Christopher Owen is Professor of Epidemiology in the Population Health Research Institute. His recent research has focused on measuring physical activity and fitness and understanding their determinants, especially in children.
Professor Owen led the assessment of objectively defined physical activity levels in the Child Heart And Health Study in England (CHASE), a school-based study of the cardiovascular health of 5,000 UK children of white European, black African-Caribbean, and South Asian origin in three UK cities. This work showed that South Asian children are less physically active than white Europeans, using objective measurements.
He also led on a retinal vessel assessment of these children, which has led to further work examining retinal vessel characteristics in other large adult population-based studies (including EPIC Norfolk UK Biobank).
Professor Owen is principal investigator on the ENABLE London project, which seeks to examine the effect of the built environment on our health and physical activity levels, to see if where we live has an overriding influence on how active we are. The project is funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative and the National Institute of Health Research Public Health Programme.
Professor Owen joined St George's, University of London in 2000 after studying epidemiology at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is a member of the Population Health Research Institute, and was appointed a Professor of Epidemiology in 2015. He has taken on responsibilities in several dimensions.
Professor Owen is responsible for the conception, development, conduct, analysis and writing up of a distinctive programme of epidemiological research (including current work funded by Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health, and British Heart Foundation). He has planned and provided teaching in epidemiology and public health to undergraduate medical students and to postgraduate students from a wide range of backgrounds.
He is also a reviewer for a number of general medicine, ophthalmology and specialist journals, including JAMA, Lancet, BMJ, Ophthalmology, American Journal of Epidemiology, Circulation. He is also a reviewer for numerous funding agencies including Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), The Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council. Dr Owen has been a member of the Research Funding Board (RFB) for the NIHR Public Health Research (PHR) programme since June 2015. He was awarded membership of Faculty of Public Health by distinction in 2012.
Nightingale CM, Rudnicka AR, Owen CG et al. Birthweight and risk markers for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in childhood: the Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE). Diabetologia 2014.
Kapetanakis VV, Rudnicka AR, Wathern AK et al. Adiposity in early, middle and later adult life and cardiometabolic risk markers in later life; findings from the british regional heart study. PLoS One 2014;9:e114289.
Donin AS, Nightingale CM, Owen CG et al. Dietary energy intake is associated with type 2 diabetes risk markers in children.Diabetes Care 2014;37:116-123.
Owen CG, Nightingale CM, Rudnicka AR et al. Travel to school and physical activity levels in 9-10 year-old UK children of different ethnic origin; Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE). PLoS One 2012;7:e30932.
Rudnicka AR, Jarrar Z, Wormald R, Cook DG, Fletcher A, Owen CG. Age and gender variations in age-related macular degeneration prevalence in populations of European ancestry: a meta-analysis. Ophthalmology 2012;119:571-580.
Owen CG, Rudnicka AR, Nightingale CM et al. Retinal arteriolar tortuosity and cardiovascular risk factors in a multi-ethnic population study of 10-year-old children; the Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE). Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2011;31:1933-1938.
Owen CG, Nightingale CM, Rudnicka AR et al. Physical activity, obesity and cardiometabolic risk factors in 9- to 10-year-old UK children of white European, South Asian and black African-Caribbean origin: the Child Heart And health Study in England (CHASE). Diabetologia 2010;53:1620-1630.
Whincup PH, Nightingale CM, Owen CG et al. Early emergence of ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes precursors in the UK: the Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE Study). PLoS Med 2010;7:e1000263.
Owen CG, Nightingale CM, Rudnicka AR, Cook DG, Ekelund U, Whincup PH. Ethnic and gender differences in physical activity levels among 9-10-year-old children of white European, South Asian and African-Caribbean origin: the Child Heart Health Study in England (CHASE Study). Int J Epidemiol 2009;38:1082-1093.
Whincup PH, Kaye SJ, Owen CG et al. Birth weight and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. JAMA 2008;300:2886-2897.
Professor Owen is a member of the Population Health Research Institute.
Dr Sarah Barman – (Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing, Kingston Universtiy, London)
Professor Ashley Cooper, Dr Angie Page – (Centre for Exercise Nutrition & Health Sciences, University of Bristol).
Professor Steven Cummins, Dr Daniel Lewis – (Department of Social and Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygienen and Tropical Medicine).
Professor Anne Ellaway – (MRC Social and Public Health Science Unit, Glasgow)
Professor Billie Giles-Corti – (McCaughey Centre, University of Melbourne).
Professor Richard Martin, Ms Rita Patel – (School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol)
Current Principal Investigator grants:
Medical Research Council – Population and Systems Medicine Board ‘Automated retinal microvascular quantification as a predictor of cardiovascular disease risk in later life – Phase 1’ Award £149,756.8 for 12 months (June 2014), PI Dr. Christopher Owen, co-applicants Dr. Alicja Rudnicka, Prof. Peter Whincup, Prof. David Strachan (St George's, University of London), Dr Sarah Barman (Kingston University), Prof. Paul Foster (Moorfields Eye Hospital, Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL). Grant no. MR/L02005X/1.
National Institute of Health Research – Public Health Programme ‘Does active design increase walking and cycling? Evaluation of a natural experiment examining whether moving into housing in East Village increases family levels of physical activity, particularly walking and cycling.’ Award £607,327 for 46 months (June 2014), PI Dr. Christopher Owen, co-applicants Prof. Peter Whincup, Prof. Derek Cook, Dr. Alicja Rudnicka (St George's, University of London), Prof. Steven Cummins, Dr. Daniel Lewis (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Prof. Ashley Cooper, Dr. Angie Page (University of Bristol), Prof. Billie Gilles-Corti (University of Melbourne, Australia). Grant no. 12/211/69.
National Prevention Research Initiative – Medical Research Council Owen ‘Will moving into social and affordable housing in the Athletes’ Village increase family physical activity levels? Evaluation of a natural experiment’ Cost FEC £1007325, award £ £684,981 for 42 months (June 2012), PI Dr. Christopher Owen, co-applicants Prof. Peter Whincup, Prof. Derek Cook, Dr. Anne Ellaway (MRC Social and Public Health Science Unit, Glasgow) Prof. Billie Gilles-Corti (University of Melbourne, Australia), Dr. Alicja Rudnicka, Prof. Ashley Cooper (University of Bristol). Grant no. MR/J000345/1.
British Heart Foundation ‘Adiposity over the lifecourse and risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, mobility limitation and healthy survival in older men’ Cost £175,396 for 21 months (2010), PI Dr. Christopher Owen, co-applicants Prof. Peter Whincup (St. George’s), Dr. S Goya Wannamethee (Royal Free and University College Medical School), Dr. Alicja Rudnicka, Prof. Derek Cook (St. George’s). Grant no. PG/10/030/28330.
Current co-applicant grants
British Heart Foundation 'Body fatness, overweight and obesity in UK South Asian and black African children and adolescents: accurately assessing current patterns and recent time trends and providing improved body mass index (BMI) thresholds for diagnosis of overweight and obesity' Cost £107,786 for 24 months (2015), PI Prof. Peter Whincup (St. George's), co-applicants Dr. Claire Nightingale, Dr. Alicja Rudnicka, Dr. Christopher Owen, Prof. Derek Cook (St. George's), Prof. Jonathan Wells (University College London). Grant no. PG/15/19/31336.
Fight for Sight – Small Grant Award Scheme ‘An investigation into visual loss in Giant Cell Arteritis’. Award £15,000 for 12 month (November 2014), PI Eoin O’Sullivan (King’s College Hospital, London), so-applicant Sarah Mackie (St James’s University Hospital, Leeds), collaborators Praveen Patel, Pearse Keane (Moorfield Eye Hospital, London), Ann Morgan, Jennifer Barrett (St James’s University Hospital, Leeds), Sarah Barman (Kingston University), Christopher Owen, Alicja Rudnicka (St George’s, University of London), Richard Watts (Ipswith Hospital NHS Trust, Ipswich). Grant no. 1477/8.
Health Technology Assessment Project: 11/21/02 - Can automated Diabetic Retinopathy Image Assessment softwares replace one or more steps of manual imaging grading and is this cost-effective for the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme? Cost £385,488 for 2 years (December 2012), PI Mr Adnan Tufail (Moorfields Eye Hopspital), co-applicants Miss Catherine Egan (Moorfields Eye Hopspital), Dr Alicja Rudnicka (St George’s), Dr. Christopher Owen (St George’s), Caroline Rudisill (LSE), Miss Clare Bailey (Bristol Eye Hospital), Dr Paul Taylor £385,488
US National Institutes for Health ‘Breastfeeding RCT: Adolescent Neurocognitive and Respiratory Function’ Cost $1.81 million for 4 years (August 2011), PI Prof. Richard Martin (University of Bristol) and Dr. Emily Oken (Harvard Medical School), co-applicants Prof. John Henderson (University of Bristol), Dr. Christopher Owen (St George’s), Prof. Matt Gillman (Harvard Medical School), Prof. George Davey Smith (University of Bristol). Grant no. R01 HD050758
Diabetes UK ‘Emerging ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes risk in children of South Asian, African-Caribbean and European origin: the role of childhood diet and eating patterns’ Cost £76,122 for 22 months (2012), PI Prof. Peter Whincup, co-applicants Prof. Derek Cook, Dr. Christopher Owen, Dr. Angela Donin. (St. George’s)
Diabetes UK ‘Emerging ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes risk in children of South Asian, black African-Caribbean and white European origin: the role of early life factors’ Cost £70,324 for 18 months (2012), PI Prof. Peter Whincup, Prof. Derek Cook, Dr. Christopher Owen (St. George’s), Prof. Naveed Sattar (BHF Glasgow)
Dr Owen has developed and delivered teaching in epidemiology and public health to undergraduates (both on the medicine and biomedical science degree courses) and postgraduates (he previously lead the population health module for the MSc in Health Sciences). He is involved in lecturing, small group teaching, examination setting and marking at both levels.