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Ailsa R Butler

BSc DPhil


Postdoctoral Researcher & Systematic Reviewer

I work in the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine on a Cochrane living systematic review of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. Cochrane systematic reviews are recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based healthcare, bringing together primary research data to facilitate evidence based choices about health interventions. In September 2021 the second update to the review since it became a living review has been published. This work is carried out with the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group and is funded by Cancer Research UK.

With the Health Behaviours team in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences I am the principal investigator on an ARC funded project to determine the important questions for future research in the field of weight management and obesity. Our priority setting project, Priorities for Obesity and Weight-related Research (POWER), follows the general steps set out by the James Lind Alliance. We aim to gather and prioritise potential research questions via two online surveys and a workshop involving members of the public, researchers, healthcare and public health professionals, policy makers and the voluntary sector. The list of the research questions agreed upon will be widely shared.

I am working on a large evidence synthesis collating information from randomised controlled trials to explore and evaluate the long-term outcomes of behavioural weight management programmes in terms of weight regain and associated health outcomes. This project is funded by the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.

I am involved in MSc supervision and help to teach on the health behaviour change module.

My background is in epidemiology, infectious disease modelling and public health policy. I have a DPhil in epidemiology, my thesis explored childhood vaccination schedules and used data to validate the use of mathematical models in this process. I worked Parliament for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS, in this role I linked medical and epidemiological research and information and the views experiences of the voluntary sector to Parliamentarians. As a Post-Doc at Imperial College I worked on a project to explore the effect of a proposed link between injectable hormonal contraception and susceptibility to HIV acquisition. While at Imperial College I worked on systematic reviews on health behaviour linked to HIV spread and on time spent in different HIV stages.

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