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New Climate Change and Health PhD students

29 November 2023

The Cabot Institute for the Environment and Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research have recruited a cohort of funded PhD students in the area of Climate Change and Health. Three new PhD projects will be supported by a cross-disciplinary team of academic staff who are experts in their fields.

This is part of a collaboration between Cabot Institute and Elizabeth Blackwell Institute looking at the impacts of climate change on human health. Below you can meet the new PhD students starting their projects in 2023, and find out more about their research. 

Leticia Mara Marca

Climate change and local public health: how are local climate change strategies developed and are they effective? 

“In my PhD project I aim to evaluate how public health directors and urban and city policy-makers in England develop climate change mitigation strategies and compare this to how this is done in Brazil. I plan to understand how local actions for different fields (like health, energy, education, transport, green spaces, waste management, and clean water) are designed, managed, and implemented in distinct sectors and locations. I also have the goal to understand how they consider vulnerable populations and which are the actions created for this public. Subsequently, for several selected local climate change mitigation and adaptation interventions resulting from these strategies, I aim to evaluate whether they work, and if and how they are able to address health inequalities. 

“My PhD project aims to create new knowledge of the impact of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies and interventions at the local level, how these address health inequalities, and if and how they contribute to achieving climate justice. Moreover, I aim for my PhD project to have practical impact by developing guidance for improvement of climate mitigation and adaptation programs.” 

Supervisors: Patricia Albers, Frank de Vocht (Health Sciences), Guy Howard (Engineering) 

Ritah Nakanjako 

Adaptation strategies for increasing heat and their contribution to reduce morbidity and mortality 

“I am looking at heat waves, in African countries, heat wave adaptation strategies and heat-health early warning systems. My research seeks to analyse the current and future changes in heat wave characteristics and their impact on the health of people living in low-income communities in Ghana and South Africa. It will assess the most suitable housing heat adaptation interventions to improve in-door thermal comfort in Accra (Ghana) and Cape Town (SA), and seek to develop a new heat-health early warning system for both countries.  

 “This research will contribute to developing interventions that increase in-door comfort for improved health of people in low-income houses and contribute towards Ghana and South Africa health planning, preparation and response.” 

Supervisors: Guy Howard (Engineering), Eunice Lo (Science) 

Sofia Samoylova

Heat impacts on pregnancy outcomes: an interdisciplinary and cross-species approach 

"My project takes an interspecies approach to looking at the effects of heat stress on preterm births using data from both  Diploptera punctata , a species of live-birthing pacific beetle cockroaches, and humans. The research aims include establishing heat experiments on pregnant cockroach mothers and analysing the pregnancy outcome as well as determining potential physiological or genetic mechanisms involved in the process. Additionally, data taken from human hospital cohorts will be analysed to determine a potential trend or relationship between heat waves and preterm births. This will allow to improve our knowledge of pregnancy processes and potentially establish new clinical approaches concerning heat stress and pregnancy care." 

Supervisors: Sinead English (Life Sciences), Eunice Lo (Science), Kate Birchenall (Health Sciences) 


Further information

Find out more about Climate Change and Health research - watch our series of short films 

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