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Dr Elizabeth Clare Harris BSc, MSc, PhD

Senior Research Fellow in Epidemiology

Dr Elizabeth Clare Harris's photo

I am a senior research fellow and amongst other things I co-ordinate the Health and Employment After Fifty (HEAF) Study. I am also Manager of the Arthritis Research UK/MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work which has the overarching aim to identify cost-effective ways to minimise the substantial adverse impacts of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace.

I graduated in Biology from the University of York before completing an MSc in Pollution and Environmental Control at the University of Manchester. I originally joined the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit in 1980 as a research assistant working mainly on occupational cohort studies. After leaving in 1988 to have a family, I returned part-time to the University of Southampton Mental Health Group where I researched the excess mortality of mental disorder, and suicide as an outcome for disease, on which I completed a PhD in 1998. I returned to the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit as a part-time research fellow in 2001, since becoming a senior research fellow in the group. 

In the past I have completed updates on five long-standing occupational cohort studies on styrene, phenoxy herbicide, formaldehyde, ethylene oxide and mineral acid mist workers, a case-control study of low back pain as part of a European study into the health effects of vibration, a case-control study of patients with suspected carpal tunnel syndrome in relation to various occupational and lifestyle risk factors, and several systematic literature searches and reviews in relation to various occupational hazards. In October 2014, the Health and Work group were awarded funding by Arthritis Research UK and the Medical Research Council to set up the Arthritis Research UK/MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work, of which I am Manager.


BSc (Hons), Biology, University of York 1979

MSc, Pollution and Environmental Control, University of Manchester 1981

PhD, Suicide as an outcome for disease, Mental Health Group, University of Southampton 1998

Research interests

The Arthritis Research UK/MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work is a national Consortium, led from Southampton, made up of a multi-disciplinary collaboration of 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 our research is to identify cost-effective ways to minimise the substantial adverse impacts of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace.

The Health and Employment After Fifty (HEAF) Study is a cohort study of people aged 50-64 years at baseline. It was set up in 2013 to find out whether working to older ages is good or bad for health and how often health affects people’s ability to work in different types of job at older ages. Our aim is that our findings will influence planning of Government policy on employment at older ages, and help to ensure that older people will neither be denied opportunities to work where it would be good for them nor forced to work in jobs which are bad for their health.

Research group

Human Development and Health

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Dr Elizabeth Clare Harris
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Mailpoint 95, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, SO16 6YD

Room Number: SGH/MRC/MP95

Facsimile: (023) 8070 4021

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