Michael Gardner

Colleges, School and Institutes

Biography

Mike has research experience in both epidemiology and biological sciences. He completed his PhD on the genetic basis of reproductive isolation in plants at the University of Exeter in the Department of Biological Sciences. He subsequently investigated the evolution of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster (University College London), the evolution and biology of ageing of nematode worms (University of Bristol) and investigated whether mitochondria recombined (University of Sussex).

From 2009-2014 Mike was an epidemiologist and a systematic reviewer at the School of Social Medicine, University of Bristol. As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course Programme (Halcyon) (2009-2012) he examined the associations between the stress hormone cortisol and physical and cognitive function in older adults. He was part of the team that developed the new systematic review methodology for mechanistic studies for the WCRF/University of Bristol collaboration (2012-2014).

From 2014-2017 Mike was the research coordinator on a mixed method study investigating Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) with individual patient data, as well as including a Delphi exercise and a national survey (Nuffield Department of Population Health (NDPH), University of Oxford). He also worked on an NDPH pump priming funded programme of work to apply a systematic review methodology to identify mechanisms underlying the relationship of meat intake with pancreatic cancer (2017-2018).

Mike is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Applied Health Research (2020). He is a Research Design Service (RDS) Advisor and is also carrying out research on chronic disease epidemiology.

He has taught on postgraduate short courses on concluding, reporting and critical appraisal of systematic reviews (University of Bristol, 2012-2014). He has also taught science at Secondary School (2018-2020). He has reviewed manuscripts for a range of journals, including ‘International Journal of Epidemiology’, ‘British Journal of Cancer’, ‘BMC Women’s Health’ and ‘BMJ Open’.

Research interests

Research Themes

Mike is interested in chronic disease epidemiology, including i) cardiovascular disease epidemiology and ii) dysregulation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA) (which secretes the stress hormone cortisol).

He is also interested in systematic review methodology, including for mechanistic studies (including human, animal and cell experimental studies).

Mike’s current and previous projects include:

Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology

He is investigating the associations of cardiovascular risk factors in HIV patients with cardiovascular disease burden.

Systematic review methodology for mechanistic studies for the WCRF/University of Bristol collaboration

We developed a two-stage framework, for identifying and carrying out systematic reviews of mechanisms of exposure–cancer associations.

Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment

A mixed methods health services research study investigating Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment in hospital and hospital-at home settings. The project included an update of a Cochrane Review, a Delphi exercise and a national survey.

Healthy Ageing across the Life Course Programme (Halcyon)

Mike examined the associations between the stress hormone cortisol and physical and cognitive function in older adults. We found that higher cortisol levels across the day were associated with worse physical and cognitive function in older adults.

Research Groups and Centres

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/applied-health/index.aspx

Key Words

Ageing, Cardiovascular Disease, Cortisol, Epidemiology, Meta-analyses, Systematic Reviews.