Chronic disease epidemiology

We are investigating how lifestyle, genetics, and metabolic factors are attributed to the causes of chronic conditions, with a particular focus on the environmental causes of these diseases.

Chronic disease epidemiology at Imperial College London

One of the most important challenges in global health is addressing the epidemic of chronic, non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Our research activities are focussed towards improving health, preventing disease, and influencing policy on a global scale.

Medical Research Council (MRC) Public Health England (PHE) Centre for Environment and Health

Jointly established in 2009 with King’s College London, the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health comprises over 50 investigators, alongside around 300 associated research staff and students. Its research contributes to the evidence that underpins environment and health policies nationally and globally.

The Centre includes the UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU), which maintains databases of over 300m geo-referenced national health records. Its Rapid Inquiry Facility enables the swift analyses of health statistics related to sources of environmental pollution, for governmental purposes.

The MRC-PHE Centre is also closely linked to the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre; set up in 2012 for large scale molecular phenotyping through the analysis of large epidemiological cohorts.

Current major cohort studies:


COSMOS – Cohort study of mobile phone use and health

This study, supported by the Department of Health, follows 300,000 adult mobile phone users across Europe over 30 years to investigate the impact the use of such technologies can have on long term neurocognitive performance.

Find out more on the COSMOS website

Showcase area

EPIC Project

EPIC study - European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition

This large study of over around 520,000 people across Europe, supported by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization (WHO), has been able to demonstrate that nutrition-related conditions, in particular obesity, are major risk factors for developing cancer. Other metabolic factors are linked to other chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Find out more on the EPIC study website

Showcase area


INTERMAP - INTERnational collaborative study of MAcronutrients, micronutrients and blood Pressure

This is a multi-centre, cross-sectional, epidemiologic investigation designed to help clarify unanswered questions regarding the role of dietary factors in the development of unfavourable blood pressure levels in adults.

Find out more on the INTERMAP website

Showcase area


LOLIPOP - London Life Sciences Prospective Population Study

Running since 2002, this major UK research study is investigating the mechanisms underlying heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and other major medical problems. Through detailed health assessments on more than 30,000 people living in West London, the study will follow volunteers for many years – observing who remains well over the long-term, and hopefully identify new causes for ill-health.

Find out more on the LOLIPOP website

Showcase area

Airwave Health Monitoring Study

Commissioned in 2003, this project investigates the possible impacts of Airwave (Airwave, is a new communications system for the police, based on Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) technology) on the health of police personnel.

Find out more on the Airwave Health Monitoring Study website