UCL Division of Biosciences

Prof Helen Chatterjee

Prof Helen Chatterjee

Professor of Human and Ecological Health

Genetics, Evolution & Environment

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 1999

Research summary

Helen's research explores the interconnections between the health of the environment and the health of people, and includes biodiversity conservation, cultural and natural value, and evidencing the impact of natural and cultural participation on health.

Helen's biological research explores the role of environmental change, particularly climate change, on species diversity and success; she has worked on gibbons, small apes from SE Asia, for over 20 years and sits on the Executive Committee of International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Section on Small Apes.

Helen has written and edited four books: 'Touch in Museums: Policy and Practice in Object Handling' (Berg Publications, 2008), ‘Museums, Health and Well-being’ (Routledge, 2013), ‘Engaging the Senses: Object-Based Learning in Higher Education’ (Routledge, 2015), ‘Object-Based Learning and Well-being: Exploring Material Connections’ (Taylor Francis, 2020) and over 80 research articles, papers and book chapters.

Teaching summary

Helen’s teaching has focused on embedding object-based learning across diverse curricula, making use of UCL’s extensive museums and collections. For many years she led the Biological Sciences module ‘Vertebrate Life and Evolution’ and the BASc Arts and Sciences module ‘Object Lessons: Communicating Knowledge through Collections’. Helen now leads the MASc in Creative Health, a new UCL East programme hosted by UCL Arts and Sciences, which is the first of its kind in the world.


University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ04 - Recognised by the HEA as a Senior Fellow | 2014
University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2001
University of Sheffield
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1996
University of Sheffield
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1994


Helen is a Professor of Human and Ecological Health working across UCL Biosciences and UCL Arts and Sciences. After completing a BSc in Natural Environmental Science and an MSc in Palaeoanthropology at the University of Sheffield, Helen moved to UCL in 1996 to undertake a PhD and took up the role of Curator at the Grant Museum of Zoology. Helen stayed at the Grant Museum for 10 years and continues to remain actively involved with museums.

As well as her research, Helen is involved in teaching, supervising doctoral students and helping to deliver institutional strategic initiatives focused on teaching and research. She sits on the UCL Health of the Public Delivery Group and co-leads their 'Creative Health Community'.

Helen co-founded the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, is an Advisor to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, and is a Founding Trustee of the National Centre for Creative Health.

Helen's research has won numerous awards including a Special Commendation from Public Health England for Sustainable Development and the 2018 AHRC-Wellcome Health Humanities Medal and Leadership Award. In 2015, Helen was awarded an MBE for services to Higher Education and Culture.

Helen is currently undertaking a Fellowship with UKRI where she is the AHRC Research Programme Director for Health Inequalities.