Thomas Astell-Burt is the Professor of Population Health and Environmental Data Science and the Founding Director of the Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab (PowerLab) https://www.uow.edu.au/social-sciences/research/powerlab/ at the University of Wollongong (UOW). Thomas is also an NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellow (1 of only 4 awarded in public health in Australia).
Thomas has a long-standing interest in the relationship between nature and human health, especially on the potential of green space to enrich environments for prevention of noncommunicable diseases like Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes mellitus. His research is located at the interface between population, wellbeing and environmental studies using a range of quantitative approaches (e.g. multilevel modelling, longitudinal data analysis, Geographic Information Systems).
Some of his recent work has analysed sources of health and spatial data to enhance understandings of how where people live shapes their health, lifestyles and wellbeing across the lifecourse. This has involved international collaborations with colleagues around the world, including Uppsala Universitet, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, North Carolina State University, UCL, Peking Union Medical College and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC). In Australia, Thomas’s work has helped to support change in policy on urban greening http://www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/services/sustainability/Documents/Urban%20Greening%20Strategy.pdf and diabetes detection https://www.westernsydneydiabetes.com.au/ .
Thomas has led or co-authored over 130 publications https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=Ub4eGuwAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao and regularly collaborates with and communicates findings to external research partners including Western Sydney Local Health District and Parks and Leisure NSW, as well as a range of government departments, NGOs and local councils. He has won >$8 million in research funding and is currently leading projects supported by the NHMRC and Hort Innovation Ltd.
Thomas earned his PhD from the University of St Andrews and has held postdoctoral fellowships with the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the Medical Research Council’s Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in the United Kingdom.