Dr Ana Bonell

Assistant Professor

United Kingdom

I am an academic clinician with a sound understanding of clinical medicine, physiology, maternal health and epidemiology. I work mainly on the nexus between climate change and maternal and child health.

Currently my research broadly spans three areas within climate and health:

1. Direct health impacts of heat and climate change on maternal and child health

2. Direct health impacts of heat on vulnerable adult populations in West Africa

3. Development and evaluation of co-designed sustainable interventions to reduce the health risk of heat in vulnerable populations in LMICs.


MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM


I teach on the health impacts of climate change on several modules within different Masters programs within LSHTM and will be teaching on the new Masters in Climate Change and Planetary Health which will begin in Sept 2023.


Heat in pregnancy

My Wellcome funded PhD was focused on climate change, maternal health and birth outcomes in The Gambia. I explored how environmental heat affects maternal and fetal physiology in subsistence farmers - a group particularly at risk of the many impacts of climate change. I am co-PI on a Wellcome funded 4 year project (2023-2027) to further understand the mechanistic pathways associated with poor birth outcomes in both acute and chronic heat stress exposure.

Climate change impacts in infants, children and youth

I have several projects in this area. Utilising the wealth of previous research in the MRC, and my expertise in environmental epidemiology I have explored the impacts of heat on growth faltering in the first 1000 days of life. I am also a member of the Cities, Children and Climate team, where we aim to understand and communicate young peoples views on their cities, climate change, air pollution and heat and drive policy change through modeling the health benefits of decarbonisation policy on child health. I have also led several engagement projects in schools in The Gambia to understand and learn from Gambian youth on what climate change means to them and how they would like to see things change.

Heat in adults

I am the in-country lead investigator for a Swiss National Science Foundation grant exploring the health impacts of humid heat in Central River Region of The Gambia. This study will give insight into the physiological strain acclimatised individuals experience as part of their daily lives and how this impacts their health and well-being. I am also a co-investigator on a Medical Research Foundation project exploring the impact of heat, air pollution and potential mitigating effect of greenspace on adults in four cities in Senegal.

Heat interventions

I am a co-investigator on a Wellcome funded project to evaluate the health impacts of a series of heat alleviation bundles in Pakistan. The interventions in this cluster randomised controlled trial will be determined based on co-design workshops following in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with key stakeholders, experts, government officials, resident groups and local NGOs.

Research Area
Climate change
Maternal health
Child health
Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)
South Asia

Selected Publications

An expert review of environmental heat exposure and stillbirth in the face of climate change: Clinical implications and priority issues.
BONELL, A; PART, C; OKOMO, U; COLE, R; HAJAT, S; KOVATS, S; Sferruzzi-Perri, AN; Hirst, JE;
BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology
Equity in planetary health education initiatives.
BONELL, A; Badjie, J; Faal, LB; Jammeh, S; ALI, Z; Hydara, M; Davies, A; Faal, M; Ahmed, AN; Hand, W; PRENTICE, AM; MURRAY, KA; SCHEELBEEK, P;
The Lancet. Planetary health
Environmental heat stress on maternal physiology and fetal blood flow in pregnant subsistence farmers in The Gambia, west Africa: an observational cohort study.
BONELL, A; Sonko, B; Badjie, J; Samateh, T; Saidy, T; Sosseh, F; Sallah, Y; Bajo, K; MURRAY, KA; Hirst, J; Vicedo-Cabrera, A; PRENTICE, AM; Maxwell, NS; HAINES, A;
The Lancet. Planetary health
A feasibility study of the use of UmbiFlow™ to assess the impact of heat stress on fetoplacental blood flow in field studies.
BONELL, A; Vannevel, V; Sonko, B; MOHAMMED, N; Vicedo-Cabrera, AM; HAINES, A; Maxwell, NS; Hirst, J; PRENTICE, AM;
International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics
Grassroots and Youth-Led Climate Solutions From The Gambia.
BONELL, A; Badjie, J; Jammeh, S; ALI, Z; Hydara, M; Davies, A; Faal, M; Ahmed, AN; Hand, W; PRENTICE, AM; MURRAY, KA; SCHEELBEEK, P;
Frontiers in Public Health
Impact of cash transfers on the association between prenatal exposures to high temperatures and low birthweight: Retrospective analysis from the LEAP 1000 study.
LaPointe, S; Mendola, P; Lin, S; Tian, L; BONELL, A; Adamba, C; Palermo, T;
BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology
Effects on child and adolescent health of climate change mitigation policies: A systematic review of modelling studies.
Environmental research
Dataset from an observational cohort study of heat stress in pregnant farmers in The Gambia
BONELL, A; Badjie, J; Sonko, B; PRENTICE, AM; HAINES, A; Maxwell, N; Hirst, J; Vicedo-cabrera, AM;
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
An expert review of environmental heat exposure and stillbirth in the face of climate change: clinical implications and priority issues
BONELL, A; Part, C; Okomo, U; Cole, R; Hajat, S; Kovats, S; Sferruzzi-Perri, A; Hirst, J;
Authorea Preprints
Assessing the impact of heat stress on growth faltering in the first 1000 days of life in rural Gambia
BONELL, A; Vicedo-Cabrera, A; Murray, K; Moirano, G; Sonko, B; Moore, S; HAINES, A; Prentice, A;
Research Square
See more information