David Leon

BA (Hons) PhD

of Epidemiology


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He is currently a visiting Professor at the University of Bristol (2000-) and at the University of Stockholm (2005-) and an editor of the International Journal of Epidemiology (2001-). He has sat on and chaired numerous advisory and funding panels in the UK and elsewhere, and has been particularly involved with the work of UK Medical Research Council.



Department of Non-communicable Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Global Non-Communicable Diseases
Health and Social Change (ECOHOST)


He currently teaches on a wide range of MSc courses at LSHTM including the introductory course on epidemiology. He also co-organise the Epidemiology of Non-communicable Diseases study unit in Term 2. This study unit aims to convey the growing importance of a wide range of non-communicable diseases throughout the world including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and mental health and injuries and violence.


In the 1990s he set up and led a series of widely cited studies on the fetal origins of adult disease funded by the UK MRC and the Swedish Research Council, working with researchers in Uppsala. In recognition of this work he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Uppsala (2001). His most recent work in this area has been concerned with ethnic differences in body composition in infancy. 

His main research focus concerns the determinants of health in the former communist countries of Europe. He was co-founder of the European Centre for the Health of Societies in Transition (ECOHOST) at LSHTM with Martin McKee. Much of his work has been concerned with the Russian mortality crisis, which has produced some of the most important and highly cited papers on this topic. He has led two Wellcome Trust-funded projects in Russia (2002-2010) that established for the first time a key role for hazardous drinking as a major explanation for high working age male mortality there.  He is now leading a major international project aimed at understanding why Russia has one of the highest mortality rates from circulatory disease in the world. This is funded by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award and various sources in Norway. The project is underway and will run for 5 years until 2019.

Research Area
Child health
Public health
Substance abuse
Behaviour change
Global Health
International comparisons
Life-course epidemiology
Disease and Health Conditions
Cardiovascular disease
Non-communicable diseases
Russian Federation
Europe & Central Asia (all income levels)
European Union

Selected Publications

Metabolic profiling of alcohol consumption in 9778 young adults.
Würtz, P. ; Cook, S. ; Wang, Q. ; Tiainen, M. ; Tynkkynen, T. ; Kangas, A.J. ; Soininen, P. ; Laitinen, J. ; Viikari, J. ; Kähönen, M. ; Lehtimäki, T. ; Perola, M. ; Blankenberg, S. ; Zeller, T. ; Männistö, S. ; Salomaa, V. ; Järvelin, M.R. ; Raitakari, O.T. ; Ala-Korpela, M. ; Leon, D.A. ;
Int J Epidemiol
Contributions of risk factors and medical care to cardiovascular mortality trends.
Ezzati, M. ; Obermeyer, Z. ; Tzoulaki, I. ; Mayosi, B.M. ; Elliott, P. ; Leon, D.A. ;
Nat Rev Cardiol
Association between alcohol and cardiovascular disease: Mendelian randomisation analysis based on individual participant data.
Holmes, M.V. ; Dale, C.E. ; Zuccolo, L. ; Silverwood, R.J. ; Guo, Y. ; Ye, Z. ; Prieto-Merino, D. ; Dehghan, A. ; Trompet, S. ; Wong, A. ; Cavadino, A. ; Drogan, D. ; Padmanabhan, S. ; Li, S. ; Yesupriya, A. ; Leusink, M. ; Sundstrom, J. ; Hubacek, J.A. ; Pikhart, H. ; Swerdlow, D.I. ; Panayiotou, A.G. ; Borinskaya, S.A. ; Finan, C. ; Shah, S. ; Kuchenbaecker, K.B. ; Shah, T. ; Engmann, J. ; Folkersen, L. ; Eriksson, P. ; Ricceri, F. ; Melander, O. ; Sacerdote, C. ; Gamble, D.M. ; Rayaprolu, S. ; Ross, O.A. ; McLachlan, S. ; Vikhireva, O. ; Sluijs, I. ; Scott, R.A. ; Adamkova, V. ; Flicker, L. ; Bockxmeer, F.M. ; Power, C. ; Marques-Vidal, P. ; Meade, T. ; Marmot, M.G. ; Ferro, J.M. ; Paulos-Pinheiro, S. ; Humphries, S.E. ; Talmud, P.J. ; Mateo Leach, I. ; Verweij, N. ; Linneberg, A. ; Skaaby, T. ; Doevendans, P.A. ; Cramer, M.J. ; Harst, P.v. ; Klungel, O.H. ; Dowling, N.F. ; Dominiczak, A.F. ; Kumari, M. ; Nicolaides, A.N. ; Weikert, C. ; Boeing, H. ; Ebrahim, S. ; Gaunt, T.R. ; Price, J.F. ; Lannfelt, L. ; Peasey, A. ; Kubinova, R. ; Pajak, A. ; Malyutina, S. ; Voevoda, M.I. ; Tamosiunas, A. ; Maitland-van der Zee, A.H. ; Norman, P.E. ; Hankey, G.J. ; Bergmann, M.M. ; Hofman, A. ; Franco, O.H. ; Cooper, J. ; Palmen, J. ; Spiering, W. ; Jong, P.A. ; Kuh, D. ; Hardy, R. ; Uitterlinden, A.G. ; Ikram, M.A. ; Ford, I. ; Hyppönen, E. ; Almeida, O.P. ; Wareham, N.J. ; Khaw, K.T. ; Hamsten, A. ; Husemoen, L.L. ; Tjønneland, A. ; Tolstrup, J.S. ; Rimm, E. ; Beulens, J.W. ; Verschuren, W.M. ; Onland-Moret, N.C. ; Hofker, M.H. ; Wannamethee, S.G. ; Whincup, P.H. ; Morris, R. ; Vicente, A.M. ; Watkins, H. ; Farrall, M. ; Jukema, J.W. ; Meschia, J. ; Cupples, L.A. ; Sharp, S.J. ; Fornage, M. ; Kooperberg, C. ; LaCroix, A.Z. ; Dai, J.Y. ; Lanktree, M.B. ; Siscovick, D.S. ; Jorgenson, E. ; Spring, B. ; Coresh, J. ; Li, Y.R. ; Buxbaum, S.G. ; Schreiner, P.J. ; Ellison, R.C. ; Tsai, M.Y. ; Patel, S.R. ; Redline, S. ; Johnson, A.D. ; Hoogeveen, R.C. ; Hakonarson, H. ; Rotter, J.I. ; Boerwinkle, E. ; Bakker, P.I. ; Kivimaki, M. ; Asselbergs, F.W. ; Sattar, N. ; Lawlor, D.A. ; Whittaker, J. ; Davey Smith, G. ; Mukamal, K. ; Psaty, B.M. ; Wilson, J.G. ; Lange, L.A. ; Hamidovic, A. ; Hingorani, A.D. ; Nordestgaard, B.G. ; Bobak, M. ; Leon, D.A. ; Langenberg, C. ; Palmer, T.M. ; Reiner, A.P. ; Keating, B.J. ; Dudbridge, F. ; Casas, J.P. ; InterAct Consortium, . ;
Hazardous alcohol consumption is associated with increased levels of B-type natriuretic peptide: evidence from two population-based studies.
Leon, D.A.; Shkolnikov, V.M.; Borinskaya, S.; Casas, J.P.; Evans, A.; Gil, A.; Kee, F.; Kiryanov, N.; McKee, M.; O'Doherty, M.G.; Ploubidis, G.B.; Polikina, O.; Vassiliev, M.; Blankenberg, S.; Watkins, H.;
Eur J Epidemiol
Differences in body composition between infants of South Asian and European ancestry: the London Mother and Baby Study.
Stanfield, K.M.; Wells, J.C.; Fewtrell, M.S.; Frost, C.; Leon, D.A.;
Int J Epidemiol
Hazardous alcohol drinking and premature mortality in Russia: a population based case-control study.
Leon, D.A.; Saburova, L.; Tomkins, S.; Andreev, E.; Kiryanov, N.; McKee, M.; Shkolnikov, V.M.;
See all David Leon's Publications