Jennifer Dowd

Jennifer Dowd

Deputy Director LCDS and Associate Professor of Demography and Population Health


Jenn Dowd is a quantitative social and health scientist with interdisciplinary training in demography, economics, epidemiology and infectious disease. Her research seeks to understand how social and biological processes interact over the life course and how social factors “get under the skin” to impact health. She has studied how socioeconomic status shapes immune function and risk of infections as well as links between infections and chronic diseases of aging. On-going projects include understanding the social determinants of the human microbiome and the causes of stalling life expectancy in the US and UK. She is currently researching social and demographic factors related to COVID-19, and is also part of an all-female team of PhD health scientists interpreting and curating COVID-19 science for a general audience at Dear Pandemic.

She is a highly cited scholar who has published over 90 articles in journals in interdisciplinary journals such as the Proceedings of National Academies of Sciences, Nature Human Behaviour, the American Journal of Epidemiology, and Social Science and Medicine. She has been Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on multiple large grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health on topics including the role of infections and immunity in health inequalities and social and population science approaches to the microbiome. She is currently an elected member of the Population Association of America (PAA) Board of Directors and on the Editorial Board of the flagship journal Demography.

Dr. Dowd received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2004 in Demography and Economics from the Office of Population Research.  She did postdoctoral training in Epidemiology as a  Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar in the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health  at the University of Michigan. She has previously held positions in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, King's College London, and the CUNY School of Public Health/CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR), City University of New York. 

Research Areas: Population Health, Biodemography, Social Determinants of Health

  • Scientific consensus on the COVID-19 pandemic: we need to act now.

  • Estimating the burden of COVID-19 pandemic on mortality, life expectancy and lifespan inequality in England and Wales: A population-level analysis

  • Forecasting spatial, socioeconomic and demographic variation in COVID-19 health care demand in England and Wales.

  • Early Signs of Gut Microbiome Aging: Biomarkers of Inflammation, Metabolism, and Macromolecular Damage in Young Adulthood.

  • Social network-based distancing strategies to flatten the COVID-19 curve in a post-lockdown world

  • Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19.

  • A systematic review of the impact of psychosocial factors on immunity: Implications for enhancing BCG response against tuberculosis.


MSc/MPhil course in Advanced Quantitative Methods (Hilary Term)

Dr. Dowd is available to supervise graduate students, particularly those with interests in social determinants of health and biodemography.