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Jennifer Beam Dowd, PhD

Deputy Centre Director and Professor of Demography and Population Health

Jenn Dowd is a quantitative social and health scientist with interdisciplinary training in demography, economics, epidemiology and infectious disease. Her research seeks to understand how social and biological processes interact over the life course and how social factors “get under the skin” to impact health. She has studied how socioeconomic status shapes immune function and risk of infections as well as links between infections and chronic diseases of aging. On-going projects include understanding the social determinants of the human microbiome and the causes of stalling life expectancy in the US and UK as Principal Investigator of the ERC Consolidator Project MORTAL. She is currently researching social and demographic factors related to COVID-19, and is also part of an all-female team of PhD health scientists interpreting and curating COVID-19 science for a general audience at Dear Pandemic.


She is a highly cited scholar who has published over 90 articles in journals in interdisciplinary journals such as the Proceedings of National Academies of Sciences, Nature Human Behaviour, the American Journal of Epidemiology, and Social Science and Medicine. She has been Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on multiple large grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health on topics including the role of infections and immunity in health inequalities and social and population science approaches to the microbiome. She is a former elected member of the Population Association of America (PAA) Board of Directors and on the Editorial Board of the flagship journal Demography.

Dr. Dowd received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2004 in Demography and Economics from the Office of Population Research.  She did postdoctoral training in Epidemiology as a  Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar in the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health  at the University of Michigan. She has previously held positions in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, King's College London, and the CUNY School of Public Health/CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR), City University of New York. 

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Reconstructing Sociogenomics Research: Dismantling Biological Race and Genetic Essentialism Narratives

Pamela Herd, Melinda C. Mills, Jennifer Beam Dowd

Journal of Health and Social Behavior

8 June 2021


Health and inequality: the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic

Jennifer B. Dowd, Xuejie Ding, Evelina T. Akimova and Melinda C. Mills FBA

The British Academy

23 March 2021


Estimating the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality, life expectancy and lifespan inequality in England and Wales: a population-level analysis

Jose Manuel Aburto, Ridhi Kashyap, Jonas Schöley, Colin Angus, John Ermisch, Melinda C Mills, Jennifer Beam Dowd

Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

24 January 2021


Life Course Socioeconomic Disadvantage and the Aging Immune System: Findings From the Health and Retirement Study

Grace A Noppert, PhD, Rebecca C Stebbins, MSPH, Jennifer B Dowd, PhD, Robert A Hummer, PhD, Allison E Aiello, PhD

The Journals of Gerontology: Series B

2 September 2020


Forecasting spatial, socioeconomic and demographic variation in COVID-19 health care demand in England and Wales

Verhagen, M. D., Brazel, D. M., Dowd, J. B., Kashnitsky, I., & Mills, M. C.

BMC Medicine, 18: 203. Dashboard:

28 June 2020


Reply: A renewed call for detailed social and demographic COVID-19 data from all countries

Dowd, J.B., Andriano, L., Brazel D.M., Rotondi, V., Block, P., Ding, X., & Mills, M.C.

PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(25): 13884-13885.

22 June 2020


Socio-demographic and epidemiological consideration of Africa’s COVID-19 response: what is the possible pandemic course?

Gaye, B., Khoury, S., Cene, C.W., Kingue, S., N’Guetta, R., Lassale, C., Baldé, D., Diop, I.B., Dowd, J.B., Mills, M.C., & Jouven, X.

Nature Medicine, 11:1-4.

10 June 2020


Social network-based distancing strategies to flatten the COVID-19 curve in a post-lockdown world

Block, P., Hoffman, M., Raabe, I.J., Dowd, J.B., Rahal, C., Kashyap, R., & Mills, M.C.

Nature Human Behaviour, 4: 588-596

3 June 2020


Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19

Dowd, J. B., Andriano, L., Brazel, D. M., Rotondi, V., Block, P., Ding, X., Liu, Y., & Mills, M. C.

PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
117(18), 9696–9698

4 May 2020


A systematic review of the impact of psychosocial factors on immunity: Implications for enhancing BCG response against tuberculosis

Hayward, S., Dowd, J.B., Fletcher, H.A., Nellums. L., Wurie, F., & Boccia, D.

Social Science and Medicine - Population Health

28 November 2019

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