Symposium 2016

Symposium 2013

Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th July 2016

Current challenges, recent research, new directions

This international symposium attracts researchers actively involved in the development, evaluation or regulation of biomarkers, diagnostic modalities or other medical tests.

The development of a reliable and highly effective diagnostic suite for clinical use is arguably the most important area of medical research. Rapid technological progress coupled with the significant methodological complexities involved in both developing and evaluating tests create formidable challenges to our research.

Yet these challenges are matched by unique opportunities, while the wide array of diagnostic sub-disciplines create an exciting milieu for the generation of new ideas and directions.

This symposium provides a forum for disseminating knowledge at the forefront of current research, and for stimulating dialogue that will propel future thought and endeavours to tackle the methodological and practical complexities facing the medical diagnostics field today.

The 2016 event is specifically aimed at bringing together researchers from the diverse reaches of test evaluation, from in vitro test developers, industry and regulatory representatives, through to methodologists, guideline developers and practising clinicians, in the hope of improving current understanding through knowledge exchange, and forging our diverse experiences and perspectives to delineate the future direction of diagnostic test research.

In this respect, it is the only conference in the world that provides a platform dedicated to the investigation of medical tests.

Taking place over two days, the symposium takes the form of thematic plenary sessions. Each session will be introduced by an invited speaker who is a leading international expert in the field, followed by several submitted oral presentations.

Themes for 2016...

The methodological themes for MEMTAB 2016 are:

1.       Methodological challenges in identifying over-diagnosis

2.       Methods for pre-clinical and laboratory validation of new tests

3.       Challenges in primary studies evaluating medical tests

4.       Cutting edge methods for meta-analysis and systematic reviews

5.       Use of routine data for evaluating medical tests

6.       Industry-academia collaborations

7.       Methodological issues in personalised and stratified medicine

8.       Guidelines, policy setting and implementation for medical tests

9.       Issues in evaluating prognostic, predictive and monitoring tests

Submissions of abstracts on these themes, or others related to methodological issues in the evaluation of medical tests, are welcome.


How much does it cost?

Delegates from not-for-profit organisations:
Early bird discounted fee up to and including 22nd May 2016 - £350 
Standard registration fee after 22nd May 2016 - £425

Delegates from commercial organisations:
Early bird discounted fee up to and including 22nd May 2016 - £350 
Standard registration fee after 22nd May 2016 - £425

What’s Included in the Conference Fee?

• Access to oral and poster sessions
• Conference pack
• Lunch and refreshments
• Conference dinner

**Please note Accommodation is not included in the conference fee.**

How to Register for the Conference

For conference registration, we are using a facility run by the University of Birmingham called the Online Shop. When you proceed to registration and payment below, a new browser window will open containing the online store.

Here are brief instructions to guide you through the process:

1. The online shop link below takes you straight to our conference event. If you cannot see the conference, please go to the ‘search’ box on the left hand side of the screen and enter the name of our conference: “Methods for Evaluating Medical Tests and Biomarkers”.
2. Select ‘Book Event’
3. You will now be asked to Log in. If you have attended previous MEMTAB symposia your previous login details will work. If not, you are required to set up a username and password. Please note this is solely for the purposes of the online shop, and none of this information will be passed to conference organisers.
4. When you register you will need to choose one type of ticket. Please select either the option for not-for-profit organisation or commercial organisation.
5. When you have made all your selections
Select ‘Proceed to checkout’
6. You will be asked to confirm your purchases, enter your payment details and complete your transaction. To proceed to registration and payment please go to the online shop 

If you have any queries regarding this process please contact us at:
We will endeavour to respond to all queries within 24hours.

Confirmation of Registration

You will receive an email from the online shop confirming your selected options and payment. If you have any queries, please contact us at:  

Cancellation Policy

Full terms and conditions are provided by the online store.

Abstract submission...

Delegates are invited to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentation, particularly on the themes above.

Each session will address one of the themes above and consists of:
• a plenary session given by an invited keynote speaker
• several submitted oral presentations
• invited questions from the audience

Limited time has also been reserved for presentations on any other topic of choice related to diagnostic test research.

The deadline for abstract submissions is Thursday 24th March 2016 
Notification of acceptance will be given by the 9th May 2016 

Oral Presentations:
Individual papers will be allocated 15 minutes, plus 5 minutes for questions.

Poster presentations:
You may submit specifically for a poster presentation. Alternatively, due to the limited number of slots available for oral presentations, we may recommend that a submission for oral presentation be given as a poster. Please indicate on the submission form if you would accept an offer for poster presentation.

The poster boards will accommodate an A0 poster in portrait orientation. 

How to Submit an Abstract:

1. Download the Submission Form [download Submission Form.doc].
2. Complete the form and attach it together with an electronic copy of your table or figure if applicable, to an email with subject heading: Abstract Submission 2016. Please specify the first author and presentation title in the body of the email.
3. Submit your abstracts to:  
4. You should receive email confirmation of receipt within 3 working days.

There is no limitation on the number of abstracts an author may submit. Please do not submit the same abstract more than once.

Important dates...

  • Early-bird registration open now
  • Call for abstracts open now
  • Abstract submission deadline: 24th March 2016
  • Abstract acceptance notification: by 9th May 2016
  • Early-bird registration closes 22nd May 2016
  • Standard registration opens 23rd May 2016
  • Online registration closes 30th June 2016


The 2016 symposium will be held at the University of Birmingham, UK. The university is convenient for travel from other parts of Britain – it has its own railway station – and is linked to Europe and the rest of the world via Birmingham International Airport.

The University of Birmingham
The University was founded in 1900 by the citizens of Birmingham who wanted their own university to train and educate the people who would create and manage the burgeoning businesses and industries of the midlands. It was natural, given the nature of Birmingham's industry, that the University should, from the start, teach the major scientific and engineering disciplines. It was also the first UK university to incorporate a Medical School. 

The Conference
The conference will take place in the Wolfson Centre, located in the University’s Medical School. (Building B1 in the blue zone of the university map) It is a well-equipped facility, recently developed for large academic events. Oral presentations will take place in the 450-seat tiered Leonard Deacon Lecture Theatre, poster sessions and refreshments will be located in a dedicated mezzanine, while breakfast and lunch will be served on the lower floor of the complex, in the Med Café. The Medical School is conveniently located at a one minute walk from University Train Station. There is also a bus-stop outside which connects to the city centre.

Conference Dinner: Tuesday 19th July

**Tickets are included in the Registration Fee**

The Jam House, central Birmingham


Please note accommodation is not included in the Registration Fee

Top Banana Venues are working in partnership with the University of Birmingham on this event. They have set up some fantastic rates at hotels located close to the University but also within easy walking distance of the centre of Birmingham and all its amenities. To book one of these hotels please go to the Top Banana Symposium webpage

Travel details...

If you are travelling by air, Birmingham International Airport is very convenient. Otherwise below we detail several routes from London Heathrow.

From Birmingham New Street Station 
New Street is the central railway station in Birmingham and is serviced by routes which cross the country north-south and east-west. To travel from New Street to the University, either take a taxi or take a local train in the direction of Longbridge or Redditch to University Station. During weekdays there are at least six trains per hour and the journey takes ten minutes.

University Station, located at the West Gate, is very convenient for the conference venue. Please refer to the Edgbaston university map for directions between the three locations.

From Birmingham International Airport
A taxi from the airport to the University takes about half an hour. 

Alternatively, take the free Air-Rail monorail link from your terminal to Birmingham International Station (operates every two minutes, journey time 90 seconds), then take a train to Birmingham New Street Station (journal time 15 minutes). When you arrive at New Street follow the instructions above.

Trains and Buses from London 
Birmingham is serviced by two train routes to London. Trains run regularly between London Euston and Birmingham New Street with a journey time of approximately 90 minutes. Fares vary according to time and class of travel. Please see the links below to book trains up to 3 months in advance for reductions.

A slower service also runs from London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill, which is a 5 minute walk from New Street through the centre of Birmingham. The journey time is between 2 and 2.5 hours. Again, booking in advance can reduce prices.

Alternatively take the National Express Bus to Digbeth Bus Station from Victoria Coach Station, located near Victoria Train Station. Buses run frequently, take around 3 hours. Digbeth has taxis outside the station for travel to your accommodation or the university.

From London Heathrow Airport

Routes avoiding London:

Routes that circumvent London provide the cheapest option.
National Express coaches run from the Central Bus Station at Heathrow to Birmingham Digbeth Bus Station, from where you can get a taxi to the university. The bus journey takes between 2.5 to 4 hours. Advance booking is possible and reduces the price.  For up-to-date costs please visit the National Express website, linked below.

Alternatively you can use the Rail-Air Bus service, a bus from Heathrow Central Bus Station and Terminal 4 to Reading Railway Station and from there a train to Birmingham New Street. A similar service will take you by bus to Watford Junction, where you can take the train to Birmingham New Street.

Routes through London: 

Travel through London is also possible, though more expensive. The underground (‘Tube’) Piccadilly Line connects all Heathrow terminals to the centre of London. Journey time is approximately 45-60 minutes.  The fare is reduced with purchase of an Oyster Card. Please visit the Transport for London link at the bottom of the page for full details on travel to and within London.

The quickest route to London is to take the Heathrow Express train to London Paddington Station. The journey time is only 15 minutes. Reduced fares can be purchased in advance by booking online. 

Travel Links

Please remember that train fares are expensive unless you buy in advance or travel at off-peak times (09:30-15:30).

For train times and fares, and to purchase rail tickets in advance, visit National Rail Enquiries or The Trainline  

For the Heathrow Express Train service, times and fares, please visit and
To plan your journey through London and view downloadable tube maps, visit Transport for London

For National Express coach times and fares, visit
For maps of the University of Birmingham campus see the university map

For more information on the City of Birmingham, see Visit Birmingham 

Symposium Programme...

The provisional programme for MEMTAB 2016 is:

















Welcome & Introduction


Jon Deeks






#1 Systematic review methods


User testing of test-treatment pathway derivation to help formulating focused diagnostic questions




Using machine learning and crowdsourcing for the identification of diagnostic test accuracy




Developing plain language summaries for diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) reviews




Prediction model study risk of bias assessment tool (PROBAST)







Break - Tea & Poster presentation viewing






#2 Meta-analysis for DTA reviews


Nonparameteric meta-analysis for diagnostic accuracy reviews




Meta-anlaysis of test accuracy studies using imputation for partial reporting of multiple thresholds




Modelling multiple biomarker threhsolds in meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy studies




Summarising and validating test accuracy results across multiple studies for use in clinical practice













#3 Assessing patient benefit and cost-effectiveness


Barriers to blinding: an analysis of feasibility of blinding in test-treatment RCTs




Measuring the impact of diagnostic tests on patient management decisions within three clinical trials




Comparison of international evidence review processes for evaluating changes to the newborn blood spot test




Reviewing the quantity and quality of evidence available to inform NICE diagnostic guidance, initial results focusing on end-to-end studies




Use of decision modelling in economic evaluations of diagnostic test: an appraisal of Health Technology Assessments in the UK since 2009







Break - Tea & Poster presentation viewing






#4 Estimating and Comparing test accuracy


Methodological challenges in using primary care routine data for the diagnosis of cancer




Clinical utility of prediction models for ovarian tumour diagnosis: a decision curve analysis




Adjusting for indirectness in comparative test accuracy meta-analyses




Empirical assessment of univariate and bivariate meta-analyses for comparing the accuracy of diagnostic tests



         Introduction to the journal: BMC Diagnostic and prognostic research    Moons












#5 Overdiagnosis and stratified medicine




De Konig


Estimates of excess cancer incidence and cancer deaths avoided in Great Britain from 1980-2012: the potential for over diagnosis




Identifying the utility and disutility associated with the over-diagnosis of early breast cancers for use in the economic evaluation of breast screening programmes




Systematic review of frameworks for staged evaluation of predictive biomarkers




Treatment selection markers: benefit functions, marker selections and indication bias







Break - Tea & Poster presentation viewing






#6 Evaluating and using reliability and variability


The experience of a Diagnostic Evidence Cooperative (DEC) in working with industry to evaluation new medical tests


Anne von den Bruel


Biological variability studies: design analysis and reporting




Intra- and interrater agreement with quantitative positron emission tomography measures using variance component analysis




Robust novel tolerance intervals and correlated-errors-in variables regressions for equivalence and validation of new clinical measurement methods




Validation of using early modelling to predict the performance of a monitoring test – the use of the ELF biomarker in liver disease modelling and the ELUCIDATE trial













#7 Issues with the reference standard


The problem with composite reference standards




Diagnostic accuracy in the presence of an imperfect reference standard: challenges in evaluating latent class models specifications (a Campylobacter infection case)




Estimating the level of over-treatment in children pulmonary tuberculsos in the absence of can accuracy reference standard: a Bayesian latent class analysis




Measures to reduce the impact of missing data on the reference standard data when designing diagnostic test accuracy studies.







Break - Tea






#8 Prognostic model building and validation


Quantifying the impact of different approaches for handling continuous predictors on the performance of a prognostic model




Does ignoring clustering in multicentre data influence the performance of prediction models? A simulation study




A calibration hierarchy for risk models: strong calibration occurs only in utopia


Van Calster


The effects of treatment use when externally validating a prediction model that did not include treatment as a predictor







Closing Remarks


Jon Dee 

Please note – there may be some resequencing of the oral presentations within sessions.  The order and timings of the 8 sessions are now fixed.

Oral Presentations...

To be confirmed.

 hub sponsor

Co-sponsored by the Midland Hub for Trials Methodology Research (MHTMR)