Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


About the Department

The Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health was established in January 2017 by the merging of UCL's Health Behaviour Research Centre and Psychobiology group, both formerly part of UCL's Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. 

The department sits within the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care and the Faculty of Population Health Sciences.  The Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care holds an Athena SWAN Charter Silver Award in recognition of its commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in academia.  


The mission of the Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health is to apply the whole range of behavioural sciences (including health, social and cognitive psychology, aetiological and health care epidemiology, psychobiology, exercise science, behaviour genetics, dietetics, communication sciences, and health services research) to a better understanding of disease prevention, early detection, and prognosis.  


Our vision is to carry out cutting-edge research and provide high quality teaching into the impact of behavioural and emotional processes on disease aetiology and health outcomes, and to implement this knowledge to reduce disease risk and improve the health of the population.

History of the Department

The Health Behaviour Research Centre emerged from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Health Behaviour Unit, established by Professor Michael Russell at the Institute of Psychiatry. Professor Jane Wardle joined the Unit in 1991 and became Director in 1996. She moved the Unit to UCL and expanded its remit beyond its traditional focus on smoking to include other health behaviours relevant to illness, including diet and physical activity, and cancer screening and prevention. It was renamed the Health Behaviour Research Centre, which was led by Jane Wardle until her death in October 2015, and Professor Robert West from October 2015 to December 2016.  

The Psychobiology group was formed by Professor Andrew Steptoe when he moved to UCL in 2000. Funded primarily by the British Heart Foundation and the Medical Research Council, the aim of the group was to understand the biological processes through which psychosocial risk factors influence physical disease risk.

Structure of the Department


Head of DepartmentProf Lion Shahab
Deputy Head of Department 

Research Group Leads

Behavioural Science and Early Diagnosis of CancerProf Christian von Wagner
Energy Balance & CancerProf Abigail Fisher
Epidemiology of Cancer Healthcare & OutcomesProf  Yoryos Lyratzopoulos
ObesityAssociate Prof Clare Llewellyn
PsychobiologyProf Andrew Steptoe
Social Biobehavioural Research Prof Daisy Fancourt 
UCL Tobacco & Alcohol Research Prof Jamie Brown

Administrative Staff

Departmental ManagerMaria Kristensen


MSc Health Psychology Programme Administrator

Sandra Soria Medina

Postgraduate Taught TutorProf Lion Shahab
Postgraduate Research TutorsProf Daisy Fancourt & Prof Jamie Brown

Job Vacancies

All vacancies within BSH can be found on the IEHC jobs page.