wedge design; adaptive design; mediation analysis; linear and non-linear modelling; measurement analysis; error analysis; Bayesian inverse modelling; longitudinal data analysis; spatial data analysis; statistical model validation; statistical and analytical computing in R, SAS, STATA, Python, and FORTRAN.

I am completing a PhD at the University of Cape Town which is based on the Bayesian inverse modelling technique. I started this degree while working as a senior research at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa. This project involves obtaining estimates of carbon fluxes for the City of Cape Town through the method of Bayesian inverse modelling; as well as obtaining an optimal network design of atmospheric monitoring stations for South Africa using the Genetic and Incremental optimisation routines. The inverse modelling relies on a transport model, which requires the implementation of a Lagrangian particle dispersion model at a regional scale for South Africa and the City of Cape Town.

Previous work experience includes processing and analysis of measurement data from two eddy covariance measurement towers in the Kruger National Park, South Africa; measurement and error analysis of atmospheric concentration data, eddy-covariance carbon dioxide flux data, and meteorological data; gap-filling of these data sets for model development; validation of climate variables and energy flux estimates from land-atmosphere processes models against measured data; and allometry equation development and error analysis on tree biomass data.

I have three years of lecturing experience at the University of the Witwatersrand in foundation statistics for life sciences students, as well as lead teaching assistant to courses on experimental design and research analysis for postgraduates, and applied statistics for the Mathematical Statistics major undergraduate students. This included tutorial design based on the R programming package.

You can read more about some of the experiences I had during my PhD at

Key publications

Recent publications