Keynote Speakers

Understanding Society Scientific Conference 2019 - , University of Essex

Professor Tarani ChandolaUniversity of Manchester

Work, health and wellbeing: some biosocial perspectives

With the advent of novel biomarkers measing different aspects of human biology being collected in large surveys, there has been an explosion of biosocial studies on associations between new biomarkers and social phenotypes. Alongside, there has been increasing criticism of the methods and theoretical implications of these biosocial studies from sociologists, anthropologists and other social sciences. While much of the critical focus has been on the biological-to-social framework, this keynote talk will highlight some social-to-biological research examples within the sociology or work, health and wellbeing using data from Understanding Society.

Tarani Chandola is a Professor of Medical Sociology at the University of Manchester. His research is primarily on the social determinants of health, focusing on health inequalities and psychosocial factors, and the analysis of longitudinal cohort studies. Much of his research is on the social determinants of health with a focus on stress at work, and its psychophysiological effects on health. He is a research leader on the topic of work and health, with two of his papers in the top 10 most cited studies on the topic of work stress. His research expertise spans different disciplines- population and public health, epidemiology, social statistics and sociology- and different methodological approaches. He has had leadership and advisory roles within international research organisations, government departments and academic bodies. Tarani was the head of the Department of Social Statistics (2012-2014) at the University of Manchester and the director of the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (2014-2016). He is currently a co-director of two Economic and Social Research Council funded centres: the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM: and the International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health. He also co-directs the SOC-B: the Social-Biological Centre for Biosocial Research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Professor Hill KuluUniversity of St Andrews

Hill Kulu is Professor of Human Geography and Demography at the University of St Andrews. Hill's substantive research interests lie in the field of family, fertility, migration and health studies; his methodological interests include the development and application of longitudinal models in social science research. Hill's research has advanced our understanding of how family changes and residential choices interact in people’s lives and how residential context shapes childbearing, migration and health behaviour of individuals. He has published over forty peer-reviewed articles in international journals and have edited three books published by international publishers. 

Hill is currently working on two large research projects. Changing Families and Sustainable Societies, a joint four-year (2013–2017) project of 25 European Universities and research institutes, is funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme. Partner Relationships, Residential Relocations and Housing in the Life Course is a joint three-year (2014–2017) project of the Universities of St Andrews, Cologne and Groningen.

Monica Costa DiasInstitute for Fiscal Studies

Monica is an Associate Director at the IFS and a Research Economist at the Centre for Economics and Finance, University of Porto. Her research interests are mainly on Labour Economics and the Economics of Education, with a focus on the determinants of individual and household choices, including human capital investments, labour supply and intra-household allocation of resources, and their consequences for inequality and the evaluation and design of tax and welfare policies.