Dr Catherine John

Clinical Lecturer in Epidemiology and Public Health

School/Department: Population Health Sciences, Department of



I am a clinical academic in public health and epidemiology, with expertise in development of cohort studies and the use of longitudinal and linked healthcare data to understand the epidemiology and genetic epidemiology of chronic diseases. 

I am a co-investigator on two large cohort studies, the EXCEED study (a cohort of over 11,000 adults focusing on chronic disease) and UK-REACH (a cohort of healthcare workers, focusing on COVID-19 risk and ethnicity).

I am clinically qualified and clinically active as a specialty registrar in public health, practising in local authority public health where my interests include development of strategy and policy to address the social determinants of health, and community engagement and co-production. 

My other interests include development of research capacity in low- and middle-income settings (particularly sub-Saharan Africa), representation of underserved communities in health data science, and effective public engagement in the context of longitudinal studies. 


I have recently completed a Medical Research Council Clinical Research Training Fellowship.  My fellowship research focused on developing and leveraging linked primary care records in longitudinal cohorts to refine case definitions for obstructive lung diseases and to undertake genome-wide association studies using these definitions.

Selected recent grants:

Pareek M, Abrams K, Abubakar I ... John C, et al. UK-REACH: United Kingdom Research Study into Ethnicity And COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers. (DHSC/UKRI, £2.1m), 1 August 2020-2021.

Vande Hey J, Micklesfield L, Ramsay M ... John C et al. Environmental health in sub-Saharan Africa: leveraging local and global air pollution data for epidemiological research. (UKRI/Royal Society of Engineering, £288,954), 12 March 2020 - 12 March 2023.

John C, Guyatt AL, Batini CB, Tobin MD et al. Ethnic diversity in health data science: the EXCEED study. University of Leicester 10x10 Challenge Fund. £10,000, Feb 2020-July 2020.

John C. MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship. Characterising the shared and disease-specific genetic determinants of asthma and COPD. (MRC, £185,329). Oct 2016-Sept 2019.


Selected recent publications

John C*, Guyatt AL, Shrine N, et al. Genetic associations and architecture of asthma-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap. Chest 2022 [In press]. (joint first author)

Fabbri C, Hagenaars SP, John C, et al. Genetic and clinical characteristics of treatment-resistant depression using primary care records in two UK cohorts. Molecular Psychiatry 2021. 

Fawcett KA, Obeidat M, Melbourne CA, John C, et al. Variants associated with HHIP expression have sex-differential effects on lung function [version 2; peer review: 2 approved]. Wellcome Open Res 2021, 5:111. 

Fawcett KA, Song K, Qian G, ... John C, et al. Pleiotropic associations of heterozygosity for the SERPINA1 Z allele in the UK Biobank. ERJ Open Research 2021;7:00049-2021. 

Woolf K, McManus C, Martin CA, ... John C, et al. Ethnic differences in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine hesitancy in United Kingdom healthcare workers: Results from the UK-REACH prospective nationwide cohort study. Lancet Regional Health Europe, 2021. 

Wernecke B, Wright CY, Vande Hey J, ... John C, et al. Opportunities for the application of low-cost sensors in epidemiological studies to advance evidence of air pollution impacts on human health. Clean Air Journal 2021;31(1).
Woolf K, Melbourne CA, Bryant L, ... John C, et al for the UK-REACH collaboration. The United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity And COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH): Protocol for a prospective longitudinal cohort study of healthcare and ancillary workers in UK healthcare settings. BMJ Open 2021;11:e050647. 

Moll M, Sakornsakolpat P, Shrine N, ... John C, et al. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and related phenotypes: polygenic risk scores in population-based and case-control cohorts. Lancet Respiratory Medicine 2020;8(7):696-708.

Haldar K, George L, Wang Z, ... John C, et al. The sputum microbiome is distinct between COPD and health, independent of smoking history.  Respiratory Research 2020;21:183. 

John C*, Reeve NF*, Free RC, et al. Cohort Profile: Extended Cohort for E-health, Environment and DNA (EXCEED). International Journal of Epidemiology 2019; 48(3): 678-679j. Available from: (joint first author)

Shrine N*, Portelli MA*, John C*, et al. A genome-wide association study of moderate-severe asthma in individuals of European ancestry. Lancet Respiratory Medicine 2019;7:20-34. (joint first author)

Corbin L, Tan V, Hughes D, ... John C, et al. Formalising recall by genotype as an efficient approach to detailed phenotyping and causal inference. Nature Communications 2018; 9(1):711.

Genetic variants affecting cross-sectional lung function in adults show little or no effect on longitudinal lung function decline. John C*, Soler Artigas M*, et al. Thorax 2017;72:400-408 (joint first author)

Wain LV, Shrine N, Soler Artigas M, ... John C, et al. Genome-wide association analyses for lung function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease identify new loci and potential druggable targets. Nature Genetics 2017;49:416-25.

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