AMSI-SSA Lecturer

Professor Susan Murphy, Harvard University

Tour dates: 14-24 August 2018

Speaker Details

AMSI-SSA Lecturer 2018
Susan Murphy
Professor of Statistics at Harvard University

Susan A. Murphy is Professor of Statistics, Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. Her lab focuses on improving sequential, individualised, decision making in health, in particular on clinical trial design and data analysis to inform the development of personalised just-in-time adaptive interventions in mobile health. Her work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, USA.

Susan is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, a Fellow of the College on Problems in Drug Dependence, a former editor of the Annals of Statistics, a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, a member of the US National Academy of Medicine and a 2013 MacArthur Fellow.

Schedule & Registration

PublicTuesday 14 August6:30 PM (light catering provided after the event)La Trobe UniversitySzental Lecture Theatre, HSZ-201, La Trobe University, Bundoora CampusReserve your seat
SpecialistWednesday 15 August12:30 PMThe University of MelbourneTBA
PublicThursday 16 August6:30 PMFlinders UniversityAlere Function Centre, The Hub, Level 2, Bedford Park Campus, Registry Road, Bedford ParkReserve your seat
SpecialistThursday 16 August1:00 PMFlinders UniversityRoom 5.29, Level 5, Tonsley Building, Flinders University, Tonsley, 1284 South Road, Clovelly Park, 5042
PublicMonday 20 August6:30 PM (light refreshments will be provided)Murdoch UniversityRobertson Lecture Theatre, Building 245, Science & Computing Building, Murdoch UniversityReserve your seat
PublicWednesday 22 August6:30 PM (light refreshments provided from 5:30PM)The University of QueenslandMay Hancock Auditorium, The Women’s College, College Road, St LuciaReserve your seat
SpecialistWednesday 22 AugustTBAQueensland University of Technology and The University of QueenslandTBA
PublicThursday 23 August6:30 PMUniversity of Technology SydneyAerial UTS Function Centre
UTS Building 10
Level 7, 235 Jones Street, Ultimo
Reserve your seat
SpecialistFriday 24 August2:00 PMMacquarie UniversityRoom 146, ACE room, 14 Sir Christopher Ondaatje Avenue, Macquarie University

Talk Abstracts


Optimising Mobile Health Interventions


Mobile devices along with wearable sensors allow us to deliver supportive treatments, anytime and anywhere. Mobile interventions are transforming treatments and preventative health management, including support for HIV medication adherence, assisting recovery in addictions and encouraging physical activity and healthy eating. The question remains “When and in which contexts, is it most useful to deliver treatments to the user?” Using data, we can determine if key factors such as location, stress, time of day, mood, ambient noise and so on, impact when and where these treatments are most useful. This talk concerns a new clinical trial design: the micro-randomised trial and associated data analytics for use in addressing this question. The talk will use multiple mobile health studies including the study, HeartSteps – a physical activity mobile intervention, to illustrate the ideas.

Specialist Lecture – Topic 1

Stratified Micro-randomised Trials with Applications in Mobile Health

Technological advancements in the field of mobile devices and wearable sensors make it possible to deliver treatments anytime and anywhere to users like you and me. Increasingly the delivery of these treatments is triggered by detections/predictions of vulnerability and receptivity.  These observations are likely to have been impacted by prior treatments. Furthermore the treatments are often designed to have an impact on users over a span of time during which subsequent treatments may be provided.  Here we discuss our work on the design of a mobile health smoking cessation study in which the above two challenges arose. This work involves the use of multiple online data analysis algorithms. Online algorithms are used in the detection, for example, of physiological stress. Other algorithms are used to forecast at each vulnerable time, the remaining number of vulnerable times in the day. These algorithms are then inputs into a randomisation algorithm that ensures that each user is randomised to each treatment an appropriate number of times per day.  We develop the stratified micro-randomised trial which involves not only the randomization algorithm but a precise statement of the meaning of the treatment effects and the primary scientific hypotheses along with primary analyses and sample size calculations.  Considerations of causal inference and potential causal bias incurred by inappropriate data analyses play a large role throughout.

Specialist Lecture – Topic 2

Assessing Time-Varying Causal Interactions and Treatment Effects with Applications to Mobile Health

Mobile devices along with wearable sensors facilitate our ability to deliver supportive treatments anytime and anywhere. Indeed mobile interventions are being developed and employed across a variety of health fields, including to support HIV medication adherence, encourage physical activity and healthier eating as well as to support recovery in addictions. A critical question in the optimisation of mobile health interventions is: “When and in which contexts, is it most useful to deliver treatments to the user?” This question concerns time-varying dynamic moderation by the context (location, stress, time of day, mood, ambient noise, etc.) of the effectiveness of the treatments on user behavior. In this talk we discuss the micro-randomised trial design and associated data analyses for use in assessing moderation. We illustrate this approach with the micro-randomised trial of HeartSteps, a physical activity mobile intervention.


Please contact if you would like further information about the lecture tour.