University College London (UCL)

UCL is London’s leading multidisciplinary university, and is currently ranked as the 5th best university in Europe and the 15th worldwide and it has one of Europe’s largest and most productive centres for biomedical science. Its publications attract more citations from fellow researchers than any other university outside North America. UCL excellence extends across all academic disciplines, and it has one of Europe’s largest and most productive centres for biomedical science. Two UCL academic units will participate in this project. First, the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care (IEHC, approximately 130 researchers), part of the UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences, is a multidisciplinary institute with epidemiology, statistics and sociology, with a strong emphasis on longitudinal studies and environmental predictors of health. It will contribute in assessing the impact of suspected risk factors, including those related to the social environment, on health. Some examples of the large population studies conducted by IEHC include the Health Survey for England, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), the Whitehall II study and the HAPIEE study in Central and Eastern Europe. Second, the Development Planning Unit, part of the Bartlett (UCL’s global faculty of the built environment and architecture) conducts world-leading research and postgraduate teaching that help to build the capacity of national governments, local authorities, NGOs, aid agencies and businesses working towards socially just and sustainable development. The Unit is a multi-disciplinary group, with extensive and ongoing research and professional experience in various fields of urban, regional, environmental, social, and institutional development throughout the world.

Key people

Martin Bobák, MD, MSc, PhD

is medical epidemiologist and professor of epidemiology at UCL and head of the Central and Eastern European Health Research Group. Prof. Bobak’s research focuses on understanding the determinants of health in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, with a broad interest in the effects on health of societal, socioeconomic, psychosocial, behavioural and environmental factors. Prof Bobak’s earlier work on the relation between outdoor air pollution and birth outcomes open a new line of environmental health research. At present, Prof Bobak conducts, with colleagues in Russia, Poland, Czech Republic and Lithuania, a large multi-centre longitudinal study (the HAPIEE project, over 36,000 participants) on the influences of social, economic, environmental, psychosocial factors, dietary and life style factors on cardiovascular disease, other chronic conditions and age-related outcomes during societal transition. Prof Bobak has led UCL teams and work packages in several FP7 and Horizon 2020 projects and he leads UCL participation in an ERC funded project investigating the effect of mass privatisation and labour market changes on mortality in the former Soviet Union. Professor Bobak has published over 200 papers and has over 6050 citations (without self-citations) and h-index of 41. Prof Bobak will coordinate the UCL participation in the CETOCOEN Eecellence project and he will lead the epidemiological aspects of the project linking environmental and toxicological exposures with human health in population based studies

Hynek Pikhart, BSc, MSc, PhD

Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics at UCL. Prof Pikhart’s research focuses on determinants of health primarily in countries of Central and Eastern Europe but also in other countries of Europe and Asia. His work includes longitudinal analyses of epidemiological data, measurement of socioeconomic position in relation to various health outcomes over the life course, and modelling explanations for social variations in health. One of his recent projects focused on early social determinants of health and development of children and young adolescents. Dr Pikhart is interested the relationship between health outcomes and in area based factors, including outdoor air pollution, climatic factors and social indicators. He coordinated UCL’s contribution to the EU-funded DRIVERS and INEQ-CITIES projects, is currently leading UCL team and a work package in EU-funded H2020 EURO-HEALTHY project, and has been crucially involved in UCL participation in other EU funded projects. In 2015 Dr Pikhart completed a review on the relationship between psychosocial factors and health outcomes of chronic diseases for the WHO Europe. Dr Pikhart has over 160 publications with over 2700 citations (without self-citations); his h-index is 24. He has supervised 15 PhD students at UCL. In the Teaming project, Dr Pikhart will be crucial in overseeing the area of statistical analyses of various environmental exposures and specific health outcomes and training of Recetox staff in complex statistical analyses.

Denes Stefler, MD, MSc, PhD

is medical epidemiologist and Research Associate in UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care. Dr Stefler has extensive experience with statistical analyses of the relationships between life-course exposures to and health outcomes in middle-aged and older persons, based on quantitative analysis of a large multi-centre dataset, such as the H2020 ATHLOS consortium. Dr Stefler has recently analysed the role of contextual and individual-level factors on mortality in the ERC funded PrivMort project based on 3 Central and Eastern European countries undergoing societal transtition. He will support the development of epidemiological and statistical expertise in Recetox in the Twinning project.

Milagros Ruiz, BSc, MSc, PhD

is epidemiologist and Research Associate in UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care. She extensive experience with statistical modelling of the relationships social circumstance and and health outcomes. Particularly relevant for the Twinning project is Dr Ruiz’s work on the effects of urban environment and mental health in a range of urban settings in by the H2020 MindMap project. Dr Ruiz will support the development of epidemiological and statistical expertise linking urban environmental factors (chemical, physical and social) with health in the Twinning project.

Prof. Haim Yacobi, MSc, PhD

is an architect working in the Bartlett’s Development Planning Unit. He specialises in critical urban studies and urban health. For the years 2010-2012 he received a Marie Curie Grant which has enabled him to work at Cambridge University, where he leaded a research project that dealt with contested cities. His research focuses on architecture, planning and development, with main focus on Israel\Palestine, the Middle East and Africa. Spatial justice and urban health, contested urbanism, transnational migration and informality are in the core of his research and consultancy work and teaching. His approach to urban health is based on understanding how history, power and structural inequalities (class, gender, race, age) interact to produce urban health disparities. His research focuses on the study of urban health and the development of interventions in any contexts and the effects of urbanization on both physical and mental health, as well as the role of urban forms and policies as fundamental causes of social and ethnic inequalities in health.

Martin Scott, MA, MSc

is the head European Innovation Management in the UCL European Research and Innovation Office. He has extensive experience in preparing and managing European collaborative projects, including two currently running Teaming projects. He will provide advice and oversight of the overall management of the proposed project and ensure smooth collaborative arrangements between UCL and other partners in the consortium.

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