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Professor Jean Golding

Professor Jean Golding

Professor Jean Golding
M.A.(Oxon.), Ph.D.(Lond.), D.Sc.(Bristol), F.S.S., F.F.P.H.M., M.R.C.P.C.H., F.Med.Sci.

Emeritus Professor

Emeritus Professor of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology

Area of research

paediatric and perinatal epidemiology

Office Room BG14
Barley House,
Oakfield Grove, Clifton BS8 2BN
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 3310198


I am an epidemiologist focussing in particular on reproductive, prenatal, perinatal, infant and childhood health and development. In 1987 I founded the international journal 'Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology', and was the Editor-in-Chief from 1987 until 2012. I was the founder, and until 2006, the Scientific and Executive Director of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children [ALSPAC], otherwise known as Children of the Nineties.

My current work includes the following:

(a) environmental aetiology of autistic traits, particularly focussing on factors operating in pregnancy and early childhood that are associated with diagnosed autistic spectrum disorder, and the traits that contribute to this.

(b) The way in which maternal exposure to seafood in pregnancy is associated with parental mood and with child behaviour and neurocognitive outcomes including IQ, hyperactivity, dyslexia and coordination disorder (Funded by the Waterloo Foundation and NIH).

(c) Exposure of the fetus to mercury, lead and other trace elements and their effect on subsequent neurodevelopment (funded by NOAA).

(d) Transgenerational influences on health and development, with particular focus on smoking and stress (funded by MRC).

(e) Documenting and archiving of early documents detailing conception, gestation, birth and development of ALSPAC (the section of this relating to ethics was part-funded by the Leverhulme Fundation).

(f) Effects of oxytocin exposure in labour on maternal depression and parenting behaviour ( in association with American colleagues andfunded by NIH)



Initially I trained as a mathematician.  I spent 3 years as a research fellow in the Dept of Human Genetics & Biometry at University College London where I carried out epidemiological research into the aetiology of birth defects.  At the same time I was working with the 1958 Perinatal Mortality Survey and birth cohort along with Eva Alberman and Neville Butler.  Subsequently I have been involved with large data sets including the 1958 and 1970 national birth cohorts, the Oxford Record Linkage Study and the Jamaican Perinatal Morbidity & Mortality Study.   My analyses of the earlier data sets revealed the difficulties in interpretation of findings without finer detail as to the processes involved. 

A chance meeting with Marcus Pembrey whilst planning a new survey resulted in the design of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents & Children (ALSPAC) with genetic, phenotype and enviromental measures.  I was Scientific and Executive Director of the study from its inception until 31st December 2005.  I am still actively involved in analysis and writing up of the ALSPAC data with particular emphasis on behavioural and neurocognitive outcomes. 

In 1987 I founded the international journal "Paediatric & Perinatal Epidemiology" which is published by Wiley Interscience, although I retired as Editor-in-Chief in 2012.


Postgraduate supervisor: 

PhD Dheeraj Rai

PhD by published papers:  Colin Steer (Bristol) and Andy Boyd (Bristol)


  • paediatric epidemiology perinatal epidemiology


  • Outcomes of pregnancy Maternal morbidity Childhood morbidity Child development


  • longitudinal cohort studies statistical analyses

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • Marcus Pembrey

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