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Dr Damian Farnell FHEA, MInstP, MIPEM

Dr Damian Farnell


Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics

School of Dentistry

Available for postgraduate supervision



I am a senior lecturer of applied mathematics in dentistry at the School of Dentistry at Cardiff University, UK and module leader for the postgraduate course entitled "Research Methods" (DET031). I am also the head of the Dental Data Science Research Group.

Research Interests

  • Dental Data Science
  • Medical and dental research: epidemiology & statistical analysis of laboratory and clinical studies data
  • Medical imaging and image processing
  • Mathematical Biology
  • Quantum magnetism, especially “frustrated” magnetic systems



  • PhD entitled “Integrable and Non-Integrable Quantum Arrays” (1994) University of Manchester Institute for Science and Technology (UMIST), UK.
  • BSc (1st class) in Mathematical Physics (1991) University of Manchester Institute for Science and Technology (UMIST), UK.

Honours and awards


Recent Grants Awarded

  • £1140. An Exploration of Functional Analysis of Dynamical Changes in Biological Shapes. Applicant: Damian J.J. Farnell. (Travel Grant from the London Mathematical Society. Awarded in June 2022.)
  • £9480. How Do People Read “Designed To Smile” Information Leaflets? An Exploratory Mixed-Methods Approach. Applicant: Damian J.J. Farnell. (Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) as an Innovation Grant. Awarded in December 2021).

Professional memberships

Academic positions

  • From 2014-present: Lecturer/Senior lecturer of Applied Mathematics in Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, UK.
  • 2011-2014: Senior Lecturer in Mathematics, University of South Wales, UK.
  • 2007-2011: Research Statistician, University of Manchester, UK.
  • 2003-2006: Lecturer in Ophthalmic Imaging, St. Paul’s Eye Unit + University of Liverpool, UK.
  • 1995-2003: Post-doctoral researcher (theoretical physics and medical research).
  • 1994-1995: Software engineer, Logica UK Ltd.

Committees and reviewing


  • Dental Research Ethics Committee (vice chair)
  • Dental Research Committee
  • College Data Strategy Committee
  • MSc Dental Subject Boards


  • Journal reviewer
  • Grant reviewer


  • Data Guardian Healthwise Wales
































  • Module leader for module entitled "Research Methods" for postgraduate students in the School of Dentistry.
  • Academic tutor for second-year undergraduate dental students
  • MSc and PhD supervision

    Dental Data Science Research Group

    We leverage medical and dental data to improve patient outcomes and experiences in the UK. We will guide our work by promoting fairness, openness, honesty, and equality and ensuring quality and excellence in our research.

    Activities of this research group are:

    • Research into dental images & signals, including 3D Surface Imaging. (Maths methods research also.)
    • Statistical analysis & research design support for staff and students in the school of dentistry (and beyond) 
    • Data management, storage, and analysis (including issues of Open Data).
    • Teaching: Research Methods; Statistics; Critical Appraisal

    3D Surface Imaging and Shape Modelling

    Research in the Orthodontics and 3D Imaging Research group (now part of the Dental Data Science Research Group) uses 3D facial imaging in order to "explain facial variation (biological make-up, anatomy, facial surface morphology and function) to inform a fully functioning biomechanical head model which is of value to improve healthcare interventions, improve wellbeing and quantify facial variation for face-wear, facial identification/forensics and computer interface industries."

    My research focusses on developing mathematical models of 3D facial shape in order to achive the aims above. I have developed a multilevel principal components analysis (mPCA) code that allows us to model different sources of variations at different levels of the model. Recent research successes using the mPCA approach via this code have been:

    Automated Retinal Image Analysis (ARIA) dataset

    I was the principal researcher for the ARIA project at St. Paul's Eye Unit, RLUHT (2003-2006). This involved the recruitment of patients, retinal photography, and image analysis of resulting digital fundus photographs.

    • Please click here to access the freely available ARIA dataset, which is a directory of images collected by myself and members of staff of St Paul's Eye Unit and the University of Liverpool as part of this project.

    CCCM (crystallographic coupled cluster method)

    CCCM is a high-order CCM (coupled cluster method) code for lattice spin systems at T=0 by Damian J. J. Farnell (DF).

    • Historically, this code is based on "foundations" laid by Ray Bishop and John Parkinson (amongst others), and Chen Zeng's work in the 90's on the high-order code.
    • This code has been exploited and pushed forward by Damian Farnell and Sven Krüger primarily.
    • Joerg Schulenburg (JS) improved this code greatly and he has set up this webpage for distribution of the most recent code.

    COVID-19 bereavement 

    A joint study between Bristol and Cardiff Universities (and beyond), which aims to understand the grief experiences and support needs of people who have been bereaved either due to COVID-19 or another cause of death during the pandemic. This study explores peoples' experiences at the end of life of loved ones (family or close friend) and of grieving, as well as any support that people felt needed during bereavement (and what support they actually received).

    • Please follow this link for more information at the study website.
    • To access the first report from this study, please click on click here;
    • To see ITV News At Ten coverage, please click here
    • To see Sky News coverage, please click here.


    Current PhD supervision

    • New PhD student starting in October 2022 on Evaluating the Dahl Effect in dentistry,

    Past projects

    Previous PhD supervision

    • Lead supervisor (PhD awarded in 2022; 50%) of Mr. Sam Evans. Project: description and interpretation of bruises sustained from physical abuse.
    • Co-supervisor (PhD awarded in 2021; 33%) of Dr. Jennifer Galloway. Project: 3D facial shape analysis.
    • Co-supervisor (PhD awarded in 2019; 50%) of Dr. Nor Azlida Binti Mohd Nor. Project: Impact of fluoride concentration in water supply on oral health. (Cardiff University.)
    • Co-supervisor (PhD awarded in 2006; 50%) of Dr. Kathryn Cracknell. Project: Latanoprost Induced Iris Darkening in Colour Images of the Eye for Glaucoma Patients. (University of Liverpool.)