Dr Laura  Brown

Dr Laura Brown

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of International Development

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Key Expertise
Environment, Public health, Behaviour change, Reproductive Health

About me

Dr Laura J Brown is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow based at the Department of International Development at LSE. Her research focuses on links between the environment and women’s health, with a particular focus on maternal and reproductive health and behaviour. Laura holds a first class BSc in Biological Anthropology from the University of Kent as well as an MSc in Reproductive & Sexual Health Research and a PhD in Epidemiology & Population Health (Demography), both from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Guided by the evolutionary framework of life history theory, which predicts lower parental investment in lower-quality environments, Laura’s PhD research explored socioeconomic differentials in breastfeeding behaviour in the UK with a particular focus on local environmental quality. Laura used advanced statistical techniques to analyse associations between various sociocultural and physical environmental exposures (e.g. feelings of safety, air pollution, and passive smoke and water disinfectant by-products) and mothers’ chances of initiating and maintaining breastfeeding.

Laura has previously worked in Public Health England’s Behavioural Insights Team, where she conducted the analysis for behaviourally-informed public health trials on the topics of food environments, obesity, diabetes, and HIV testing. She has also recently been working with Dr Tiziana Leone (Department of International Development, LSE) on a research project looking at the determinants and impacts of age at menarche and menopause.

During her fellowship year at LSE, Laura will be transitioning from UK-based research to developing grants for projects focusing on LMICs. With a growing interest in environmental injustice, Laura is keen to conduct research in communities impacted by natural disasters and the environmental adversity brought about by the behaviour of others; she is particularly interested in working in Latin America and specifically Peru due to its high level of air pollution and vulnerability to climate change events such as the El Niño South Oscillation. 

Selected publications

  • Brown, L J., & Sear, R. (n.d.). Do parenting, reproductive and health behaviours cluster together as distinct behavioural strategies? Evidence from two UK cohort studies. In Prep.

  • Sanders, J G., Brown, L J., Thompson, K., Quaife, M., & Chadborn, T. (n.d.). A randomized controlled trial to compare the effect of risk personalisation of NHS diabetes information letters on uptake of the National Diabetes Prevention Program. In Prep.

  • Brown, L J., & Sear, R. (2019). Are mothers less likely to breastfeed in harsh environments? Physical environmental quality and breastfeeding in the Born in Bradford Study. Maternal & Child Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12851

  • Sallis, A., Porter, L., Tan, K., Howard, R., Brown, L., Jones, A., … Chadborn, T. (2019). Improving child weight management uptake through enhanced National Child Measurement Programme parental feedback letters: A randomised controlled trial. Preventive Medicine, 121(January), 128–135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.01.023

  • Brown, L J., Tan, K S., Guerra, L E., Naidoo, C J., & Nardone, A. (2018). Using behavioural insights to increase HIV self-sampling kit returns: a randomized controlled text message trial to improve England’s HIV self-sampling service. HIV Medicine, 19, 585–596. https://doi.org/10.1111/hiv.12634

  • Brown, L J., & Sear, R. (2017). Local environmental quality positively predicts breastfeeding in the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2017(1), 120–135. https://doi.org/10.1093/emph/eox011

Expertise Details

Breastfeeding; Human Behavioural Ecology; Social Epidemiology; Evolutionary Demography; Quantitative Social Science; Women’s Health; Environmental injustice; Community Empowerment; Participatory Action Research; Latin America; United Kingdom