Dr Sharon Cox
Bsc Msc PhD
Professor of Epidemiology & Nutrition at Nagasaki School of Tropical Medicine & Global Health
I graduated from University College London with a BSc. (Biochemistry, First Class Hons) in 1996, followed by a post graduate teaching qualification (1997), a Masters in Public Health Nutrition at LSHTM (1998) and finally a PhD, also at LSHTM (2003). My PhD comprised a clinical trial in Ghana of low-dose maternal vitamin A supplementation to determine effects on immunity to malaria in pregnancy. In 2002 I became a staff member at LSHTM within the MRC International Nutrition Group and worked on malaria and anemia in Gambian children. In 2007 I moved to be based in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, working mostly on sickle cell disease. In 2015 I was appointed as a Professor at the School of Tropical Medicine & Global Health, Nagasaki, where I am now based. I hold a joint position as an Associate Professor at LSHTM.
I have previously taught and managed units within the MSc in Nutrition for Global Health and I have been a tutor for units on distance based learning MSc courses: ID202 “Nutrition and Infection” (MSc Infectious Diseases) & EPM201 "Study Design: writing a grant application" (MSc Epidemiology).
In my role at the Nagasaki Graduate School of Tropical Medicine & Global Health, I am involved in a new MSc in Global Health taught alongside a Masters in Public Health and MSc in Tropical Medicine. I coordinate the joint teaching in epidemiology and statistics between LSHTM and Nagasaki staff on the above Masters programmes. I also teach sessions on epidemiology, research methodology and Issues in Nutrition and Global Health, including both under and over-nutrition.
In collaboration with colleagues in infectious diseases I am conducting research to investigate how nutrition and nutritional management of moderate and severe acute malnutrition and diabetes may determine outcomes of diseases like TB. This includes a study starting in 2016 of acutely unwell patients admitted to the TB ward in the Philippines with investigators from the San Lazaro Hospital, Manila. Further studies are planned in outpatient and pediatric populations.
Within the Nagasaki Kenya research programme I am involved in ongoing research on malaria elimination strategies and impacts on maternal and child health in Western Kenya, with collaborators from Osaka City University & Karolinska Institute, (Prof Akira Kaneko). I am also interested in research on the causes and treatment of anemia in hospital and community based settings, where iron deficiency, infections, chronic inflammation, other nutritional deficiencies, plus conditions like sickle cell disease contribute and interact to cause anaemia. Moderate or severe anemia is often present as a co-morbidity in acutely unwell patients but may not be diagnosed or adequately managed in hospital or post discharge. Opportunties to diagnose and treat anemia in community based settings are also being missed. Prevention and treatment of iron deficiency is complicated by the potential for increases in infectious morbidity and mortality from malaria and other infections with iron supplementation (Prentice & Cox, Adv Nutr 2012).
My previous research in sickle cell disease in Tanzaia is outlined below.
I have been working with the Muhimbili Sickle Cohort in Tanzania, comprising over 4,000 patients in routine follow-up and the Muhimbili Wellcome Programme since 2007. My research has focussed on nutritional and genetic modulation of sickle cell disease (SCD). We completed a Wellcome Trust funded clinical trial of a nutraceutical intervention in children with SCD with primary endpoints of growth and improved vascular function. The data are currently being analysed. My main collaborators in MWP are Dr Julie Makani, (Muhimbili University of Health & Allied Sciences & University of Oxford) & Professor Charles Newton (University of Oxford & KEMRI-Kilifi, Kenya).