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Prof Diana Kuh
MRC Unit for Lifelong Health & Ageing at UCL
33 Bedford Place
Tel: 020 7670 5701
Fax: 020 7580 1501
Prof Diana Kuh profile picture
  • Emeritus Professor of Life Course Epidemiology
  • Institute of Cardiovascular Science
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Diana Kuh is Professor of Life Course Epidemiology at University College London. Between 2007 and 2017, Diana established and directed the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing (LHA) at UCL, and was the scientific Director of the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD), the oldest of the British birth cohort studies that has followed up over 5000 individuals since their birth in March 1946.  Diana’s research involves three key and mutually reinforcing areas where she has made internationally acknowledged seminal contributions. The first is the creation and advancement of the field of life course epidemiology, that is the study of biological, social and psychosocial risk processes from early life that influence adult health, ageing and chronic disease risk: Diana is the co-author of key textbooks, editorials and reviews. The second comprises her original research, mainly on the NSHD, into the scientific discovery of lifetime influences on ageing. In a broad range of over 400 publications she has shown the importance of childhood development and lifetime socioeconomic factors, lifestyle and health experience on later adiposity, cardiovascular and reproductive function, strength and physical performance, quality of life and survival. The third is Diana’s leadership of the NSHD, where her team and key collaborators have built on the legacy of her predecessors to develop NSHD into an integrated and interdisciplinary life course study of ageing. The NSHD team recently completed the 24th NSHD follow-up at 68-69 years (94% response rate); over the last ten years the NSHD resource has been enhanced with a range of biomarkers of ageing and pre-clinical disease using state of the art imaging techniques, in addition to repeating assessments of function, lifestyle and environment. This enhanced NSHD resource is a national scientific asset of enormous value for research into ageing.

Research Themes
Research Summary

Diana uses data from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development to study how biological, psychological and social factors at different stages of life, independently, cumulatively or interactively affect adult physical capability and musculoskeletal function and their change with age. She also uses this life course approach to study other outcomes such as women's health, cardiovascular health and wellbeing. Diana is internationally recognised for the advancement of the field of life course epidemiology where she is the author of the acknowledged key texts: "A life course approach to chronic disease epidemiology" (2nd edition Oxford University Press 2004, with Professor Yoav Ben-Shlomo), "A life course approach to women's health" (Oxford University Press 2002, with Dr Rebecca Hardy), and "A life course approach to healthy ageing" (Oxford University Press 2014, with Rache Cooper, Rebecca Hardy, Marcus Richards and Yoav Ben-Shlomo). Diana has published over 400 articles in a wide range of peer-reviewed journals.

Teaching Summary
Taught on UCL BSc and MSc courses in population sciences, presented over 130 invited lectures,  and run specialist training workshops on life course epidemiology in Europe, North America and Asia.
Academic Background
1993   Doctor of Philosophy London School of Economics and Political Science
1980   Master of Arts University of Cambridge
1974   Bachelor of Arts University of Cambridge
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