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    Personal profile


    Professor Petra Wark is a nutritional and chronic disease epidemiologist with an additional background in applied statistics as well as learning and teaching. 

    Her research focuses on the use, development, characteristics and validation of digital health technologies (e.g. wearables, apps, platforms) for enhancement of wellbeing or disease prevention or management. She focuses on making use of the additional data digital technologies provide, the validity of such data, and the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions using digital technologies (whilst considering health and wellbeing outcomes). She is also interested in the setting in which such technologies are used, and thereby their practical applications in research, health promotion and health care.

    Examples of her work include leading the validation study of myfood24, a new online dietary assessment tool for the UK; leading the validation study of new technology for blood pressure measurement and management; and systematic review of mobile apps.

    Earlier in her career, she aimed to gain a better understanding of the causation of chronic diseases by using data of large cohort studies. She did so whilst combining research with a role of MSc course organiser, running several epidemiology and chronic disease modules and co-founding and running a leading short course. 

    Within the Centre for Intelligent Healthcare, she is leading the Epidemiology theme. She supervises PhD and MRes students, being a UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor. 

    Research Interests

    • Efficacy and effectiveness of digital health technologies in primary and secondary chronic disease prevention; and methodological aspects thereof
    • Validation, evaluation and assessment of diet, lifestyle, wellbeing and health status using new digital technologies (including other aspects of health)
    • Additional insight gained from the additional data that digital health technologies provide, how to make use of the new technologies and embed them in practice
    • Nutritional and chronic disease epidemiology
    • Interdisciplinary and innovation research projects

    Vision Statement

    New digital health solutions and technologies emerge daily. Several of these developments are very exciting. They have potential to improve one’s wellbeing or health. Many others are not yet optimal and/or do not meet society’s, the health care system’s or the user’s needs. A technological solution is also not always the most appropriate.

    It is important to optimise the chances of making a true impact. I believe that technologies should be validated /evaluated throughout their lifecycle, and should be evidence-based. Sometimes my work starts while the technology is being developed or improved. My work can also start after the technology is being implemented, or when already on the market. Doing so requires insight and methods from several disciplines. I thus collaborate with people from different backgrounds. I also collaborate with industry. 

    Education/Academic qualification

    Postgraduate Certificate, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    Sep 20108 Jun 2012

    Award Date: 8 Jun 2012

    Doctorate, Wageningen University and Research Centre

    May 200016 Jan 2007

    Award Date: 16 Jan 2007

    MSc, Radboud University Nijmegen

    1 Sep 199527 Apr 2000

    Award Date: 27 Apr 2000

    Applied Statistics and Biostatistics (15 modules, equivalent to 53 weeks at MSc level), University of Hasselt

    1 Oct 200131 Mar 2003

    External positions

    Honorary Senior Lecturer in eHealth, Imperial College London

    1 Jan 2017 → …

    Assistant Director of Global eHealth Unit, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London

    1 Apr 201431 Dec 2016

    Research Fellow, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London

    5 Jan 200931 Mar 2014

    Research Fellow, Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    15 Oct 200531 Dec 2008


    • RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
    • digital health
    • mHealth
    • wellbeing
    • prevention
    • chronic disease
    • validation
    • evaluation
    • diet
    • lifestyle
    • physical activity
    • epidemiology
    • study design
    • data analysis
    • technology
    • apps
    • wearables
    • dietary assessment
    • interdisciplinary
    • transdisciplinary
    • quantitative research
    • applied statistics
    • observational studies


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