Dr Heather Turner

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I have been a full-time freelance statistician and R programmer since November 2012. Most of my projects are with clients working in drug discovery, but I have worked with clients from a variety of other fields including retail, human resources, psychiatry and health care. I am also an Honorary Research Fellow of the Statistics Department at the University of Warwick, continuing to engage in activites related to my earlier work in the department.

I am on the editorial board of the Journal of Statistical Software. Previously I have served on the editorial board of The R Journal, where I was Editor-in-chief in 2011. I regularly serve on the program committee for the useR! conference and have been Program Chair in 2011, 2017 and 2019. I am a member-at-large on the board of the R Foundation and I chair the R Foundation Forwards taskforce for women and under-represented groups.

Employment History

When I started out as a freelancer, I had a part-time position as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, UK. In this role, I worked with Professor David Firth on applications of generalized nonlinear models.

For the first nine months of 2011, I worked as a statistician at Pfizer PharmaTherapeutics R&D providing support to biologists and chemists working in early drug discovery. I had particular responsibility for the primary pharmacology and high throughput screening groups, providing expertise in areas such as dose response analysis and statistical process control. During this time I co-developed the gslcca package for the analysis of data from Electroencephalography (EEG) experiments.

Before moving to Pfizer I spent six years working as a researcher at the University of Warwick, again working with Professor David Firth. Our research activity focused on the development of methods and software for generalized nonlinear models, and we were awarded the 2007 John M. Chambers Statistical Software Award for the resultant package gnm. We also worked on models for paired comparisons, which we implemented in the BradleyTerry2 package.


I obtained my PhD in 2005 on the topic of biclustering microarray data, supervised by Professors Trevor Bailey and Wojtek Krzanowski at the University of Exeter. The plaid model algorithm of the biclust package, developed by Sebastian Kaiser and colleagues, is based on the algorithm and R code developed in this thesis.

My undergraduate degree is in Applied Statistics from the University of Reading, UK. During this time I spent a year working at the Institute of Arable Crop Research, University of Bristol, providing statistical support for scientists and developing a Genstat procedure for modelling seed germination.