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[2 minute read]

The work of Zhengming Chen, Richard Peto Professor of Epidemiology at Oxford Population Health, has been recognised by one of the most prestigious scientific organisations in Europe.

The Academia Europaea is a pan-European Academy that encompasses all fields of scholarly inquiry, including humanities, law, social sciences, mathematics, medicine, and every branch of the natural and technological sciences. Its aim is to promote European research, advise governments and international organisations in scientific matters, and further interdisciplinary and international research.

To do this, it selects members who are among the most productive, innovative, influential, and pioneering researchers in their field in the whole of Europe's available scientific community, ie in the top 1% of their area of study. Current membership stands at around 4,500, including almost 80 Nobel Laureates, and just over 1500 fellows in the Life Sciences Section.

This year’s new members include Zhengming Chenwho was elected to the Clinical and Veterinary Sciences Section.

Since joining Oxford Population Health in 1998, Professor Chen has initiated and led several large international randomised trials focusing on prevention and treatment of major chronic diseases. These have involved more than 100,000 patients, and led to major changes in international guidelines and clinical practice.

Zhengming is the UK Principal Investigator for the China Kadoorie Biobank, a study of over half a million Chinese adults which he initiated in 2003. His multi-disciplinary research team includes over 50 staff and DPhil students, with research themes covering lifestyle factors, environmental health, chronic infection, genetic epidemiology, risk prediction, and applying big data approaches to develop precision medicine and population health.

Professor Peter Hegyi, Chairman of the Clinical and Veterinary Sciences Section for the Academia Europaea, said ‘Professor Chen has conducted some of the world’s most influential clinical trials and cohort studies, with major public health and clinical importance. These include a 20,000 patient trial which demonstrated the benefits of early aspirin in acute stroke, and a 46,000 patient trial which showed dual-antiplatelet therapy is superior to aspirin in acute myocardial infarction. These trials changed international guidelines, saving many lives worldwide.

‘In addition, using genetic approaches, his work was the first in the world to reliably refute any apparent causal protective effects of moderate alcohol intake against stroke, a policy-relevant finding. He has also demonstrated the substantial adverse effects of poorly-managed diabetes on many conditions, leading to the World Health Organization’s then Director-General to call for improved diabetes care.’

To date, Professor Chen has published over 530 papers, besides the book Population Biobank Studies: A Practical Guide. Professor Chen also holds honorary professorships at several universities in China, and sits on a number of international and UK research committees (including the Hong Kong Research Council, the UK Medical Research Council, and Wellcome).

Professor Chen said ‘This fellowship recognises work that has been made possible thanks to the many colleagues who have supported me throughout my career, particularly those working on the China Kadoorie Biobank, as well as the participants who enable our studies to happen. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with Academia Europaea colleagues, and to being part of an organisation that works to advance excellence in scholarship.’

Zhengming will present today at Building Bridges 2022, the 33rd Annual Conference of Academia Europaea (AE) and the 11th of the Young Academy of Europe.