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Background

Several large studies have investigated the relationships of reproductive patterns (e.g., menarche, menopause, parity, age at first birth, induced and spontaneous abortion, breast feeding) with risks of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and certain cancers in women. But, most of these studies were mainly of the populations in the West, with limited data available from China. In China, there have been rapid and dramatic changes in reproductive patterns during recent decades. These changes may be associated with both favourable and unfavourable health consequences and large-scale prospective studies can help to assess the effects of female reproductive history on diseases in China.

The China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) including 300,000 adult women who were recruited during 2004-8 from 10 diverse regions of China, with extensive data collection by questionnaire and physical measurements, and with long-term storage of blood samples. Follow-up of the study participants, using record linkage with mortality registries and nationwide health insurance systems, have already identified ~30,000 incident cases of CVD and ~10,000 of cancer among women. This will provide reliable prospective evidence about the relationship of reproductive factors with risks of CVD, certain cancers and other conditions in China where the women’s reproductive patterns differed importantly from those in Western populations.

Research Experience, Research Methods and Training

The DPhil student will study on the associations between reproductive factors and risks of CVD and certain cancers, from:

  • Conducting thorough literature reviews;
  • Providing reliable estimates of the strength of the relationships based on CKB data;
  • Examining the impact from ‘great famine’, ‘one-child policy’ and other lifestyle factors in Chinese women;
  • Using genetic data to explore causal associations.

The specific line of investigation will be subject to further discussion and personal interest.

The candidate will work within a multi-disciplinary team and will gain research experience in systematic literature reviews, study design and planning, epidemiological and statistical methodology, statistical programming, data analysis and data presentation.

Field Work, Secondments, Industry Placements and Training

By the end of DPhil studies, it is expected that you will be competent to plan, undertake and interpret statistical analysis of large-scale epidemiological data, to publish 3-5 peer-reviewed papers and to report your findings at relevant meetings. The project will be based in the CTSU/NDPH, which has excellent facilities and world-class scientists.

Prospective Candidate

Candidate should have at least 2.1 degree in medical sciences and an MSc in public health fields. The project will requires some previous statistical and programming training/experience. Candidates should also have a strong interest in cancer or CVD epidemiology.

Supervisors

Projects

Related research themes