Olga Vikhireva


Olga Vikhireva

Research interests

Olga Vikhireva is a Research Fellow for the Research Design Service (RDS) West Midlands, Birmingham Hub. As a frontline RDS adviser, she supports healthcare professionals and researchers in the development of research funding proposals to national peer-reviewed funding programmes. She also conducts Chronic Disease Epidemiology research, with a focus on cardiovascular and cardiometabolic disease. 


As an epidemiologist, public health researcher, and medical doctor, Olga has over 15 years’ experience in the field of chronic non-communicable disease. Olga’s main research interest is epidemiology of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, including cardiovascular risk prediction and management. Her long-standing interest is the whole spectrum of individual and population-level determinants of health and disease, and specifically the factors which shape health behaviours, make healthy lifestyle sustainable, and translate into positive health outcomes.


Being strongly committed to research that makes a difference, Olga has been actively involved in teaching, training, mentoring, and capacity building.


After obtaining an MD (distinction) from the Omsk State Medical Academy, Russia (1997), Olga completed a Clinical Internship and Residency in Internal Disease at the same institution (1997-2000). Her postgraduate studies and further research work at the State Research Centre for Preventive Medicine, Moscow (2000-2007), were in preventive cardiology, with a focus on arterial hypertension, tobacco control, and smoking cessation. She participated in all stages of epidemiologic studies, from cross-sectional surveys to cohort studies and clinical trials.


In 2007, Olga was awarded the University College London (UCL) Shell Centenary Chevening Scholarship, to attend the MSc course “Health and Society: Social Epidemiology”, which she completed with distinction. In 2008, she was awarded the UCL Overseas Research Student scholarship and a departmental studentship and started her full-time PhD on cardiovascular risk prediction in the populations of Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union. As a PhD researcher and subsequently Research Associate in Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Statistics (2008-2015), Olga provided extensive research and project management support to HAPIEE (Health, Alcohol, and Psychological factors in Eastern Europe) and CHANCES (Consortium on Health and Ageing: Network of Cohorts in Europe and the United States) studies.


In 2015-2017, while on a parental career break, Olga co-authored peer-reviewed papers on cardiovascular risk assessment and trends in chronic disease mortality and risk factors. She became an active member of Healthwatch Staffordshire and the Patient Participation Group at the local general practice. She completed numerous online courses on supporting patients with chronic diseases, quality improvement in healthcare, and other subjects.


In mid-2017, Olga joined the Institute of Applied Health Research as a Research Fellow in Chronic Disease Epidemiology. She also supports applications to national peer-reviewed funding programmes as a frontline adviser for the Research Design Service West Midlands, Birmingham Hub.


  • PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London 2012. Dissertation title: Cardiovascular risk prediction in Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union 
  • MSc (distinction) in Social Epidemiology, University College London 2008. Thesis title: Injury morbidity in Central and Eastern Europe: socioeconomic inequalities and role of alcohol
  • PhD in Preventive Cardiology, State Research Centre for Preventive Medicine, Moscow, Russia 2003. Dissertation title: Tobacco dependence treatment with nicotine replacement therapy as one of the methods for cardiovascular disease risk reduction
  • Rotatory Internship and Clinical Residency in Internal Medicine, Omsk State Medical Academy, Omsk, Russia 2000
  • MD (distinction) in Internal Medicine, Omsk State Medical Academy, Omsk, Russia 1997