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Dr Catherine H Linaker BN, RGN, PhD

Senior Research Fellow in Epidemiology

Dr Catherine H Linaker's photo

I am a senior research fellow with a special interest in work and health and am a co-investigator on the Health and Employment after Fifty (HEAF) Study. I am also the training lead of the Arthritis Research UK/MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work (with research aimed at identifying cost-effective ways of minimising the substantial adverse impacts of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace).

I graduated in Nursing Studies at the University of Southampton in 1990.  I worked as a clinical research nurse in the Department of Medicine at the University of Southampton where I completed a PhD in 1997 that explored the effects of nitrogen dioxide on asthmatic symptoms in school-aged children.

 I joined the MRC Unit in Southampton in 1997 and subsequently set up and coordinated a number of large scale community longitudinal studies of upper limb disorders.  This included the development and piloting of a standardised proforma for the upper limb and neck (the Southampton Examination Schedule) and the subsequent training of other researchers and clinical staff in this technique.

I have also coordinated a number of other occupational studies including: a case-control study of occupational and lifestyle risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome; a multi-centre randomised controlled trial of physical activity and physiotherapy in the management of distal arm pain; the Health and Employment After Fifty (HEAF) study; a NIHR-funded feasibility trial of Individualised Placement and Support for unemployed people with chronic pain  (InSTEP) and the Well@Work Project with Southampton City Council that aims to provide support to people with musculoskeletal and/or mental health conditions who are at risk of losing their jobs.


BN, Nursing, University of Southampton 1990

General Nursing, Registered General Nurse, English National Board for Nursing and Midwifery and Health Visiting 1990

PhD, Exposure to nitrogen dioxide and childhood asthmatic symptoms,  University of Southampton 1997

Research interests

Lifecourse epidemiology

The older worker

Musculoskeletal disorders

Vocational Rehabilitation and chronic pain

The Arthritis Research UK / MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work a national consortium led from the Southampton hub and comprises multi-disciplinary collaboration with colleagues from the Universities of Aberdeen, Lancaster,Liverpool, Manchester, Salford, Keele, Bath Spa, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Southampton Foundation Trust and King’s Centre for Military Health.  The overarching aim of the research is to identify cost-effective ways of minimising the substantial adverse impacts of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace.

The Health and Employment After Fifty (HEAF) Study is a cohort study of 50-64year olds set up in 2013 to investigate whether working to older ages is good or bad for health and how often health affects a person’s ability to work in different types of job at older ages. Our aim is to influence Government policy planning regarding employment at odler ages and to help ensure that older people will not be denied opportunities to work where it is good for them but not be forced to work in jobs which are bad for their health.

Research group

Human Development and Health

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  • Personal Academic Tutor to 3 BM5 students
  • Facilitator on Medicine in Practice/HCSW tutorials (MiP2)
  • Facilitator on Medicine in Practice/HCSW tutorials (BMIT3)
  • STEM ambassador
Dr Catherine H Linaker
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit

Room Number : SGH/MRC/MP95

Facsimile: (023) 8070 4021

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