Professor Kate Venables

katherine venables

BSc MSc MD Lond, MA Oxf

Professor Kate Venables

Emeritus Reader, Nuffield Department of Population Health

Emeritus Fellow 


Kate Venables read Physiology (1970) and Medicine (1973) at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, University of London, and worked as a junior doctor in general and respiratory medicine at hospitals in London.  After a prize-winning Master’s in Occupational Medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (1979) she became a Lecturer at LSHTM, then Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology at the National Heart and Lung Institute (Imperial College). 

She moved to Oxford in 1998 as University Lecturer (now Emeritus Reader).  Her research has always focussed on aetiological epidemiology, with over 100 scientific publications.  At NHLI, her doctoral work (1987) described a new cause of occupational asthma and her subsequent research on occupational asthma included study of exposure-response relations, interactions with smoking, methods for epidemiological studies, and long-term clinical follow-up of asthma patients. 

She spent a sabbatical year at Harvard School of Public Health in 1992-3, working with the US National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety on the prevention of occupational asthma.  Later, she described a large outbreak of thunderstorm-related asthma which affected London and the South-East. 

At Oxford, she led a large, MRC-funded, cohort study of mortality and cancer incidence in military veterans exposed to low levels of chemical warfare agents in experiments at Porton Down between 1940 and 1989.  She also carried out the first national survey of service provision in occupational health in UK universities. 

She ran medical student teaching on occupational and environmental health within the Nuffield Department of Population Health undergraduate course and taught on the MSc in Global Health Science.  Until recently she was one of the national Chief Examiners for the postgraduate specialist medical qualification in Occupational Medicine within the relevant Faculty of the Royal College of Physicians.  She ran a major conference on occupational epidemiology at Oxford in 2011, the 22nd in an international series, and published a book ‘Current Topics in Occupational Epidemiology’ in 2013 with Oxford University Press which brought together themes from that conference.