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Dr Barbara Jefferis
Dr Barbara Jefferis profile picture
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Primary Care & Population Health
  • Institute of Epidemiology & Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Barbara did an undergraduate degree in Human Sciences at the University of Oxford which allowed her to study biological sciences from multidisciplinary perspectives. She joined UCL in 1999 after an MSc at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She then worked at the Institute of Child Health where she completed her PhD in lifecourse epidemiology, funded by an MRC Fellowship. She moved to the UCL Department of Primary Care & Population Health to work on projects about CVD prevention using the British Regional Heart Study and British Women's Heart Health Study, where she held an NIHR post doctoral fellowship. She has led on the design, implementation and analysis of objectively measured physical activity in these prospective cohort studies.  She collaborates with a wide range of international researchers in the field.

Barbara is Associate Professor of Epidemiology and leads the UCL Physical Activity Research Group (PARG). PARG acts as a bridge between diverse research groups and disciplines at UCL and beyond to stimulate high quality research. Follow PARG on twitter @PARG3




Research Groups
Research Summary

Barbara is Associate Professor in Epidemiology with a focus on physical activity and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. 

Current research investigates the epidemiology of physical activity, understanding patterns and trajectories of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in later life. 
Physical activity has has beneficial effects on many health outcomes, but older adults are less studied in this respect than younger populations. Rapidly ageing populations around the world and the rise in poor health with increasing age mean developing preventive strategies to for healthy ageing is ever more important. Recent publications investigate the associations between physical activity and sedentary behaviour patterns and important causes of morbidity and mortality in older ages, with a view to better understanding the dose-response between amount and pattern of physical activity and outcomes. Understanding how much activity is needed for different health outcomes is important for evidence-based policy making, and findings have contributed to guideline development. Studies have focused on the relations between physical activity and cardiovascular health; biomarkers of cardiovascular risk, markers of sub-clinical disease and a range of cardiovascular events (MI, stroke, heart failure) and mortality. Other studies have investigated important ageing syndromes such as sarcopenia and falls.

Barbara has collaborated on behavioural interventions to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary time in older adults, as well as economic evaluation of physical activity levels.

Another strand of collaborative research focuses on increasing the understanding of the aetiology of cardiovascular disease using a range of genetic studies (eg mendelian randomisation, GWAS, risk scores, functional mapping of loci) as part of large consortia.

Teaching Summary

Undergraduate teaching: 

Lecturing and leading groups for MBBS Year 2 Vertical Modules and course leader for BSc module (lecturing, and organising the module and assessment).

Postgraduate teaching:

PhD Supervision: Barbara supervises PhD students (as primary and secondary supervisor) and welcomes applications to study physical activity epidemiology. 

Examination of PhD theses.

Academic Background
2016   Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy University College London
2007   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
1998   Bachelor of Arts University of Oxford
    ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow  
1999   Master of Science London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
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