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Mechanisms to Populations research strand launch event

Mech to Pop graphic

7 July 2021

On Thursday 29 April 2021, 70 researchers met online to discuss how to build research capacity at the University of Bristol in the interdisciplinary space between fundamental biosciences and population health sciences. This new research strand is supported by Elizabeth Blackwell Institute.

The aim of the ‘Integrating Health Research: Mechanisms to Populations’ research strand is to promote and facilitate interdisciplinary research between fundamental bioscientists and population health scientists. The strand will bring together the ground-breaking research into disease mechanisms being carried out in the fundamental biosciences with the state-of-the-art methodologies and applied techniques in the population health sciences. The ultimate objective is to enhance the understanding of disease processes and accelerate the arrival of therapies into the clinic.

Chrissy Hammond, Versus Arthritis Senior research fellow, and Associate Professor of Developmental Genetics (School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience) strand co-lead, opened the event and encouraged everyone with an interest or skills in this space to engage with the work of the strand, including PhD students and early career researchers.

The strand aims to support capacity development and provide exciting new opportunities for researchers, including those who have never previously felt their skills and expertise were relevant to a particular health or biomedical area.

Emma Vincent, RD Lawrence Diabetes UK research fellow (Schools of Population Health Science and Cellular and Molecular Medicine), strand co-lead, introduced the Mechanisms to Populations team, giving their background and explaining why they are invested in making interdisciplinary working more accessible to researchers and what the barriers and benefits are. The strand aims to help people bridge the gap between population health science and discovery science (bioscience or lab-based research) and overcome the difficulties of finding the right people in another discipline and the best ways to work together.

The strand began on 1 April 2021 and has funding for two years for facilitating research and collaboration between these two disciplines which complement each other and enhance the work of each other. The strand will work in both directions so that it benefits both disciplines as it tries to overcome barriers such as language, feasibility, skills, time and expectations.

The strand will be a home for interdisciplinary research, a point of contact for people who are interested in working in this space. It has researcher time for pilot interdisciplinary projects undertaken by Ruth Mitchell but is also keen to involve lots of people and build a joint community through workshops and training which would be of particular benefit to Early Career Researchers.

Ruth Mitchell, strand senior research associate, talked about her background and gave ideas of how the team envisages integrating laboratory science and population health and how to engage with the strand through contact with Ruth Mitchell and strand affiliated experts, participation in strand community building activities and engagement with strand. The strand hopes to help break down barriers and facilitate cross-disciplinary projects. As both disciplines are working towards improved patient health, they need each other.

Ways to engage with the strand:

  • Work with us to generate preliminary for a grant or publication
  • Work with us to find a collaborative partner for a project
  • Engage in community building events
  • Engage with our resources and list of experts to enhance your project

The strand hopes to build up a database of people who are open for collaboration. People interested in these areas of research are encouraged to get in touch, email

If you missed the event you can watch the video and see the slides.

Further information

Integrating Health Research: Mechanisms to Populations Research Strand is a cross-Faculty initiative led by:

Emma Vincent, Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Faculty of Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, Population Health Sciences

Chrissy Hammond, Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience

Ruth MitchellFaculty of Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, Population Health Sciences

Any questions or if you would like to be added to the mailing list please email

Read more about other research strands supported by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute.

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