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The aim of BIOSTATS is to enhance biostatistical research and to foster collaborations among researchers, clinicians and biostatisticians within the broad MRC network by providing the following collaborative services

  • Providing input into the design of protocols, questionnaires and data capture, statistical analyses, statistical reporting and statistical review of reports and manuscripts.
  • Appropriate power calculations for health surveys and clinical trials, balancing health, clinical and biological limitations, cost and resource limitations while maintaining statistical power and efficiency.
  • Biostatistical methodology developments to enhance the inference of collaborative projects, work that frequently forms the basis for post-graduate studies and first-authored publications.
  • Capacity development through postgraduate supervision in biostatistical and biomedical areas, and conduction of short courses and specialised workshops at the MRC and at various universities across South Africa.


The Biostatistics Unit's research and support are closely aligned with the priorities in the research agenda of the MRC, and therefore statistical inference in Public Health and Clinical Research form the basis of its work.

Additionally, the BSU staff  have strong training in methodology, applied as well as experience in applications and collaborative research work. This, allows us to conduct own research relevant to a myriad of health and biomedical problems.

Specific areas of expertise and interest include:

  • Sample survey sampling and analysis
  • Mixture model and latent variable modelling
  • The design, interim analysis and monitoring and analysis of individual and cluster randomised controlled trials.
  • Spatial statistics and statistical epidemiology,
  • Survival and longitudinal data analysis including joint modelling and   multiple and recurrent events data.
  • Handling of missing data in various models and analyses

Additionally, the Biostatistics Unit (BU) provides data encoding service using various databases forms to ensure the highest level of data quality. Our data encoders are available to do data encoding from questionnaires or data forms into various databases. They work closely with the biostatisticians and in collaboration will accept incoming data.

Data encoder to contact:

Cape Town  Amanda Fourie +27 21 9380920
Durban Thabisile Mvuyana +27 31 2034820


Cape Town Prof Carl Lombard +27 21 9380924
Ms Esmé Jordaan +27 21 9380922
Ms Jessica Petersen (Secretarial Support) +21 21 9380926
Pretoria Dr Tarylee Reddy  
  Mrs Emily Gomes (Secretarial Support) +27 12 3398523
Durban Dr Tarylee Reddy +27 31 2034819

All projects supported by the BU should have formal ethical approval from a recognized national or international institution in prior to engagement by any staff member of the Unit.

Research projects funded from the MRC baseline budget are supported free of charge whereas research funded by Non-MRC sources are supported on a fee for service basis. In this regard a formal quotation is provided and signed for the work to be done.

The BU staff are also involved in capacity development through conduction of short courses and workshops at the MRC and universities in South Africa. In particular, statistical workshops are conducted to cater for the specific needs of a health related organisation.

Courses presented by the BU: The Introduction to Biostatistics workshop will be offered regularly in the different regions.

Person to contact: Dr Tarylee Reddy,

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Thinking about a career in Biostatistics?- You will find some interesting information on our flyer.