VIKING Genes

Meet the Team

Behind the scenes we work hard to make your contribution available for research. Here's a short description of how each of us contributes to the VIKING II team at the MRC HGU

Chief Investigator (Jim) and Project Manager (Shona)

Professor Jim Wilson, Chief Investigator

Jim grew up in Orkney and is the Chief investigator of the ORCADES, VIKING and VIKING II studies. He studied genetics in Edinburgh before going to Oxford for a DPhil in human population genetics. He returned to Edinburgh in 2003 after a stint at University College London, to take up a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. He has published over 230 peer-reviewed journal articles, and is a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher. His scientific interests include the genetic architecture of complex traits, with particular focus on the study of isolated populations. He heads up a team of analysts using population cohort data to better understand the genetic contribution to traits of public health importance. Jim is leadings the recruitment of 4,000 further participants from Orkney and Shetland, as part of the Quantitative Traits in Health and Disease research programme at the MRC Human Genetics Unit. 

To read more about Jim and for details of his publications you can visit his HGU Research page or his Profile page.

Dr. Shona Kerr, Project Manager

Shona is the Project Manager for Viking II. She is working with the Chief Investigator, and the rest of the team, to define and implement the VIKING II recruitment process. Shona has more than 20 years of experience in the management of scientific research in academic institutionsBefore joining the MRC Human Genetics Unit, she was the laboratory integration manager for Generation Scotland. Shona graduated from King’s College London with a PhD in Biochemistry then carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and MRC Human Genetics Unit, before moving into project management. To relax, Shona likes gardening and cooking for her family and friends

David Buchanan, Database Manager

Data manager (David) and Administrator (Rachel)

David joined the team in March 2019 and has developed the IT systems for the VIKING II study. David’s roles include helping the participants with any technical issues and managing the IT systems. 

David has worked in clinical research for over 15 years as a software developer and data manager working on several large randomised clinical trials. When he's not working David volunteers for Cancer Research UK and enjoys playing the guitar.

Rachel Edwards, Administrator

Rachel provides administrative support to the Project Manager and Chief Investigator for Viking II. Her tasks include responsibility for the website and social media. She is also the person who will answer the phone if you call VIKING Genes. Rachel also works as administrator for 'Generation Scotland', a large Scottish biobank. In her spare time, she likes to wakeboard, snowboard and dance ballet and tap.

Quantitative Traits in Health and Disease ("QTL Group")

Funding was received from the Medical Research Council (MRC) for the Quantitative Traits in Health and Disease programme at the MRC Human Genetics Unit. The VIKING II component of this programme is led by Prof. Jim Wilson. The three other Chief Investigators of the QTL Group are: Prof. Chris Haley, Prof. Caroline Hayward and Dr. Veronique Vitart.