Professor Paul Elliott, MBBS, PhD, FMedSci, trained in clinical medicine and epidemiology as a Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellow at St Mary's Hospital London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He studied for his PhD in Epidemiology on the INTERSALT Study under the mentorship of Professor Geoffrey Rose. He remained at the London School working as a lecturer, and subsequently as senior lecturer and reader in epidemiology before being appointed as Head of the Environmental Epidemiology Unit at LSHTM 1990. In 1995 he was appointed to the Chair in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine at Imperial College London. Since then he has managed the transformation of the Department of Public Health into the present Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health. The Department has expanded significantly during recent years to encompass a wide-ranging programme of health research and extensive collaborations with national and international research groups and hosting both honorary and visiting staff. Paul Elliott is also Director of the MRC Centre for Environment and Health, which was launched in 2009 (as the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health in collaboration with King's College London) and forms a major part of the Department and includes the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU). He is also an honorary consultant in public health medicine in the Directorate of Primary Care and Public Health of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the academic lead for the Informatics & Biobanking research theme of the Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. His contribution to public health research, most recently in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as director of the REACT surveillance study was recognised in the award of a CBE in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Leadership roles :
Head of Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Director of MRC Centre for Environment and Health
Director of Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU)
Director of Information Governance, Imperial College Academic Health Sciences Centre
Director of NIHR HPRU in Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards
Emeritus National Institute for Health Research Senior Investigator
Visiting Professor Nanyang Technological University Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (since 2016)
ACCEA platinum award holder (original award 2008)
Chair of REF2021 Sub-panel Unit of Assessment 2 for Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care
Key Research Interests:
Environmental epidemiology and small area health statistics
Genetic and molecular epidemiology, gene-environment interactions
Nutritional epidemiology - focus on diet, high blood pressure and cardiovascular and cardiometabolic diseases
Population cohort studies and population biobanks
Epidemiologic surveillance methodology
Non-ionising radiation and health
Key Research projects:
- The MRC Centre for Environment and Health was created in 2009 as the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health. In 2019 the Medical Research Council became the sole sponsor of the Centre, which is now an established a centre for excellence in research and postgraduate training in the field of environment and health. Research themes include Exposome and Health; Air Pollution, Noise and Health; Small Area Health Studies of Environment and Health. The Centre hosts postgraduate students and fellows funded by its PhD studentship and early career fellowship schemes. Outputs of the research are impacting on the development of health policies through the Centre’s Risk Assessment and Policy Evaluation research translation programme.
MRC Centre for Environment and Health
The Centre includes the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU), which has expertise to assess the risk to the health of the population from environmental factors by using routinely collected health and population data at a small-area scale. Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU)
- AIRWAVE health monitoring study - occupational cohort study of long-term health in relation to the use of the TETRA communication system by police force personnel. Funding: Home Office, 2003-2018, MRC/ESRC, 2018-2023. The baseline survey took place between 2004-2015, with extensive data collection by a computerised questionnaire, a range of physical measurements, and collection of a 50ml non-fasting blood sample. A programme of follow-up health-screens to participants at selected locations across the country is currently paused but planned to resume as soon as feasible. The ESRC and MRC are funding follow-up in Scotland and Wales . Airwave is now part of the national DPUK initiative and researchers interested in access the data can apply via the DPUK data portal.
- UK COSMOS - International cohort study of mobile phones and health with data on >100,000 UK mobile phone users, part of a major long-term cohort study with approx. 300,000 participants taking part across Europe - recruited in Denmark, France, Finland, The Netherlands, Finland and Sweden. Baseline data collection was in 2010-2012. In 2017 the first phase of follow-up was carried out with collection of data on participant health, mobile phone use and lifestyle. Data analysis and international collaborations are ongoing.
- SCAMP Study - cohort study which is following several thousand secondary school pupils in 39 schools across London from year 7 through to year 9. The aim of this study is to investigate whether children’s use of mobile phones and/or other technologies that use radio waves e.g. portable landline phones and wireless internet, affects their cognitive and behavioural development. The first round of follow-up data collection ended in July 2018. SCAMP Wave 2 is recently funded by the MRC.
- AIRLESS study - NERC-funded project on the Effects of air pollution on cardiopulmonary disease in urban and peri-urban residents in Beijing. Project led by Prof Frank Kelly (Imperial College London).
- UKDRI Imperial College Dementia Research Institute Foundation Award. Director Prof Paul Matthews. Funding from the MRC, Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK. The Centre's primary aim is to develop and apply novel approaches and research tools to the study of dementias to discover new disease mechanisms and therapeutic targets. Lead for programme on linking genetic, epidemiology and metabolic phenotyping in dementia in the context of ageing, environment and lifestyle.
Imperial College Dementia Research Institute
- NIHR Health Protection Research Unit on Health Impacts of Environmental Hazards. Director Prof Frank Kelly, King's College London (now at Imperial). The Unit has been investigating the impact of exposure to exogenous environmental chemicals and other pollutants, to gain improved understanding of the mechanism of their interaction with human systems in order to generate new knowledge on health risks to the human population. PI for Theme on Modes of Toxicity -Biochemical pathways from toxin to disease.
NIHR HPRU Health Impacts of Environmental Hazards
- NIHR Health Protection Research Unit on Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazard at Imperial College London. The Unit was launched in April 2020 in partnership with King's College London, Public Health England and the MRC Toxicology Unit in Cambridge. The Unit is collaborating closely with the MRC Centre for Environment and Health and the NIHR HPRU in Environmental Exposures and Health. Role: Director.
NIHR HPRU in Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards
- NIHR Health Protection Research Unit on Environmental Exposures and Health. The Unit was launched in April 2020 lead by Prof Frank Kelly (Imperial) in partnership with Public Health England, King's College London and the MRC Toxicology Unit in Cambridge. The Unit is collaborating closely with the MRC Centre for Environment and Health and the HPRU in Chemicals and Radiation Threats and Hazards.
NIHR HPRU in Environmental Exposures and Health
- INTERMAP international Collaborative study of dietary macro-and micro-nutrients and blood pressure and health. Blood pressure, dietary and urinary, anthropometric and questionnaire data were collected from 4680 men and women (40-59 years of age) recruited from 17 populations across 4 countries (Japan, China, U.K., U.S.A.) during 1997-1999. The INTERMAP data resource is currently being analysed for U.S. National Institutes of Health funded project on: Metabolic pathways underlying the contrasting sodium-blood pressure and DASH-OmniHeart-blood pressure relationships.
- U.S. National Institutes of Health funded project on Metabolomic signatures of coronary artery disease (CAD) associated genotypes in collaboration with Dr David Herrington (PI at Wake Forest University) and colleagues.
- HELIOS study - epidemiological cohort study to better predict and prevent the development of chronic conditions in the Singapore population. PI Professor John Chambers (at NTU & Imperial). A collaboration with Nanyang Technological University- Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, and the National Healthcare Group Singapore.
- The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) research programme is a series of studies that seek to improve understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic is progressing across England. To do this the progamme launched two studies in April 2020; REACT-1 and REACT-2. REACT-1 is a community survey of SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in England, based on repeated non-overlapping cross-sectional surveys of random samples of the population. At each round, self-administered throat and nose swabs and questionnaire data are collected from between 120,000 and 180,000 people ages 5 years and above, over a period of ~17 days, at approximately monthly intervals. The aim is to examine how widely the virus has spread and to identify any trends in prevalence.
REACT2 assessed several different antibody tests to see how accurate they are and how easily people can use them at home. Funded by Department of Health and Social Security. A Collaboration with the Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust and IPSOS MORI. REACT2 includes a sub-study of a sample of keyworkers recruited from the Airwave police cohort study and fire service personnel.
REACT 1 monthly results
- REACT is a contributing cohort to new the NIHR/UKRI CO-CONNECT project
REACT-GE (Multi-omics to identify biological pathways underlying severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection) is a partnership between Imperial College, Genomics England and the GenOMICC Consortium. This study aims to address gaps in our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 virus, in particular with respect to differences in disease susceptibility, severity of infection and disease mechanisms. A multi-omics approach - encompassing whole genome sequencing, proteomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic analyses - will be applied to a sample of c.8000 mild/asymptomatic cases, to identify biological pathways that are protective of or deleterious to the response to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- REACT-LC (Long COVID) is a new study funded by the UKRI, NIHR and DHSC as part of the Research into the Longer Term Effects of COVID-19 in Non-hospitalised Individuals programme. This study will involve people in the community who have taken part in the REACT study and investigate why some people with COVID-19 experience symptoms for several weeks or months (Long COVID), while others have a short illness or no symptoms. REACT-LC is a collaboration with Genomics England.
- UK Biobank - PI of approve project 236 on the genome-wide analysis of blood pressure in collaboration with colleagues at the William Harvey Institute, QMUL.
- The National Phenome Centre - a national facility based at Imperial College providing world-leading capacity in large-scale metabolic phenotyping for academic researchers and advanced training in metabolic phenotyping technologies. Funded by MRC and NIHR (2012-2017). Role: Co-Director during contract period and set up phase.
Imperial National Phenome Centre
- UK MED-BIO Medical Bioinformatics partnership: aggregation, integration, visualisation and analysis of large, complex data. MRC-funded initiative to build high performance computing and IT resource to support the integration, processing and storage of large scale biomedical ("big") data. Role: PI. Funded to September 2020.
- Imperial College London Biomedical Research Centre Informatics & Biobanking research theme. The theme aims to provide world-leading health analytics and patient, tissue and population resources, linked to deep phenotypic information, omics and clinical outcomes, forming the basis for recruitment into experimental medicine studies, prognostic research and biomarker discovery, validation and qualification across the BRC.
Through the NIHR Health Informatics Collaboration (NHIC) there is a move towards using routinely-collected electronic clinical data to provide insights into diseases and their clinical management. Role: BRC theme lead.
NIHR Imperial College Biomedical Research Centre
- EU HORIZON 2020 PhenoMeNal project developed a comprehensive and standardised e-infrastructure that supports the data processing and analysis pipelines for molecular phenotype data generated by metabolomics applications.
- Health Data Research UK (HDR-UK) London. Director: Professor Harry Hemingway (UCL). National initiative to create partnerships between researchers, innovators, data scientists, patient groups and the public to improve access to quality, large-scale health data and advanced analytics to investigate major public health questions. Role: associate director. Also contributing to the DISCOVER-NOW initiative - Health Data Research Hub for Real World Evidence
Health Data Research UK -London
- HDR-UK COVID-19 response - contributing to National Core Studies and Data & Connectivity initiatives.
HDR UK COVID-19 response
- UK Biobank. Roles: Founding member of the Steering Committee of UK Biobank and Chair of the Enhancements Working Group. Currently a member of the Strategic Oversight Committee.
AIRLESS - Prof Rod Jones (Cambridge), Prof Tong Zhu (Peking University), Prof Junfeng Zhang (Duke University), Prof Meiping Zhao and Yangfeng Wu (Peking University)
AIRWAVE - Prof Kate Hunt and Dr Evangelia Demou (University of Glasgow), Prof M van Tongeren (University of Manchester), Prof A McIntosh (University of Edinburgh), Prof R Lyons (Swansea University)
COMBI-BIO - D Herrington (Wake Forest University), P Greenland (Northwestern University), R Tracy (University of Vermont), E Evangelou (Ioannina University), C Gieger (Helmholtz Munich)
DPUK - Prof J Gallacher, University of Oxford
Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) - H Hemingway, C Dezateux, Ruth Gilbert (UCL), T Hubbard (KCL)
Health Protection Research Units - S Bouffler, T Gant (PHE), A Willis (MRC Toxicology Unit)
International Consortium on Blood Pressure (ICBP) consortium M Caulfield, P Munroe, Helen Warren, Michael Barnes (QMUL), L Wain (Leicester University)
INTERMAP International collaborative study of dietary macro-and micro-nutrients and blood pressure. J Stamler, L van Horn (Northwestern University), M Daviglus (University of Illinois), J Nicholson (Murdoch University), E Holmes (Edith Cowan University/Imperial College London)
LOLIPOP (London Life Sciences Prospective Population Cohort) Study - PI: J Kooner (Imperial College London) and J Chambers (NTU Singapore/Imperial). http://www.lolipopstudy.org/
Northern Finland Birth Cohorts - PI: Prof M-R Jarvelin
MRC Centre for Environment and Health - Dr J Samet (Denver University USA), Prof Chris Holmes (Turing Institute Oxford), Dr D Greenbaum (HEI), Prof S Richardson (MRC Biostatistics Unit Cambridge)
REACT - Prof Lord A Darzi (Imperial College London and Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust), Prof G Cooke, Dr S Riley, Prof H Ward (Imperial College London) and colleagues at Ipsos Mori
REACT-GE - Prof Sir Mark Caulfield (Genomics England)
REACT-LC - Prof Markus Ralser (UCL Crick Institute), Prof Thomas Hankemeier (Leiden University), Dr David Wraith (Birmingham University), Prof Claire Bambra & Prof Lynne Corner (University of Newcastle)
UK MED-BIO - R Lyons (CIPHER Swansea)
Teaching and Supervision:
Joint course coordinator (2018-2019) for Masters in Health Data Analytics and Machine Learning (led by Dr Marc Chadeau-Hyam) launched autumn 2018. Examinations Board member
MSc in Data Analytics and Machine Learning
Contributor to online Global Masters in Public Health launched autumn 2019 Global Masters in Public Health
Recent lectures contributed to these courses and modules at Imperial:
Module lectures for:
BSc in Global Health
MBBS Epidemiology in Practice
MSc in Epidemiology Principles of Global Epidemiology module and Social Epidemiology module and Disease Masterclass
Masters in Public Health
Masters in Preventive Cardiology: Nutrition and Weight Management module
MReS in Clinical Research: Human Nutrition module
Masters in Health Data Analytics and Machine Learning
Short courses including : International Nutritional Epidemiology (course director: Prof Elio Riboli); Global Health (course director Dr Daniela Fecht); Stat XP (course director Dr Marc Chadeau-Hyam).
Postgraduate PhD Student Supervision:
Arinbjorn Kolbeinsson Using deep learning to predict health outcomes based on MR imaging and other high dimensional data Joint supervision: Dr Ioanna Tzoulaki, Dr Korbinian Strimmer, Paul Elliott
Jennifer Griffin How does alcohol intake influence diet quality and contribute to cardiometabolic risk in a UK population? Joint supervision: Prof Gary Frost.
Anwar Al Baloul Diet and genetic interaction in the development of abdominal obesity. Joint supervision: Prof Gary Frost
Allison Gaines Integrating health and greenhouse gas emission metrics to promote sustainable diets. Joint supervision: Prof Bruce Neal
Barbara Bodinier Advanced statistical and computational approaches for exposome profiling and integration: Applications to cancer and environmental epidemiology. Joint supervision: Prof Marc Chadeau-Hyam and Prof Roel Vermeulen
Ishminder Kooner Defining metabolic disturbances underlying the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in South Asians compared to Europeans. Joint supervision: Prof John Chambers
Post-doctoral fellows under supervision:
Antonio Berlanga-Taylor, PhD MRC Intermediate Research Fellowship in Computational Biology award working on GWAS and post-GWAS characterisation of inflammation and disease: integrative analysis of genomes and phenomes in large epidemiological studies.
Oliver Robinson, PhD MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health Early Career Research Fellowship working on Assessing the impact of the early life exposome on child growth and adiposity. Primary supervisor Prof Paolo Vineis.
Assessor for Wellcome Trust clinical PhD 4i programme at Imperial.
Mentoring: academic mentor for the Academy of Medical Sciences mentorship scheme since 2012. Currently providing advice to 4 mid-career clinical scientists.