Clinical Senior Investigator Scientist
Early Life Aetiology and Mechanisms of Diabetes and Related Metabolic Disorders, and Development and evaluation of interventions in infant feeding programme, CEDAR
- PhD (Epidemiology), Cambridge University, UK, 2008-2011
- CCT (Public Health), Faculty of Public Health, UK, 2002-2008
- MFPH (Public Health), Faculty of Public Health, UK, 2002-2006
- MSt (Public Health), Cambridge University, UK, 2002-2004
- MRCP (Paediatrics), Royal College of Physicians, UK, 1997-1999
- MD (Paediatrics), Bombay University, India, 1988-1991
- DCH (Paediatrics), Bombay University, India, 1989-1991
- MBBS (Medicine), Bombay University, India,1982-1988
Background and experience
Raj Lakshman has been working at the MRC Epidemiology Unit since January 2007. She trained in Paediatrics in London and Sheffield and in Public Health in Cambridge. She obtained her PhD from Cambridge University in March 2012 and her dissertation titled ‘Development of complex interventions to prevent childhood obesity’ describes the development and evaluation of two interventions- in the family setting and in the school setting.
In October 2011 Raj became a Clinical Senior Research Scientist at the Unit, and since July 2013 she has also been working as a Consultant in Public Health Medicine (Lead for Clinical Policies and Children’s Public Health) for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Current work and interests
Raj’s research focuses on understanding the determinants of behaviours leading to childhood obesity and developing and evaluating interventions targeting these determinants with the aim of preventing childhood obesity.
She is Chief Investigator on the Baby Milk Trial funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative. This evaluates a multi-component, theory-based behavioural intervention to reduce formula-milk intake, promote protective feeding practices and avoid excess weight gain in infancy. A comprehensive range of maternal and child behavioural, growth and nutritional data across four time points from birth to one year have been collected which will enable a deeper understanding of determinants of early excess weight gain and identify targets for future interventions.
Her research identified the need for sustainable and scalable interventions which has led to a collaboration with researchers at University College London, University of Southampton, Queensland University of Technology (Australia) and Penn State College of Medicine (USA) to develop a digital intervention to promote healthy growth during the first two years of life.
Professional memberships and roles
- Faculty of Public Health
- General Medical Council
- National Child Measurement Programme Board
- Digital Child Health Programme Board
- Association of Directors of Public Health Children and Young Peoples Policy Advisory Group
- Lakshman R: G070165: 2008-2011- £249,356 MRC Health Services and Health of the Public Research Fellowship. Title: Development and testing of a multi-component intervention to reduce infant formula-milk intake and excess weight gain
- Lakshman R et al: MR/J000361/1: 2012-2015- £770,114 NPRI. Establishing a Healthy Growth Trajectory from Birth: The Baby Milk Trial.
- Lakshman R et al: NIHR School for Public Health Research: 2012-2014- £165,250. Systematic Reviews of Determinants of obesity-related dietary and physical activity behaviours in young children (0-6years
- Redsell S et al: MRC PHID: 2014-2016- £149,995. Development and feasibility testing of an interactive, educational programme to facilitate Proactive Assessment of Obesity Risk during Infancy (ProAsk)