Professor Jean Golding

M.A.(Oxon.), Ph.D.(Lond.), D.Sc.(Bristol), F.S.S., F.F.P.H.M., M.R.C.P.C.H., F.Med.Sci.

  • BS8 2BN

Personal profile

Research interests

Jean Golding (born Jean Bond 22 September 1939, also known as Jean Fedrick between 1962 and 1977) is Emeritus Professor of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology at the University of Bristol.

Early life and education

Born in Hayle, Cornwall at the start of the Second World War in 1939, Golding struggled with illness throughout her early childhood. Her regular stays in hospital led to a delay in the beginning of her education, eventually starting school when she was six years old. Her family moved to Chester, after a period living in Plymouth, and within a few weeks she contracted polio, causing her to miss another year of school and causing a disability that would remain with her permanently. Despite these interruptions to her schooling, she won a place studying mathematics at St Anne's College, Oxford in 1958, from where she was awarded an honours BA, and subsequently MA.

Career and research

In 1966 she joined a team in London, headed by Neville Butler and Eva Alberman, analysing data collected in the 1958 Perinatal Mortality Survey (later the 1958 birth cohort) and contributed to the book of results – ‘Perinatal Problems’. She then obtained a research fellowship at the Galton Laboratory of Human Genetics and Biometry, University College London to study the aetiology of neural tube defects. This resulted in a PhD, and a number of peer-reviewed papers. Subsequent research in Richard Doll’s Department at the University of Oxford, involved working with large data sets including the Oxford Record Linkage Study.

In 1980 she moved to the University of Bristol, where she was involved in analysing data from the national 1970 birth cohort. During the 1980s she was responsible for assisting in designing and augmenting a major perinatal survey in Jamaica 1985-6,[4] and developed, and was the initial Director of the European Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ELSPAC). This led to the founding of ALSPAC (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children), also known as Children of the 90s, the overall aim of which is to determine the ways in which different aspects of the environment influence child health and development, and how these may be influenced by genetics.[ The study has resulted in a highly detailed dataset concerning children born in the Avon area in 1991 and 1992, their parents and, as time has gone on, their own children. It continues to record biological, psychological, social and medical information of these groups throughout their childhoods and into their adult lives. The dataset is used by researchers across the world, and it includes results from interviews, questionnaires, biological samples, hands-on testing and linkage to educational and other records. Data collection has continued since the children were born. Her decision on what data was useful to collect has led to it being used for epidemiological, genetic and epigenetic research worldwide, and, by 2019, over 2000 peer-reviewed papers based on this resource had been published (see ALSPAC website:

In 1987 she was the founding editor of the international journal: Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology and continued as editor-in-chief until 2012. She has continued to carry out research on the ALSPAC resource long into retirement, and has concentrated in particular with the psychologist, Professor Stephen Nowicki, at Emory University, on the Locus of Control of the parents and children and how that appears to influence behaviours, and with Professor Marcus Pembrey on various trans- and inter-generational influences (such as smoking and stressors) on outcomes including obesity.


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Locus of control
  • Intergenerational effects
  • Transgenerational effects
  • Epidemiology


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