Emma Duncan

Prof Emma Duncan is Professor of Clinical Endocrinology, King’s College London, and Honorary Consultant Physician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Since her undergraduate days, she has been fascinated by endocrinology and the skeleton. Her research spans the genetics of many endocrine disorders, from common variant to rare monogenic diseases, publishing multiple high-impact papers interrogating the genetics of osteoporosis and skeletal dysplasias, MODY [maturity-onset diabetes of the young], and phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas. Prof Duncan’s practical experience in gene mapping includes genetic epidemiology, linkage, genome-wide association studies, and massively parallel sequencing (MPS) technologies; and she has played a pioneering role in the translation of genetic technologies (such as high-throughput microarray genotyping and massively parallel sequencing) into clinical practice.

Prof Duncan has also published multiple clinical research papers in bone and other endocrine disorders. Recently, she has contributed to COVID-19 research, particularly COVID-19 in children; and she co-leads the KCL COVID Symptom Study Biobank with particular focus on interrogating the genetics of the post-COVID syndrome.

Prof Duncan practises medicine as a consultant physician and specialist in endocrinology, with special interest in bone and neuroendocrine disease. She contributes to leadership and governance nationally and internationally, previously serving as President of the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society, and currently serving as Councillor for the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and Associate Editor of the Journal for Bone and Mineral Research and Endocrine Reviews.

Dr Cristina Menni

Cristina is a lecturer at King’s College London and head of the metabolomics research group at the DTR. Her research focuses on identifying novel molecular and dietary markers associated with age and age-related diseases, particularly cardiometabolic disorders using metabolomics in conjunction with several other “omics” datasets. More recently, she has been actively involved in COVID-19 research using data from the ZOE COVID Study App.

Cristina received a Master in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in statistics from the University of Milan-Bicocca where she specialised in statistical genetics. She joined the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology in 2011.

Dr Mario Falchi

Mario is a Reader in Computational Medicine at King’s College London, and Head of Bioinformatics for the School of Life Course & Population Sciences. His interests lie in the development and application of statistical and computational genomics methods to disentangle the network of susceptibility factors – and their interactions – that lead to complex disease in humans, with a particular focus on metabolism, skin cancer, and renal diseases.

Recently his team has been focusing on leveraging next generation sequencing technologies to assess the influence of rare and structural variants on complex traits, and on characterisation of the microbiome using metagenomics data to investigate the interplay between the gut microbiota and host metabolism.

Professor Claire Steves

Claire is Professor of Ageing and Health,  Clinical Director of TwinsUK, and Head of Department (Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology) King’s College London. She is also a Consultant Geriatrician at Guys and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust.

Claire is interested in how each one of us ages differently and uses population studies like TwinsUK to understand what underlies this variability. She works across health boundaries, interested in both physical and mental health and the intersections between them. She established that environmental factors are particularly important in understanding trajectories of ageing. This has led to focused work on the relationship between the microbiome and conditions of ageing, including cognitive ageing, frailty and multi-morbidity. Claire also leads a high profile Wellcome Longitudinal Population Study grant to expand our ability to contribute to health sciences, by using data linkage with health, educational and environmental records, and social and environmental scientists.

In 2020 she brought her clinical experience to the design of the Zoe Covid study app which reached over 4 million people, and since then has led research on the impact of COVID-19 infection itself and the pandemic overall on lived experience of the participants. Claire also is the longitudinal population study lead on the National Core Study of Health and Wellbeing, which aims to understand the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic including how the pandemic has affected older populations.

Claire has published more than 100 research articles in high impact journals and appears regularly in the media.

Professor Kerrin Small

Kerrin is a Professor at King’s College London and Deputy Director (Scientific) of the TwinsUK Resource. Her research investigates the genetic regulation of gene expression across tissues, time and environments. She has explored the relationship between genetic variants, gene expression in fat tissue and obesity-related traits and uncovered links between gene expression and type 2 diabetes.

Kerrin obtained a PhD in Genetics from Stanford University and undertook post-doctoral training in complex trait genetics at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. She joined the Department of Twin Research in 2009 and directs transcriptomic research within TwinsUK.

Dr Jordana Bell

Jordana Bell leads the epigenomics research group at the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London. Her research explores the (epi)genomic basis of complex diseases in human populations, focusing on intermediate phenotypes including epigenomic and gut microbiome variation. The broad aim is to apply computational approaches to characterise the biological processes underlying human ageing and age-related cardio-metabolic disease risk, onset, and progression.

Jordana completed her doctoral studies on genetic interactions in human complex traits at the University of Oxford. She was subsequently a Wellcome Trust funded fellow at the Universities of Chicago and Oxford, where her work shifted towards human epigenomics.

Since joining King’s in 2012 Jordana has established a research programme in human population epigenomics and is currently leading research efforts across UK and international collaborative projects, including within DIMENSION, ESSN, GoDMC, and CHARGE consortia. Jordana’s primary research focus is to understand the processes shaping epigenetic variation in human populations, and its biomedical significance. Further projects explore computational approaches for integrative analyses of high-dimensional biomedical data (environmental exposures, DNA sequence, DNA methylation, metabolomics, microbiome, and phenotype) – for prediction of future disease, towards implementing stratified medicine.

Jordana is coordinator of the JPI ERA-HDHL funded DIMENSION consortium on dietary impacts on the epigenome and transcriptome in context of metabolic health.

DIMENSION

Lab website

Professor Christopher Hammond

Chris started to work with TwinsUK in 1997 so has been a twin researcher for over 20 years! His research focuses on common eye diseases such as glaucoma, myopia, dry eye disease and age-related cataract.

Chris has been the Frost Professor of Ophthalmology at King’s College London and a Consultant Ophthalmologist (specialising in paediatric ophthalmology and squint surgery) at St Thomas’ Hospital since 2011.

He has led international studies finding genes that are involved in eye diseases, and is one of the leading scientists in this field, with ground-breaking research showing that many of these age-related diseases have an important genetic basis.

Professor Frances Williams

Frances runs her own research group studying the genetic epidemiology of common complex traits related to rheumatic diseases. In particular, her research focuses on chronic pain syndromes including low back pain and intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD). This ties in well with her clinical role as Hon Consultant Rheumatologist at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Frances also runs an NHS clinic for Musicians and Performing Artists, many of whom have chronic pain conditions, which threaten their occupational wellbeing. She has led several of the world’s first GWAS studies as well as the largest to date study of back pain, demonstrating that many of the environmental risk factors (e.g. social class) share a genetic predisposition with back pain.

Fran started working with TwinsUK in 2002. She became a full time TwinsUK researcher as Rheumatology Registrar/Senior Research Fellow in May 2003.

Professor Tim Spector

Tim Spector is a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London and Honorary Consultant Physician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Tim founded TwinsUK in 1992, which is now one of the richest collections of clinical data in the world. He is also an expert in personalised medicine and the gut microbiome. Tim is the lead researcher behind the world’s biggest citizen science health project – the Covid Symptom Study app, for which he was awarded an OBE.

Through his work he has been given many awards and prizes and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and the Academy of Medical Sciences. He has published over 900 scientific papers and is ranked by Google as being in the top 100 most cited scientists in the world. He has published four popular books, including the best-selling Diet Myth, Spoon-Fed, and more recently Food for Life – a Sunday Times bestseller. He makes regular appearances in the media.

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