You can find a list of all my reseach outputs here.
I’m interested in addressing important contemporary questions around the health and wellbeing of women and young people. To do this, I use population-level “big data”, including data on genetics and epigenetics (i.e. “molecular” epidemiology).
Women’s reproductive health
The menstrual cycle and menstrual health
I established the Menarche, Menstruation, Menopause and Mental Health (4M) consortium to facilitate collaborative research into how the menstrual cycle interacts with mental health. This association is likely to be extremely complex and multidirectional, involving interactions between genetics, reproductive hormones and other physiological processes, but also environmental factors including lifestyle and social, political and structural influences on health and wellbeing.
My PhD was entitled Comprehensive data analysis to study parturition (“parturition” = childbirth). Since my PhD, I’ve been involved with several studies of pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.
Early life and prenatal influences on child and adult health
I’m interested in how our early environments and experiences can shape our health and wellbeing into adulthood.
Traditionally, research on the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) has focused on the influence of the lifestyle of pregnant women on the health of their children. Although much of the evidence has been correlative (rather than showing robust causal effects), it has been used to back up public health policies and clinical practices that seek to change pregnant women’s behaviour. Through my research, I have tried to improve the causal evidence base in DOHaD by studying potentially causal biological mechanisms and using genetic and statistical approaches to infer causality. I have also tried to expand the traditional focus on pregnant women to study paternal factors and the wider social determinants of health as well.
Cleft lip and/or palate
Some of my research has focused more specifically on particular conditions in children; exploring the early-life causes of these conditions, as well as the consequences. Most notably, I’m a key member of the Cleft Collective research team at the University of Bristol, where I’ve led research on the epidemiology of cleft lip and/or palate.