Clinical Training Fellow, Growth and Development, MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science
Dr Raj Lakshman has been working at the MRC Epidemiology Unit since January 2007, initially funded by the Eastern Region Public Health training scheme and since September 2008 on an MRC Health Services and Health of the Public Research fellowship.
After completing her residency training in paediatrics from University of Mumbai (India) in 1991, Raj worked as a paediatrician in a government hospital in India for 4 years and came to the UK in 1995. She took up training posts in paediatrics at Chase Farm Hospital in London and at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. In 2002 she joind the Eastern Region Public Health training progrmme and completed her CCT in September 2008.
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. Her doctoral thesis titled ‘Development of complex interventions to prevent childhood obesity’ describes the development and evaluation of two interventions- The first intervention, aimed at parents, is a multi-component, behavioural intervention to prevent excess weight gain in formula-milk fed babies (The Baby Milk study). The second intervention is a school-based educational intervention to improve nutrition knowledge of primary school children (www.topgrub.org.uk ).
Raj is Chief Investigator on the Baby Milk Trial which is an Explanatory Randomised Controlled Trial of a multi-component, theory-based behavioural intervention to reduce formula-milk intake and prevent excess weight gain during infancy. She plans to focus on developing and evaluating interventions to improve diet and physical activity in pre-school children. She also uses data from established cohort studies (e.g. the Millenium Cohort Study and ALSPAC) to understand the psychosocial determinants of infant feeding and childhood obesity and to develop a prediction tool to identify high-risk individuals.
In her role as honorary consultant in Public Health, Raj works on the Cambridgeshire County-wide Obesity group and the Eastern Region Evidence Adoption Centre.