Jennifer Beam Dowd

Jennifer Beam Dowd

Professor of Demography and Population Health, Deputy Director of Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science


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 (as Principal Investigator of the ERC Consolidator project MORTAL). Professor Dowd 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 a former member of the Population Association of America (PAA) Board of Directors and currently on the Editorial Board of the flagship journal Demography. In 2022, she was awarded the Clifford C. Clogg Award for Mid-Career Achievement by the PAA.

Professor Dowd received her PhD 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. She was promoted to full Professor at the University of Oxford in the Recognition of Distinction exercise in December 2021.

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


MSc/MPhil course in Social Determinants of Health (Hilary Term)

Professor Dowd is available to supervise graduate students, particularly those with interests in the quantitative analysis of the social determinants of health, life expectancy and mortality trends, and intersections of biological and social science.