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My research is interdisciplinary, and draws on both the social and biological sciences to improve our understanding of demographic and health outcomes.

A significant focus of my research is on the family, in particular, whether family influence fertility and child health. But I'm also interested in exploring interactions between health and reproduction (how much does health explain reproduction and reproduction explain health?), and health inequalities.

Initially my research was based in sub-Saharan Africa, but I'm now interested in comparative work, testing the same hypotheses in a variety of ecological settings worldwide, in both higher and lower/middle income contexts, to understand their ecological variability. Methodologically, much of my work focuses on analysis of existing datasets, but I'm also involved in primary data collection exercises, typically surveys which supplement data from existing Health and Demographic Surveillance Sites.

I'm interested in promoting interdisciplinarity across the human sciences, not just in my research but also through involvement in academic service roles: in 2008, I co-founded the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association, and I'm currently Honorary Secretary of the British Society for Population Studies and a Board Member of the Evolutionary Anthropology Society.


  • 2012–present
    Head of the Department of Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine