She read mathematics at Oxford University, but then came across epidemiology as the result of a series of accidents. She fell in love with what she saw as a series of detective stories, and has continued in the discipline ever since. She has concentrated mainly on maternal and child health, but is interested in the whole gamut of environmental influences on physical, psychological and intellectual outcomes. She has been involved in designing studies in Jamaica and other areas around the world, but has devoted most of her research career to large birth cohort studies in the UK, and spent some time at the Oxford Record Linkage Study and was briefly at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit. In the early 1990s she initiated the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), an in depth study starting in early pregnancy and following the parents and their offspring throughout infancy, childhood and adolescence (n~14000 children). She retired from the position of Scientific and Executive Director of the study at the end of 2005, but continues to work on various aspects of the survey. In particular, she works together with Professor Marcus Pembrey on inter- and trans-generational influences on the health and development of the child. She is now an Emeritus Professor at the University of Bristol, has received honorary doctorates from Bristol and University College London, is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and has received an OBE for her contributions to science.
OBE (Order of the British Empire)