Professor Carol Brayne is an epidemiologist and public health physician.
She has responsibilities and activities in the following areas:
Programme includes research into dementia, healthy ageing and neuropsychiatric epidemiology. The research is multidisciplinary and the Cambridge team straddles the Department of Public Health and Primary Care and the MRC Biostatistics Unit (Led by Dr Fiona Matthews). It is also part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CLAHRC.
The MRC study of Cognitive Function and Ageing (CFAS) constitutes a major part of the research of this group. Ageing of the global population will be an area of policy interest for many decades as the numbers of old-old individuals increases dramatically.
CFAS investigates normal and abnormal cognitive ageing, spanning molecular epidemiology to policy issues, with field-work centres in Cambridgeshire, Gwynedd, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford and collaborations in Sheffield, Leicester, Loughborough, London, Exeter, Heriot Watt and Southampton. Health, cognition and function have been measured longitudinally. The study includes a unique collection of donated brains from participating individuals who, with their families, had given permission for their brains to be examined for medical research after their death. The study has examined prevalence and incidence of cognitive decline and dementia in England and Wales; The natural history of dementia and cognitive decline and associated disability and service needs; and the contribution of different underlying pathologies to the rates of dementia and genetic risks for dementia. A ten year follow-up has been completed with continuing analysis of longitudinal change and life expectancy, and laboratory based biological themes.
Work has began on an investigation of generational changes in health of the older population (CFAS II).
Further projects include: the Cambridge City over 75 cohort (Jane Fleming, Felicia Huppert, Tom Dening and others), early onset dementia (John Hodges), Alzheimer’s disease case control genetic study, part of the Wellcome Case Control Consortium (David Rubinsztein with Julie Williams, Michael Owen, Cardiff, and Simon Lovestone, Institute of Psychiatry), Parkinson’s disease incidence (Roger Barker and David Burn, Newcastle), neurocardiovascular instability (Rose Anne Kenny, Dublin), autism and Aspergers syndrome (Simon Baron Cohen), tuberous sclerosis (John Yates, Patrick Bolton), cognition and function within EPIC (Kay-Tee Khaw, Nick Wareham).
Her main NHS and honorary contract is with Cambridgeshire PCT but she also holds honorary contracts related to her research interest with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Trust, and Addenbrookes Trust. Her service work includes furthering links between service and academic sectors. She links to the Senior Leadership Team of the Strategic Health Authority and provides regional input in areas of expertise.
Under Nick Day’s headship of the Department, she set up and ran the MPhil in Epidemiology from 1992 to 1999, remaining course director until 2006. This brought the Department MRC training status which has created a tradition of studentships and has let to the expansion of doctoral training in the Department. She set up the Teaching and Training Committee of the Department when Head of Department (1999-2001) and remains chair of this committee. She is Senior Examiner for all the taught aspects of the Department at present.
She contributes to teaching of medical students and MPhil students and has active doctoral and postdoctoral programmes in her research.
In 2008 she was appointed Director of the Institute of Public Health.