School of Public Health

Faculty Biographies

Professor Elio Riboli

Course Director, Imperial College London

Professor Elio Riboli is Director of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, rated one of the top two epidemiology and public health submissions to the UK’s Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2009. He holds an M.D. degree (1977, State University of Milan), a Master of Public Health (1980, Milan) and a Master of Science in Epidemiology (1982, Harvard University). Professor Riboli is a Registered Physician (General Medical Council, UK, 2005) and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (2008).

From 1983 to 2005 Professor Riboli was based at Lyon’s the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), where he developed new research projects in the areas of nutrition, nutritional status and cancer. In 1989 he initiated the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), which sampled data from 500,000 subjects across 26 centres in ten countries. He was Head of the Nutrition and Hormones Group of IARC from 2004 to 2005.

Professor Riboli has co-authored over 310 peer-reviewed publications and over 100 book chapters and books and serves on editorial boards of major journals on nutrition, cancer and epidemiology.

In 2005 he joined Imperial College London as Professor of Cancer Epidemiology; in 2006 he was appointed Divisional Head of Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care, and became Director when the School of Public Health was established in January 2010.

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Dr Petra Wark

Course Organiser, Imperial College London

Petra has a MSc in Biomedical Health Sciences from the University of Nijmegen in 2000 (now Radboud University; major: epidemiology; minors: oncology, nutrition, psychology) and a PhD from Wageningen University, the Netherlands. Her thesis examined the relationships of dietary, lifestyle, and heritable risk factors with histopathological and molecular characteristics of colorectal polyps and cancer. Whilst working on her PhD, she completed several courses in Applied Statistics and Biostatistics at Hasselt University, Belgium (2000-2003), and she was as guest researcher at the Department of Nutrition of Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, US for nine months (2003). From 2005 to 2008 she worked at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology and Genetics Group; she was amongst others, involved in studies on the long-term health effects of the use of ovulation-stimulation drugs and immunosuppression, and contributed to the design of a feasibility study of a randomized controlled trial on vitamin D and longevity (VIDAL). Petra's interest in teaching and education became clear when she was doing LSHTM's Introductory Certificate in Learning and Teaching (2007-2008), and is currently working towards completion of the full postgraduate certificate. At Imperial College London, Petra is now working on the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, is leading the self-reported exposure assessment for a new cohort being established at Imperial, is looking into improved methods to measure diet and lifestyle, and remains involved in the VIDAL study. She is also the course organiser of the International Course in Nutritional Epidemiology, and actively contributes to epidemiology teaching for the MSc in Modern Epidemiology and Master in Public Health programmes.

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Dr Kate Allen

World Cancer Research Fund International

Dr Kathryn Allen is currently working as Director (Science and Communications) at WCRF International. She is responsible for the scientific programmes of WCRF International and is closely involved in facilitating collaboration across the WCRF global network on science-related activities. Kate was part of the executive team overseeing the development of the WCRF/AICR second expert report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective and the companion Policy Report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention.

Kate is also responsible for the development and management of the network websites and is particularly interested in developing and promoting the educational activities of WCRF International, both electronically and via more traditional routes.

Previously Kate worked at The Institute of Cancer Research in London and Sutton, where she set up an Interactive Education Unit (www.ieu.icr.ac.uk) developing electronic materials for scientists, healthcare professionals, students, patients and the general public. Prior to that she worked at Medi Cine International, a medical education agency, where she developed educational materials across all media, mainly for specialist physician audiences.

Before joining Medi Cine, Kate worked as a scientist at the Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square, London, looking at the molecular basis of energy metabolism during stroke. Her PhD studies, for which she was awarded the Queen Square prize, were undertaken at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and involved the use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging to study brain function after stroke.

In addition to her work at WCRF International, Kate retains an honorary position with the Institute of Cancer Research.

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Dr Toby Athersuch

Imperial College London

Dr Toby Athersuch was appointed to the MRC-HPA Centre for Environment & Health as a Lecturer in Environmental Toxicology & Biomarkers in March 2010. This appointment at Imperial College London is jointly held between Biomolecular Medicine in the Department of Surgery & Cancer, and The Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics in the School of Public Health.

His research is primarily focused on the development and application of state-of-the-art analytical techniques such as high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic and mass spectrometric (MS) methods to the study of molecular mechanisms of human disease processes. The application of metabolic profiling and other integrated post-genomic profiling technologies to answering epidemiological questions using various study designs is a rapidly expanding field of research, and requires the development of profiling techniques to underpin the required individual-level analyses.

Toby has also developed multivariate statistical tools to aid data analysis, visualization and interpretation of the complex data generated by these techniques and has been involved in the development of bioinformatic approaches for the integration of metabolic profile data with transcriptomics and other phenotypic endpoints. His previous experience includes acting as the primary analyst for metabonomics in two large EU-funded project consortia (carcinoGENOMICS and EnviroGenomarkers), aimed at deriving biomarkers of chemical exposure and disease risk as part of investigations in human carcinogenesis and cancer.  By necessity, advances in these areas will require further development of appropriate analytical and data analysis methods that address the needs of epidemiological investigations.

He is responsible for coordinating the MRC-HPA Centre for Environment & Health PhD Training Programme, which will include organisation of events for newly recruited students and existing students, associated with Centre Members.

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Professor Paul Elliott

Imperial College London

Prof Paul Elliott trained in clinical medicine and epidemiology as a Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellow at St Mary's Hospital London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He worked as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in Epidemiology at LSHTM before he became Head of the Environmental Epidemiology Unit in 1990. He moved to Imperial College in 1995 when he was appointed Head of Department for Epidemiology and Public Health. He holds positions as Honorary Consultant in Public Health for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Kensington & Chelsea Primary Care Trust. Prof Elliott is the lead principal investigator for several major research projects including MRC Centre for Environment and Health (funded by MRC and HPA) to be held jointly by Imperial (as lead institution) and King's College London. Aims are to create a centre of excellence in research and training integrating research on environmental epidemiology, exposure assessment, air and water pollution, biomarkers and toxicology.

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Professor Majid Ezzati

Imperial College London

Majid Ezzati is the Chair in Global Environmental Health at Imperial College London.   His research focuses on the exposure to and health effects of environmental, behavioural, nutritional, and metabolic risk factors and their interventions. His research group has conducted field research in Kenya, Ghana, and The Gambia.  He led the World Health Organization’s collaborative project on risk factors (titled “the Comparative Risk Assessment Project”) which appeared in the World Health Report 2002: Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life and is currently leading the Comparative Risk Assessment component of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2010 Study and the Global Burden of Metabolic Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases.

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Dr Laurence Freedman

Gertner Institute for Epidemiology, Israel

Laurence (Larry) Freedman is currently Director of the Biostatistics Unit at the Gertner Institute for Epidemiology at Tel Hashomer, Israel, where he directs a research and consulting program in biostatistics and advises the government on public health policy. He has published extensively in the biostatistical literature on topics including therapeutic and prevention trials, epidemiology, and nutrition, with particular emphases on cancer research and nutritional epidemiology. He has previously worked for the British Medical Research Council and the US National Cancer Institute, where he was Acting Branch Chief of the Biometry Branch from 1993-6, and was part of the team that developed the Women's Health Initiative and the AARP Nutritional Cohort Study. He was founding co-editor of Statistics in Medicine, and has also served as co-Editor of Biometrics. He helped to establish the Eastern Mediterranean Region of the International Biometric Society, and was elected the first President of the Region. From 1996 until 2006 he served as Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Joint Cancer Registration Project of the Middle East Cancer Consortium, which supports and coordinates cancer registration in Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority and Turkey, and co-edited a NCI monograph on cancer incidence in that part of the world. In 2008, he received an award for outstanding contributions to the International Biometric Society, and also delivered the annual Armitage lecture to the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, UK.

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Professor Philippe Froguel

Imperial College London

Professor Froguel is the Head of the Department of Genomics of Common Diseases. He is a physician and diabetologist with a research focus on the cause of type II diabetes and its link to obesity. In particular, he aims to develop more personalised medicines for diabetic and obese patients by finding genetic biomarkers and customising the treatment accordingly. Sequencing the entire genome of diabetic and obese patients could aid disease treatment and prevention strategies. There are 700,000 people in UK with morbid obesity and this figure is rising. Although environmental factors are important, genetics also play a role. With genetic data it could be possible to stratify people according to their genetics then correlate this information with the environmental factors they experience. Professor Froguel’s work could help reduce this obesity in the UK and beyond.

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Professor Gary Frost

Imperial College London

Professor Gary Frost is Chair in Nutrition and Dietetics at Imperial College London. He qualified as a dietician in 1982 and has always maintained a clinical input throughout his career. He was appointed to Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Imperial College in January 2008. Prior to this, Gary had eighteen years of experience at Hammersmith Hospital. Over his time at Hammersmith he gained his PhD in Nutrition and was appointed Honorary Reader in Nutrition at Imperial College, then joined the University of Surrey as Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2005. His areas of interest include dietary carbohydrates, obesity management, and nutrition in the elderly and hospitalized patient. Recently, Gary was awarded an NIHR Senior Investigator Award. Also, his Research Group was awarded a BBSRC DRINC Project Grant to investigate the role of propionate in appetite regulation.

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Dr Marc Gunter

Imperial College London

Dr. Gunter is Reader in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College. He is a molecular epidemiologist with a strong interest in cancer aetiology and prevention. Dr. Gunter completed his doctoral training at Cambridge University before being awarded a research fellowship at the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the U.S National Cancer Institute (NCI) where he was the recipient of the NCI fellowship achievement award and the fellow’s award for research excellence. Prior to joining the faculty of medicine at Imperial College, Dr Gunter was Assistant Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Dr. Gunter’s research focuses on the role of obesity and hormonal pathways in cancer development and survival and he is principal investigator on several large molecular epidemiology studies that investigate the role of obesity-related molecular pathways in relation to breast, colorectal and endometrial cancer. In addition to the development of large, cohort-based studies, Dr. Gunter employs smaller, clinic-based investigations to evaluate methodological issues that are relevant to molecular epidemiologic studies. Dr. Gunter collaborates extensively with laboratory scientists and clinicians and is also actively involved in teaching and mentoring graduate students.

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Professor Michael Leitzmann

University of Regensburg, Germany

Michael Leitzmann is Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Regensburg, Germany. He holds an MD from the University of Berlin and an MPH in Quantitative Methods and a doctorate in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. His main research interests include the interrelationships between physical activity, body size, and diet and the development and prognosis of chronic disease, particularly cancer. Prior to his appointment at Regensburg University, he was an investigator at the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, where he served as co-principal investigator of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, a prospective cohort of over 500,000 U.S. women and men. In addition, he led the Shanghai Physical Activity Study, an investigation aimed at developing a comprehensive physical activity questionnaire with standardized questions about all types and parameters of physical activity and assessing the validity and reliability of that instrument using an accelerometer and a fitness test.

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Professor Lefkos Middleton

Imperial College London

Professor Middleton is a physician neurologist, Professor of Neurology and Honorary Consultant with the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Hospitals. He trained in clinical medicine and neurology at the Louis Pasteur University Hospital in Strasbourg and obtained the French National Board in Neurology. Between 1980 and 1982 he was Fellow of Presbyterian Hospital and Assistant Professor, Columbia University, New York in Clinical Neurology. His initial research was in clinical electromyography and neurogenetics of inherited neuromuscular diseases. Professor Middleton was awarded, in 1990, a US- AID centre grant to create the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING), of which he became first Chairman (1990-1999). In 1999 he joined GlaxoWellcome as Head of Medical Genetics and then served as Vice President and Head of the new GSK- R&D Division of Translational Medicine and Genetics (TMG), based in London. In this role, he led the development of the Clinical Imaging Centre at the Hammersmith Hospital. His group also included the Experimental Medicine Unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, biomarker laboratories in the US and medical genetics groups in the UK, US, Italy and Japan. He served on the Medical Research Council in years 2005-2008 and is, currently, non executive director of the West London NHS Mental Health Trust.
He joined Imperial College London (ICL) in 2007 as Professor of Neurology, Head of the Division of Neuroscience and Mental Health (2007-2010) and Honorary Consultant Neurologist of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. He currently holds the chair of Neurology in the Neuroepidemiology and Ageing Research Unit at the School of Public Health. His current research focus is in the contribution of genetic and environmental risk factors in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and in prevention strategies for these diseases.

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Dr Panagiota Mitrou

World Cancer Research Fund International

Dr Panagiota Mitrou received her M.Sc. in Genetic Manipulation and Molecular Biology from the University of Sussex and her Ph.D. in Genetic Epidemiology from Cambridge University. She conducted doctoral research under the supervision of Professor Sheila Rodwell (professionally known as Professor Sheila Bingham) at the Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, Cambridge, where she investigated polymorphisms in xenobiotic and folate metabolism genes in relation to colorectal adenoma and cancer risk. She joined the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) within the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the US, as a visiting fellow in 2005. At NCI, she worked on dietary risk factors of cancer, including the role of dietary patterns, within the framework of large, epidemiological studies.

Dr Mitrou is currently the Deputy Head of Science (Development, Strategy and Programmes) at the World Cancer Research Fund International with main responsibilities the strategic development and management of effective and efficient research and education programmes.

Also, she is an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at the MRC Centre in Nutritional Epidemiology of Cancer Prevention and Survival (CNC), University of Cambridge, with main research interests the role of lifestyle factors including dietary factors in carcinogenesis related pathways.

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Mr Neil Murphy

Imperial College London

Neil graduated in Nutrition from King’s College London and then completed the MSc in Modern Epidemiology at Imperial College.  He is currently in the third year of his PhD which is investigating the relationship between vitamin D and cancer incidence and mortality in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.  Alongside his PhD research he has also been analysing the relationships between various dietary risk factors and colorectal cancer within EPIC.

He attended the International Course in Nutritional Epidemiology in 2010 as a participant and in 2011 as a Faculty member.

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Dr Teresa Norat

Imperial College London


Dr. Norat is an epidemiologist working as Principal Research Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Imperial College London since 2007. She is coordinating the World Cancer Research Fund Continuous Update Project at Imperial College. She worked from 1998 to 2006 in the Unit of Nutrition at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon where she collaborated in the large European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and Cancer (EPIC). Her research focuses on the role of nutrition, lifestyle, metabolic factors and genetic factors in the aetiology of chronic diseases, in particular cancer in EPIC.

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Dr Dora Romaguera

Imperial College London

Dr Dora Romaguera graduated in Pharmacy (University of Barcelona, 2002) and received her MSc in Public Health Nutrition (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2003) and her PhD in Public Health and Human Nutrition (University of the Balearic Islands, 2007). Her thesis examined the nutritional status and diet quality of populations undergoing the Nutrition Transition in both developed and developing countries. As part as her PhD, she designed and conducted the field work of a nutritional assessment study of indigenous populations living in the Andean regions of Argentina (2005). Also, during her PhD she spent three months as a guest researcher in the Public Health Nutrition Unit, University of Athens Medical School (2006). Since 2007 she is working as a Research Associate in Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Imperial College of London. Her current research is focussed on the study of dietary determinants (with specific emphasis on dietary pattern analyses) of metabolic diseases such as obesity, central adiposity and type 2 diabetes. Also, she is involved in a study looking at the individual and combined effect of lifestyle factors, the metabolic syndrome, chronic inflammation, and genetic predisposition on cancer risk.

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Dr Amy Subar

National Cancer Institute, USA

Amy F. Subar, PhD, MPH, RD, is a research nutritionist at the National Cancer Institute. She received her BS in Dietetics at the State University College at Buffalo; an MPH at the University of Minnesota; and a PhD at Syracuse University. Her research interests include developing, designing, and carrying out nutrition research related to dietary methods, development of dietary instruments, measurement error, dietary surveillance, and nutritional epidemiology.

Dr. Subar directed the development and evaluation of a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), called the Diet History Questionnaire. This work encompassed all areas of questionnaire development: cognitive issues, methods to determine food and portion size lists, methods for creating nutrient databases for FFQs, testing of response rates, and validation. This FFQ is also available as a web-based instrument. Dr. Subar was a Principle Investigator for research focused on understanding measurement error in both FFQs and dietary recalls in the biomarker-based Observing Protein and Energy Nutrition, or OPEN Study. She has focused on analyses of underreporting, methods for surveillance of usual dietary intake, and development of short dietary screener instruments. Dr. Subar led a project to develop a web-based automated self-administered 24-hour dietary recall using multimedia computer technology which is now available for use by the research community. This instrument will be evaluated in a study comparing it to standard interviewer-administered 24-hour dietary recalls and in a large recovery biomarker study. Dr. Subar serves as a past member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and is member of the American Dietetic Association and the American Society for Nutrition. She has published more than 140 articles on dietary assessment, dietary surveillance, and nutritional epidemiology.

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Dr Anne-Claire Vergnaud

Imperial College London

Dr Anne-Claire Vergnaud received her MSc in Mathematical engineering in biology, statistics applied to social sciences and epidemiology (University of Paris V, 2005) and her PhD in Public Health and Epidemiology (University of Paris V / Paris XI, 2008). Her thesis examined the determinants of weight gain and weight fluctuations and their consequences on cardiovascular disease risk. Since 2008, she is working as a Research Associate in Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College of London. Her current research focussed on two distinct projects: the dietary determinants of weight gain in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) and the effect of airwave exposure on health as well as the association between arterial stiffness, cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive function in the ongoing Airwave Health Monitoring Study.

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Dr Heather Ward

Imperial College London

Dr Heather Ward is a Research Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Imperial College, London.  She received a BSc in Health Studies from the University of Waterloo (Canada, 2003), an MSc in Nutritional Science from the University of Toronto (Canada, 2005), and a PhD in Epidemiology from  the University of Cambridge (2011).   Drawing on data from the Ontario Food Survey, the Canadian Community Health Survey 2.2, and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk study, she has conducted research on lifestyle factors as mediators of socioeconomic patterns in obesity, phytoestrogen intake and the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers, dietary assessment methods, and diet in relation to heart disease.  Her current research includes the development of a questionnaire and training material for Biobank Qatar, and an analysis of physical activity and mortality in the EPICstudy. 

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Professor Martin Wiseman

World Cancer Research Fund International

Professor Martin Wiseman is Medical and Scientific Adviser with World Cancer Research Fund International. He was project director for the 2007 WCRF/AICR expert report Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective and its companion report Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention. Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity: a Global Perspective, published in February 2009.

In addition, he is a visiting professor at Southampton University. From 1986 he was head of the Nutrition Unit at the Department of Health, where he had responsibility for nutrition science, including the work of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy; for nutrition surveys; and for advising on and implementing nutrition policy. He qualified from Guy's Hospital in London in 1975. He became a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1977 and followed a traditional career path as a general physician until 1981 when he developed an interest in clinical research. He has published papers on diabetes and kidney function and the effects of nutrition on them. He moved to the Department of Health in 1986 but still retains an appointment within the NHS, where he continues with clinical activities in a diabetes clinic.

He was Honorary External Relations Officer of the Nutrition Society from 2001 to 2006. He is Chair of the Management Team of the Intercollegiate Group on Nutrition of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Royal College of Pathologists.

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Previous Course Director

Dr Arthur Schatzkin

The course faculty is joined in remembering the great scientific and personal contribution to the design and establishment of this course given by the late Dr Arthur Schatzkin. He will be greatly missed.

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About the Course

Faculty

Previous Course Director