Julian Peto MA DSc FMedSci

Professor of Epidemiology


Julian Peto attended Balliol College, Oxford (MA Maths) and Imperial College, London (MSc Statistics). From 1969 to 1974 he worked as a medical statistician at Edinburgh University, the Institute of Psychiatry and the Medical Research Council's T.B. Unit. He joined Sir Richard Doll's ICRF Cancer Epidemiology and Clinical Trials Unit in Oxford in 1974, and was appointed Chairman of the Section of Epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Research in 1983. He joined the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 1998. His Chair of Epidemiology, now at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is supported by Cancer Research UK.

His main current research interests are asbestos-related cancers, the role of HPV testing in cervical cancer screening, and breast cancer genetics. He leads the VIDAL (Vitamin D and longevity) trial of high-dose vitamin D in healthy adults aged over 65 which was launched in 2013.




He is a tutor for the MSc in Epidemiology and supervises PhD students.


Professor Peto and his colleagues carry out epidemiological studies and genetic research on various cancers. His work has included studies on asbestos and other occupational carcinogens, childhood cancers, oral contraceptives and breast cancer, the natural history of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical cancer, particularly in relation to screening, and the genetics of breast cancer. He has also been involved in many randomised studies of cancer treatment.

Research areas

  • Clinical trials
  • Health technology assessment


  • Epidemiology
  • Genetic epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Statistics

Disease and Health Conditions

  • Cancer

Other interests

  • Breast Cancer Genetics
  • Cervical Screening
  • HPV Testing
  • Mesothelioma
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