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Dr Rachel Knowles
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street
Tel: 020 7905 2278
  • Clinical Research Fellow
  • Population, Policy & Practice Dept
  • UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Dr Rachel Knowles qualified in Medicine at Edinburgh University in 1991, undertook vocational training in General Practice and Community Paediatrics in Edinburgh and London in 1998, and completed her specialist training in Public Health Medicine in London in 2004. She obtained a Masters in Medical Anthropology (Brunel University) in 1998 and Masters in Public Health (LSHTM) in 2004.  Her PhD thesis, completed at UCL, modelled survival for a UK-wide cohort of children born with congenital heart defects.

Rachel was appointed Honorary Consultant at Public Health England (PHE), where she is Clinical Advisor to Newborn Blood Spot Screening programme. She sits on the Antenatal and Newborn Screening Research Advisory Committee at PHE and is a member of the Expert Scientific and Clinical Advisory Panel for the National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Disease Registration Service (NCARDRS).

Rachel is employed part-time by the Medical Research Council (MRC) as Programme Manager for Clinical Sciences (since 2017). As an MRC representative, she sits on the steering committees for Understanding Patient Data and the Global Forum for Bioethics Research.

Rachel represents UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health on the board of the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) and was formerly Senior Medical Adviser to the BPSU (2003-2016). She was a member of the NICE Guideline Development Group for Antenatal Care (2006-2008) and contributed to the Evidence Update.

Since 2015, Rachel has been a member of the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG) which advises the Health Research Authority (HRA) and Secretary of State on Section 251 support. Prior to this, she was a member of the London-Bloomsbury Research Ethics Committee for 7 years.

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

Rachel's research is concerned with the epidemiology of rare disease and congenital conditions with a focus on the childhood outcomes of disorders which have their origins in early life. Her interests include population surveillance for paediatric rare disorders, newborn screening for congenital anomalies, and the impact on children's survival and quality of life of living with chronic conditions such as congenital heart defects, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, primary congenital hypothyroidism, severe microcephaly and childhood hearing impairment.

Rachel has been involved in cross-disciplinary collaborations with paediatric clinical specialists, health economists and statisticians. Her work involves applying a range of epidemiological and qualitative methodologies, including analysis of linked routine data, to explore the role of preventive screening and clinical management in achieving health gain for children and their families.

She has a keen interest in research ethics and governance, particularly in relation to the ethical management of patient data in research.

Teaching Summary

Rachel contributes to modules within the MSc in Paediatrics and Child Health and BSc in Population Health at UCL, and is a supervisor and examiner for PhD and Masters students. She is currently supervising two PhD students.

03-AUG-2017 Programme Manager for Clinical Sciences   Medical Research Council, United Kingdom
09-MAY-2017 Senior Clinical Research Fellow Life Course Epidemiology and Biostatistics UCL Great Ormond St Institute of Child Health, United Kingdom
01-AUG-2016 Honorary Consultant / Clinical Adviser (Newborn Screening) Antenatal and Newborn Screening Public Health England, United Kingdom
02-FEB-2016 – 02-AUG-2017 Clinical and Population Research Specialist   Medical Research Council, United Kingdom
01-MAR-2007 – 08-MAY-2017 Clinical Research Fellow Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics UCL Great Ormond St Institute of Child Health, United Kingdom
01-JUL-2003 – 31-JUL-2016 Senior Medical Adviser   British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU), United Kingdom
Academic Background
2010 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Epidemiology University College London
2004 FEL Fellowship – Public Health  
2000 MSc Master of Science – Public Health London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
1998 MSc Master of Science – Medical Anthropology Brunel University
1995 MRCGP Member of the Royal College of General Practioners – General Practice Royal College of General Practioners
1994 DCH Diploma of Child Health – Child Health University of Edinburgh
1991 MB.ChB Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery – Clinical Medicine University of Edinburgh
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