Prof Tim Key

Deputy Unit Director, Professor of Epidemiology

Timothy has studied veterinary medicine, nutrition and epidemiology. His main interests are the roles of diet and sex hormones in the aetiology of cancer, particularly cancers of the breast, prostate and colon. Recent papers have shown that breast cancer risk is strongly related to the serum concentration of oestradiol, that vegetarian diets reduce mortality from ischaemic heart disease but not colorectal cancer, and that diets containing only plant proteins may reduce insulin-like growth factor-I, a growth factor that may be important in the development of several types of cancer. Timothy Key works mostly on the EPIC European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, as the principal investigator of the Oxford cohort of 65,000 participants and the chairman of the EPIC prostate cancer group. He also co-ordinates the Endogenous Hormones and Breast Cancer Collaborative Group, which conducts pooled analyses of prospective data on endogenous hormones and breast cancer risk, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. He joined the Unit in 1985.

Dr Naomi Allen


Naomi joined the Unit in 1997 and gained a DPhil in Cancer Epidemiology in 2000. Her main area of research is the role of diet, hormones and insulin-like growth factors in cancer development, particularly cancers of the prostate, but also of cancers of the breast, ovary and endometrium. She is particularly interested in the association between blood levels of hormones on cancer risk and their genetic and environmental determinants.

Paul Appleby

Senior Statistician

Paul Appleby is a Senior Statistician who joined CEU full-time in October 1996. He is responsible for the preparation and statistical analysis of data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) as well as various collaborative and meta-analyses. Paul is an experienced Fortran programmer and makes extensive use of graph plotting subroutines and the Stata statistical package. He has also developed a nutrient database based on McCance & Widdowson’s, “The Composition of Foods”, which is used to estimate nutrient intakes from food frequency questionnaires or other food consumption data.

Dr Kathryn Bradbury

Nutritional Epidemiologist

Kathryn joined the unit in 2012. She holds a PhD in Human Nutrition from the University of Otago (New Zealand). Kathryn works on EPIC and the Million Women Study and is interested in examining the nutritional determinants of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Dr Francesca Crowe

Nutritional Epidemiologist

Francesca began working on the EPIC-Oxford study in 2007 as the NZ HRC/Girdlers’ Postdoctoral Research fellow at Green Templeton College after gaining a PhD in Human Nutrition from the University of Otago (New Zealand) and now fills the position of Nutritional Epidemiologist. Francesca is particularly interested in the future of dietary assessment and the use of internet-based methods to measure diet in hundreds of thousands of people. She also has a keen research interest in determining dietary and nutritional risk factors for prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Zoe Pollard

Clinical Data Manager

Zoe works on the EPIC study and manages the collection of clinical data from disease registries and hospitals. Zoe is also a nutritional coder and is involved in coding food diaries from EPIC-Oxford participants and training staff in coding methods. Zoe also co-ordinates the follow-up questionnaires and diaries.

Alison Price

DPhil Student

Alison is a current Cancer Research UK funded DPhil student. She started in October 2007 and is currently involved in a project investigating the association between dietary fat intake and risk for developing prostate cancer.

Julie Schmidt

Statistical Epidemiologist

Julie joined the unit in July 2012 after finishing a Master of Health Science at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her primary research interest is the role of modifiable risk factors, especially diet and hormones, in the aetiology of cancer. She is also involved in a study investigating the effects of shift work on cancer and cardiovascular diseases, funded by the Health and Safety Executive.

Sarah Tipper

Laboratory Manager

Sarah Tipper joined the unit in October 2000. Sarah is the unit’s laboratory manager. Her duties include processing blood samples, maintaining sample records, retrieving samples for analysis, transporting samples, carrying out immunoassays, writing standard operating procedures and risk assessments. She is also responsible for the training and supervision of lab staff. Sarah also supports the EPIC study with administration and telephone queries.

Dr Ruth Travis

Molecular Epidemiologist

Ruth is a molecular epidemiologist working primarily on the hormonal, lifestyle and genetic determinants of cancer, with a particular focus on breast and prostate cancer. She leads several projects for the Endogenous Hormones, Nutritional Biomarkers and Prostate Cancer Collaborative Group, which conducts pooled analyses of prospective data on biomarkers and prostate cancer risk. Ruth is also principal investigator of a study on the effects of shift work and circadian rhythms on cancer, funded by the Health and Safety Executive, and has published research on the association of melatonin in relation to breast cancer risk. She is involved in several working groups within EPIC-Europe, including the EPIC-prostate and EPIC-lymphoma working groups, and represents EPIC as a member of the international Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3) and PRACTICAL consortium. Ruth joined the Unit in 2001 and obtained a DPhil in cancer epidemiology in 2005.

Dr Kostas Tsilidis

Post-doctoral Fellow

Kostas joined the unit as a Post-doctoral Fellow in September of 2008 and holds a PhD in Epidemiology and a Master’s in Biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also has a Master’s in Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Nursing from the University of Athens in Greece. His main area of research is the role of modifiable and non-modifiable markers of inflammation and insulin resistance on colorectal neoplasia. He is currently working on projects in EPIC-Europe relating diet to prostate cancer and hormone replacement therapy to colorectal cancer. He represents the unit at the Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium and he is a member of the EPIC thyroid cancer working group.

Dr Wang, Xiaosi (Selina)

Post-doctoral Research Scientist

Xiaosi (Selina) joined the Unit as a post-doctoral research scientist in March 2009. Prior to her appointment at the unit, she was based in the Department of Health Sciences and Department of Biology at the University of York, UK. Xiaosi (Selina) has a background in applied mathematics and theoretical epidemiology.

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