Professor Lesley Anderson

Professor Lesley Anderson
Professor Lesley Anderson
Professor Lesley Anderson


Chair in Health Data Science


Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science,
1:170 Polwarth Building,
School of Medicine, Medical Science and Nutrition
University of Aberdeen
AB25 2ZD


Professor Lesley Anderson joined the Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science in March 2020. She trained at Queen's University Belfast (QUB) graduating with a PhD in cancer epidemiology in 2004 and an undergraduate degree (first class Honours) in Biomedical Science in 2001. She has a Masters in Population Health-based Evidence obtained by distance learning from the University of Manchester (distinction level) in 2006. Professor Anderson joined QUB as an academic in 2010 after completing two highly respected fellowships: an Academic Fellowship (funded by the UK Medical Research Council) and a Cancer Prevention Fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, Maryland, United States of America. Professor Anderson then joined the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR) part-time in 2017 as Deputy Director overseeing the production of Official Statistics for Northern Ireland and developing the NICR Research Advisory Group.

Professor Lesley Anderson has over 19 years experience in research utilising healthcare data from the United Kingdom, Ireland, USA and Europe. She has established international partnerships within the USA, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia to facilitate research in the fields of health data science and public health with a focus on cancer research. Global Health Research Partnerships with researchers in Angola, Mongolia and Vietnam are seeking to identify ways to improve public knowledge and reduce the burden of cancer. Professor Anderson is working to improve health care through Health Data Science research.


  • PhD Public Health 
    2004 - Queen's University Belfast 
    Title. The aetiology of Barrett's oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma: results from an all-Ireland case-control study.
  • MPHe Population Health 
    2006 - University of Manchester 
  • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science 
    2001 - Queen's University Belfast 
  • PGCHET Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching 
    2009 - Queen's University Belfast 

External Memberships

Professor Lesley Anderson is a National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Haematological Oncology Group member (2019-date) and External Programme and Module Examiner for the Masters in Public Health degree programmes at the University of Manchester and the University of Hertfordshire. 


Latest Publications

  • Impact of Different Mammography Systems on Artificial Intelligence Performance in Breast Cancer Screening

    de Vries, C., Colosimo, S., Staff, R., Dymiter, J., Dinneen, D., Boyle, M., Harrison, D., Anderson, L., Lip, G.
    Radiology: Artificial Intelligence
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • AI in breast screening mammography: breast screening readers' perspectives

    de Vries, C. F., Colosimo, S. J., Boyle, M., Lip, G., Anderson, L. A., Staff, R. T., iCAIRD Radiology Collaboration
    Insights into Imaging, vol. 13, no. 1, 186
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Prioritization of THose aWaiting hip and knee ArthroplastY(PATHWAY): protocol for development of a stakeholder led clinical prioritization tool

    Farrow, L., Clement, N. D., Smith, D., Meek, D. R. M., Ryan, M., Gillies, K., Anderson, L., Ashcroft, G. P.
    Bone & Joint Open, vol. 3, no. 10, pp. 753-758
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • eQTL set-based association analysis identifies novel susceptibility loci for Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma

    Wang, X., Gharahkhani, P., Levine, D. M., Fitzgerald, R. C., Gockel, I., Corley, D. A., Risch, H. A., Bernstein, L., Chow, W., Onstad, L., Shaheen, N. J., Lagergren, J., Hardie, L. J., Wu, A. H., Pharoah, P. D. P., Liu, G., Anderson, L. A., Iyer, P. G., Gammon, M. D., Caldas, C., Ye, W., Barr, H., Moayyedi, P., Harrison, R., Watson, R. P., Attwood, S., Chegwidden, L., Love, S. B., MacDonald, D., deCaestecker, J., Prenen, H., Ott, K., Moebus, S., Venerito, M., Lang, H., Mayershofer, R., Knapp, M., Veits, L., Gerges, C., Weissmüller, J., Reeh, M., Nöthen, M. M., Izbicki, J. R., Manner, H., Neuhaus, H., Rösch, T., Böhmer, A. C., Hölscher, A. H., Anders, M., Pech, O., Schumacher, B., Schmidt, C., Schmidt, T., Noder, T., Lorenz, D., Vieth, M., May, A., Hess, T., Kreuser, N., Becker, J., Ell, C., Tomlinson, I., Palles, C., Jankowski, J. A., Whiteman, D. C., MacGregor, S., Schumacher, J., Vaughan, T. L., Buas, M. F., Dai, J. Y.
    Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, vol. 31, no. 9, cebp.0096
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Supporting someone with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic: A mixed methods analysis of cancer carer's health, Quality of Life and need for support

    Santin, O., Mc Mullan, J., Jenkins, C., Anderson, L. A., Mc Shane, C. M.
    Health & Social Care in the Community, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. e3246-e3252
    Contributions to Journals: Articles

View My Publications


Research Overview


Health Data Research

Professor Anderson has over 19 years experience of using health data to research cancer and chronic disease epidemiology. Her research interests are aligned around the following research themes:

  • Rare cancers 
  • Infection-related cancers
  • Pre-cancerous conditions
  • Chronic diseases


Research Areas

Applied Health Sciences

Biomedical Sciences

Research Specialisms

  • Healthcare Science
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Health Informatics
  • Environmental and Public Health
  • Oncology

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Myeloproliferative neoplasms

Professor Anderson is leading the world's first nationwide case-control study of myeloproliferative neoplasms, the MOSAICC (MyelOproliferative neoplasmS: An In-depth Case-Control) study.  The study will recruit patients from across the United Kingdom collecting information on potential risk factors (causes) and assessing the quality of life of these patients. 

Infection-related cancers

Professor Anderson has undertaken research to investigate the knowledge and awareness of human papilloma virus (HPV) and how HPV may impact survival in patients with head and neck cancers. 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Professor Anderson is interested in how vitamin B12 deficiency affects patients with pernicious anaemia and the ways in which treatment may be optimised. Working with the Pernicious Anaemia Society research is planned to evaluate the long term impacts of vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Past Research

MOSAICC pilot study - largest study of myeloproliferative neoplasms to date. Study designed to determine best methodological approach for a UK-wide study which is ongoing looking at the aetiology and impact of a MPN diagnosis. 

FINBAR study - large all-Ireland case-control study of oesophageal cancer and precancerous conditions. This study has led to many publications looking at the aetiology of these oesophageal conditions and is part of an international collaboration - the BEACON consortium. 

EUROCARE - I have worked with the EUROCARE consortium to undertake a range of studies looking at variations in the survival of oesophgeal, gastric, small intestine and head and neck cancer and haematological malignancies.

RARECARE - I have worked with European colleagues to look at thyroid cancers and the burden and centralised treatment in Europe of rare tumours.

HPV and Head and Neck cancer - study identified that p16 is an insufficient marker for stage classification of oropharyngeal cancer. The data from this study is being combined with wider cohorts to evaluate this further and to look at restaging of oropharyngeal cancer. 

COELIAC DISEASE - A study that I led looking at gluten sensitivity and coeliac disease and outcomes (cancer and all-cause mortality) led to the identification of adverse outcomes for those with gluten sensitivity but without a confirmed coeliac diagnosis. 


Professor Anderson is a member of the BEACON consortium ( 

Professor Anderson has research collaborations with researchers in the UK, Ireland, USA, across Europe, Australia, Angola, Vietnam and Mongolia. 



· 3rd PhD supervisor: ‘Investigating the significance of haematological malignancy precursors with a particular focus on multiple myeloma’, Queen's University Belfast (QUB), 2019-2020. Funded: Dfe. 

·1st PhD supervisor: ‘Implementation of electronic cigarette policy in Kuwait.’ QUB 2016-2021. Funded: Kuwaiti government. Changed to 3rd supervisor when I changed job.

·1st PhD supervisor: ‘Barriers to cervical cancer screening and diagnosis in Northern Ireland.’ QUB 2018-2021. Funded: Saudi/ Kuwaiti government. Changed to 3rd supervisor when I changed job.

·1st PhD supervisor: ‘Assessing the impact of hydroxyurea treatment for children with sickle cell anaemia in Cabinda province, Angola.’ QUB 2016-date. Funded: Angolan government.

·1st PhD supervisor: ‘Assessing the impact of MGUS’, QUB 2015-date. Funded: DEL.

·1st PhD supervisor: 'An exploratory case-control study of myeloproliferative neoplasms', QUB 2012-2015. Funded: MPN Voice.

·1st PhD supervisor: 'Prior medical history, drug exposure and risk of multiple myeloma', QUB 2011-2013. Funded: DEL.

·3rd PhD supervisor: ‘Investigating the association between aspirin & non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and head and neck cancer & malignant melanoma’, QUB 2009-2011. Funded: DEL.


·2nd supervisor, MSc in Public Health: ‘Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the quality of life of patients with a Myeloproliferative Neoplasm’, QUB 2020.

·2nd supervisor, MSc in Bioinformatics: ‘ Natural Language Processing Tool for Breast Cancer Registration’, QUB 2020.

·1st supervisor, MSc in Public Health: ‘Systematic review of arts-based approaches to increase awareness of breast cancer’, QUB 2019.

·1st supervisor, MSc in Public Health: ‘Knowledge and attitudes of HPV in Angola’, QUB 2018.

·1st supervisor, MSc in Public Health: ‘Attitudes and knowledge of parents to HPV vaccination – a quantitative investigation’, QUB 2016.

·1st supervisor, MSc in Public Health: ‘Assessing the impact of MGUS’, QUB 2015.

·1st supervisor, MSc in Public Health: ‘Anti-diabetic medications & risk of MGUS/myeloma’, QUB 2014.

·1st supervisor, MSc in Public Health: ‘Investigating birth factors and Hodgkin lymphoma’, QUB 2010.

·1st supervisor, MSc in Public Health.: ‘Investigating incidence trends of Human papillomavirus related and unrelated head and neck cancers’, QUB 2010.

·1st supervisor, MPH: 'Determination of the predictors of Acute Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 and 2 for the targeted screening using p24 Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay: a retrospective study from populations in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda' University of Liverpool, 2010.


·1st supervisor, Human Biology ‘Attitudes and behaviours regarding tanning in Northern Ireland: A mixed-methods study of Queen’s University of Belfast students.’ QUB 2017-2018.

·1st supervisor, Human Biology ‘Coeliac Disease – Diagnosis, Trends, Cancer Risk and Mortality’ QUB 2017-2018.

·2nd supervisor, Human Biology ‘Gluten Free’ Food for Thought.’ QUB 2018-2019.

·1st supervisor, Human Biology ‘Occupational risk factors for myeloproliferative neoplasms.’ QUB 2017-2018.

·1st supervisor, Human Biology ‘Incidence of Paediatric Cancer in Africa: a systematic review.’ QUB 2017-2018.

·2nd supervisor, Human Biology ‘Knowledge, Attitudes & Practice of Paediatric Cancer in Africa: a systematic review’ QUB 2017-2018.

·1st supervisor, Human Biology ‘Parental knowledge & attitudes to HPV vaccination.’ QUB 2016-2017.

·1st supervisor, Human Biology ‘Oral dysplasia transformation rate’. QUB 2015/16.

·1st supervisor, Human Biology ‘Incidence, prevalence and survival of MGUS’ QUB 2015-2016.

·1st supervisor, Biomedical Science ‘Human Papilloma virus in head and neck cancers’, 2012-2013.

·1st supervisor, Biomedical Science ‘Langerhans’ cells and immune response biomarkers in head and neck cancers’, 2012-2013.

·1st supervisor, BSc Anatomy ‘Investigating psychological risk factors for oesophageal adenocarcinoma’, QUB 2010-2011.

·1st supervisor, BSc Anatomy ‘Investigating survival differences between HPV-related and unrelated head and neck cancers’, QUB 2010-2011.


Funding and Grants

· Anderson (PI), D’Ambruoso, Camanda, Buco, Chocolate, Lohfeld. Evaluating opportunities and barriers to establishing an autonomous and functional sickle cell anaemia (SCA) unit in Cabinda, Angola. Scottish Funding Council, 2020-2021, £19,537.


· McShane, Anderson (CI), McMullin. MOSAICC study. Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI, 2021-2022. £47,000.

· McShane, Kunzmann, Anderson (CI), Lohfeld, Donnelly, Bayarmongol, Jigjidsuren, Enkhjargal, Tudev, Badamsuren, Jugder. Reducing cancer burden in Mongolia: Co-developing an Evidence-based Plan to Strengthen the Health Care System and Inform Policy. NIHR, £93,487.

· Gavin, Anderson (CI). Northern Ireland Colorectal cancer Audit, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, £81,531.

· Gavin, Anderson (CI). Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, £823,560.

· Gavin, Anderson (CI). Northern Ireland Cardiovascular Registry. Heart Research UK, 2019-2021. £149,991.

· Lohfeld, Anderson (CI), Santin, Donnelly, Franziska, Jenkins, Burgess, Nguyen, Murphy, Hang, Truong, Schroeder, Hang. Documenting how the arts and storytelling can save lives: The Viet Nam Breast Cancer project, MRC-AHRC. 2018-2020. £165,416.

· Anderson (PI), McMullin, Duncombe. MOSAICC study, 2019-2021, MPN Voice £160,000.

· Lohfeld, Anderson (CI), Santin. Promoting Sustainable Health and Wellbeing in Angola. 2018-2019, Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, £52,793.

· Anderson (PI), Morrison, Gadalla, Greene. Myotonic Dystrophy in Northern Ireland, National Cancer Institue USA, 2017-8. $111,000.

· Anderson (PI), McMullin. MOSAICC study. Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI, 2018-2021, £50,000.

· Anderson (PI), Santin O, Lohfeld L, Working to Reduce the Burden of Cancer in Angola: A 3-day Stakeholder Workshop, 2017, £30,000.

· Anderson (PI), McMullin, Tully, McDonoghue. Enabling Research Awards Scheme: A feasibility study of a pedometer based intervention for patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms. Research and Development Office Enabling Research Award, 2017-2018, £36,858.

· Anderson (PI), McShane, Pfeiffer. Collaborative research visit to National Cancer Institute, Washington DC: Developing a risk stratification tool for monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance CRUK, 2017, £9,650.

· Anderson (PI), Murray, Tomassino, Johnston, Coleman, McManus. Infectious agents in progression from Barrett’s Oesophagus to Oesophageal Adenocarcinoma, a nested case control study within the Northern Ireland Barrett’s Register. Cancer Research UK (CRUK). 2015-2017. £171,000.

· Anderson (PI), McShane, Murray, Roman. Population-based register of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS): establishing risk prediction models and investigating patient outcomes. CRUK Fellowship. 2015-2018. £141,999.

· National Cancer Institute USA: Cook, Hyland, Taylor, Drahos , Falk, Pfeiffer, Abnet, Dawsey; QUB, Northern Ireland: Anderson, Murray. Sex Steroid Hormones and Metabolites in Relation to Barrett’s Esophagus and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma. National Cancer Institute $100,000.

· Anderson (PI), McShane, Murray, Donnelly, Santin.  Assessing the care pathway for Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) patients in Northern Ireland and the impact of receiving a MGUS diagnosis following routine screening. Young Investigator Small Grant, Cancer Translational Research Group, Northern Ireland 2012-2013. £2,500.

· Anderson (PI), McMullin, Duncombe, DeVocht.  An exploratory case-control study to investigate aetiologic factors associated with classic myeloproliferative disorders. MPD Voice 2012-2015. £132,120.

· Anderson (PI), Murray, Hughes. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and pre-malignant lesions and cancers of the cervix. Medical Research Council (2010). £50,000.

· Anderson (PI), Murray, Hughes, Bradley, Dominiski, Veal, Landgren.  Prior medical history, drug exposure and risk of multiple myeloma. Medical Research Council (2010). £50,000.

· Gavin, Anderson, hart, donnelly. Identifying targets for Intervention to promote earlier diagnosis of cancer.  NAEDI-2. 2012-2015. £286,053.86

· Gavin, Jamison, Anderson. Human papillomavirus in CIN and CGIN lesions and cancers of the cervix diagnosed in Northern Ireland – a study to determine types and prevalence. NI R&D Office 2010-2011: £149,845.50

· Gavin, Jamison, Anderson. Public Health Agency. Opportunity Lead Research Award. 'HPV Prevalence in Cervical Cancers and Premalignant Lesions of the Cervix' 2009-2011. £100,000.

· Murray, Wild, Hardie, Sharp, Anderson, Woodside.  The role the insulin growth factor axis and folate metabolism in the oesophageal inflammation, metaplasia, adenocarcinoma sequence (FINBAR) study). NI R&D Office 2006-2008: £255,800 (£188,488 to QUB).

· Sharp, Murray, Conlon, Cronin, Anderson, McKie.  An all-Ireland pancreatic cancer case-control study: establishing a data and specimen bank for research into diagnosis, aetiology and survival from cancer of the pancreas. Health Research Board, Ireland (2006): €225,000.

· Murray, Hughes, Cantwell, Anderson.  Investigation of the role of pharmacological and other exposures in the aetiology of pancreatic cancer.  Medical Research Council (2006). £50,000.

· Murray, Gavin, Anderson.  An all-Ireland pancreatic cancer case-control study: establishing a data and specimen bank for research into diagnosis, aetiology and survival from cancer of the pancreas.  Ulster Cancer Foundation (2005): £75,000.


Teaching Responsibilities


PhD Opportunities

Supervising students with an interest in Health Data Science and cancer research.  Please contact 


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