Meet the team

CRESH currently has 8 academics, 9 postdoctoral researchers, 4 PhD students, and 7 past members.

Academic staff:

Dr Tom Clemens is an Interdisciplinary Lecturer in Health and Environment in the School of Geosciences and Director of Impact & Engagement at the Scottish Longitudinal Study.

Prof Sarah Curtis (FBA, FAcSS, FRGS, PDhil) is Honorary Professor and visiting researcher with CRESH. Sarah is also Professor Emeritus at Durham University, UK. Work with CRESH includes analysis of longitudinal data relating to health and health determinants, using sources including the Scottish Longitudinal Study 

Prof Chris Dibben is Chair in Geography at the University of Edinburgh, Director of the Longitudinal Studies Centre Scotland, and Director of the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research. Chris has worked on, amongst other subjects, epidemiological studies into recovery after heart attacks, the causes of Low Birth Weight, the survival of drug misusers and the impact of air pollution.

Dr Zhiqiang Feng is a Senior Lecturer, joining the University of Edinburgh in 2015. He is co-investigator of the Longitudinal Studies Centre Scotland (LSCS) and the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR), both funded by ESRC. His research interests include geography of health, health inequalities, longitudinal analysis, geography of population, GIS and spatial analysis.

Dr Lindsay Jaacks joined the University of Edinburgh in 2020 as a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Chancellor’s Fellow in the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security. Her current research projects broadly aim to advance understanding of the nexus between agriculture, nutrition, and health. She is especially interested in studying the effect of pesticides on human health and the health co-benefits of sustainable agriculture approaches such as organic. Her research also involves improving the measurement of food environments and leveraging citizen science for public health nutrition.

Prof Rich Mitchell is Professor of Health and Environment at the University of Glasgow. He is an MRC Investigator and leads the Places and Health programme at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit. Rich’s research explores the impacts of environment on health.  He is particularly interested in the role that natural environments such as parks and forests can in play in protecting and improving health and inequalities.  

Prof Jamie Pearce is Professor of Health Geography at the University of Edinburgh with research interests in: the role of place in shaping health across the lifecourse; geographies of unhealthy commodities (tobacco, food) and implications for NCDs. He is Editor in Chief of the journals Health & Place, and Wellbeing, Space & Society.  

Prof Niamh Shortt is Professor of Health Geographies at the University of Edinburgh. Niamh is particularly interested in health inequalities and the role that the environment can play in either supporting or damaging our health and well-being. Niamh’s current focus is on alcohol and tobacco environments. Niamh is also keen to promote diversity in academia and has led on, or been involved with, initiatives in this area.  

Research staff:

Dr Gergo Baranyi is a Research Associate in Environment and Health at the University of Edinburgh with research interests in mental health, life course epidemiology, contextual and social determinants of health, and systematic reviews. Gergo works also as a consultant to the World Health Organization.

Dr Laurie Berrie is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Health and Wellbeing at the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research. They conduct research under the centre’s lifelong health and wellbeing strategic impact program. Their research interests are in epidemiology, health data science, health geography, and causal inference. 

Dr Fiona Caryl is a Research Associate in the Places and Health Programme of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit. Her research interests lie in understanding the effect of the natural and built environment on public health, and how this could be changed to afford greater, more equitable, opportunities for all. 

Dr Peter Lekkas is a social epidemiologist working within CRESH as a postdoctoral research fellow on an ESRC funded project – “Change in alcohol and tobacco availability, population health and the lived experience”. More broadly, Peter’s interests concern social inequities in health, and the interrelationships between the contexts of living and population levels of health and wellbeing, in and across time 

Dr Scott Ogletree is a Research Fellow at the OPENspace research centre at Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA).  His research focuses on the relationship between society and the natural environment. Scott researches these connections using spatial and statistical tools to better understand how the natural world impacts people.

Dr Jon Olsen is a Research Fellow at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit (SPHSU), University of Glasgow with research interests in spatial epidemiology and population health

Dr Helena Tunstall is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Edinburgh whose recent research has focussed on tobacco and alcohol retail, residential mobility, mental health and neigbourhood disadvantage. 

Dr Lee Williamson is Senior Research Fellow at the Longitudinal Studies Centre – Scotland, part of the Research Institute of Geography and The Lived Environment in School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. Her methodological interests include demographic methods and longitudinal techniques. Her research interests include demography, fertility behaviour; inequality, heath and mortality; birth parity; early life; historical demography; population projections. 

Dr Roberto Valiente is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Health Geographies working within CRESH on the SPECTRUM Consortium – a multi-agency research consortium funded by the UK Prevention Research Partnership. His research is focused on the study of commercial determinants of health (particularly those associated with tobacco, alcohol, and food) from a geographical perspective, assessing the spatial availability, accessibility, and visibility of these commodities in the environment and their association with the population health. 

PhD Students:

Deksha Kapoor is a PhD student at the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, University of Edinburgh. Her current research focuses on understanding the interface between food environments and people to help design interventions to improve the healthfulness and sustainability of diets. The food environment or ‘foodscape’ encompasses all places where people access food, including retailers, restaurants, pubs/bars, cafes/coffee shops, takeaways, mobile food vans, and charities. Since these are critical determinants of consumption, understanding them is important for improving overall diets of people

Abbie Irving is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, under the supervision of Prof. Jamie Pearce and Prof. Niamh Shortt – working within CRESH on the SPECTRUM Consortium research partnership. Her research focuses on lay perception of the commercial determinants of health and the unhealthy commodity environment, using a public health perspective. She is particularly interested in conducting mixed method research and incorporating co-production.

Ruoyu Wang is a PhD student in University of Edinburgh with research interests in health geography research. He pays special attention to the impact of urban built environment on various health indicators and has in-depth research on the impact of urban greenspace on mental health.

Chunyu Zheng is a third year PhD student. Under the supervision of Dr Zhiqiang Feng and Prof. Jamie Pearce, her PhD thesis is ‘ socio-spatial inequalities in tobacco availability and smoking in mega-city of China, a case study of Shanghai’. Her research focuses on examining the socio-spatial patterning of tobacco retail environment within neighbourhood and school environment, the neighbourhood effects on smoking and the possible impacts of potential interventions on smoking inequality. 

Past members:

Mr Aldo Elizalde Archundia 

Dr Anna Kenyon 

Dr Claire Niedzwiedz 

Dr Ana Ribeiro 

Dr Elizabeth Richardson  

Dr Esther Rind 

Ms Catherine Tisch

Past PhD students:

Dr Jessica Baker 

Dr Willings Botha 

Dr Marian Okon 

Dr Katherine Ord 

Dr Barbara Rubiell 

Dr Joanna Stewart 

Dr Jennifer Thomson 

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