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Mary Schooling

Associate Professor and Cluster Leader (Non-communicable Diseases in Global Health),

School of Public Health,

LKS Faculty of Medicine,

The University of Hong Kong

Dr Mary Schooling joined the School of Public Health at HKU in 2002 as a part-time teaching assistant after obtaining a PhD in Epidemiology from University College London (UK) following a career in IT and Operations Research starting at IBM. Dr Schooling is also a Professor at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York. She is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (BMJ Publishing Group) and of PLoS ONE, a Preventive Medicine Editorial board member and an Advisory Editor for Social Science and Medicine.

Dr Schooling’s public health research focuses on finding new interventions for major non-communicable diseases. Dr Schooling is using well-established theory from evolutionary biology, i.e., that growth and reproduction trade-off against longevity, to explain population health, to optimize early life interventions, and to identify new interventions. Dr Schooling is also exploiting unique attributes of Southern China to determine the role of key modifiable exposures, such as alcohol use, diet, obesity, physical activity, breastfeeding and traditional Chinese medicines, in non-communicable diseases. Finally, Dr Schooling is exploiting discrepancies between East and West to identify novel drivers of population health. Key resources for this program are cohort studies, i.e., "Children of 1997", the Elderly Health Service Cohort and the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study, and innovative methods, such as Mendelian randomization.

This interdisciplinary research program has yielded over 330 publications and several translatable mechanistic insights.

  1. An explanation for the changing patterns of disease with the epidemiological transition, including the emergence of higher rates of ischemic cardiovascular disease in men than women and the differing patterns of disease by migration status, specifically the higher risk of diabetes, haemorrhagic stroke and infection related cancers but lower risk of hormone related cancers and ischemic cardiovascular disease often seen in migrants from less to more economically developed settings.

  2. Recognition by the United States Food and Drug Administration (2014/5) and Health Canada (2014) that androgens are a new cardiovascular disease risk factor, with impact on testosterone prescription and practice

  3. Identification of existing interventions, such as neurokinin 3 receptor antagonists, the traditional Chinese medicine, puerarin, copper and aspartate, likely acting on the reproductive axis, which could be used more generally to combat cardiovascular disease.

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