George Davey Smith is Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Bristol. His contributions to epidemiology are remarkable in their breadth, encompassing insights into risk factors for chronic disease as well as methodological issues in analysis of observational studies. However, it is in the area of socio-economic differentials in health that his impact has probably been most substantive. He has examined socio-economic and ethnic differentials in mortality in a number of cohorts. By examining different socio-economic and demographic indicators, he has argued that material rather than cultural resources are the key determinants of socio-economic or ethnic differentials in health. This interest has developed in several directions; his demonstration that lifetime socio-economic position was important led to his interest in lifecourse epidemiology, identifying and reactivating birth cohorts that could be followed up to clarify the role of early life exposures and how these might interact with later life exposures to result in adult disease risk. His work on leg length, insulin resistance and coronary heart disease risk is an example of how he has tried to identify mechanisms by which early life exposures might influence disease in later life. This work has also led to important methodological developments in analysis of data from very long term prospective studies examining the effects of exposures over the whole life course. Recently he has been influential in his work on genetic epidemiology and the application of approaches to use genetic epidemiology to probe potential disease-causing biomarkers.
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Professor George Davey Smith FRS FMedSci
Professor of Clinical Epidemiology
School of Social and Community Medicine
University of Bristol
cardiovascular and genetic epidemiologySection committee elected by
Psychiatry, psychology and mental health, public health, epidemiology and statistics