Caroline Jackson

Chancellor's Fellow / Senior Lecturer


I am a Chancellor's Fellow in Epidemiology, within the Usher Institute.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences (Honours in Immunology) at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with a 1st class honours degree in 2000. Keen to pursue my developing interest in population health, I joined the University of Edinburgh Division of Clinical Neurosciences in 2002 as a research associate, co-ordinating the Edinburgh Stroke Study, a cohort of stroke patients followed up for up to four years. During that time I completed a M.Sc by distance learning at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (awarded in 2006) and a PhD in the epidemiology of ischaemic stroke subtypes at the University of Edinburgh (awarded in 2009). Since then I have held a MRC Career Development Fellow post at the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy(2009-2012) and a post-doctoral research fellow post at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia (2012-2015) before relocating back to Edinburgh to take up my current fellowship in the Usher Institute.


B.Sc, M.Sc, PhD

Postgraduate teaching

I am Programme Director for the part-time online MSc Epidemiology.

I also contribute to teaching on the part-time online Masters of Public Health programme, as co-course organiser of the Intermediate Epidemiology course.

I am also a dissertation supervisor for students enrolled on the full-time Masters of Public Health programme.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am currently lead supervisor for 2 PhD students and have led or contributed to the supervision of three previous students who were successfully awarded their PhDs.


Research summary

My research interest focuses on multimorbidity and in particular the interplay between mental health and physical health. Specifically, I am interested in the effect of mental illness on the occurrence and outcomes of, and receipt of clinical care for, physical diseases. In addition to my work on mental health disparities in physical disease, I am also interested in other health inequalities related to sex and socioeconomic status and have a long-standing interest in modifiable risk factors involved in the aetiology of chronic disease across the life –course, and how their effects differ by sociodemographic factors. My research is underpinned by the use of large-scale linked electronic health data, disease registers and large cohort studies.

Current research interests

My current research focuses on multimorbidity, particularly from the perspective of physical multimorbidity in people with mental illness. My work also looks at the interplay between mental illness and cardiometabolic disease in particular, with current projects including both quantitative and qualitative approaches to improving our understanding of the poor physical disease outcomes in people with severe mental illness. The overarching aim of this work is to better understand and address the reasons for observed mental health disparities in physical disease and to unpick the underlying mechanisms that lead to physical disease multimorbidity in people with mental illness.

Past research interests

I completed my PhD in the epidemiology of ischaemic stroke subtypes and maintain an interest in this area. I have also worked in the field of adolescent and young-adult risk behaviour and women's health.

Current project grants

Jackson C, Fleetwood K, Cavers D, Smith D, Padmanabhan S, Mercer S. Severe mental illness and receipt of acute cardiac care and mortality following myocardial infarction
Funder: Chief Scientist Office Scotland; £299,585 (Jul 2022-Jun 2024)

Jackson C, Brennan G, Mercer S. Cardioprotective medication prescribing in people with severe mental illness: an exploratory qualitative study of general practitioners’ experiences.
Funder: RCGP Scientific Foundation Board; £31,554 (Jul 2022-Jun 2023)

Guthrie B, Sudlow C, Norrie J, Mercer S, Jackson C, Morales D, Smith D. Understanding the relationship between depression and trajectories of physical multimorbidity accrual: longitudinal analysis of UK Biobank data.
Funder: MRC; £593,672 (June 2019-Jan 2022)

Past project grants

Jackson C, Wild S, Smith D, License K, Mercer S, Sudlow C. Assessing the impact of major mental illness on the outcomes and complications of cardiovascular disease and diabetes: a national data linkage project.
Funder: Chief Scientist Office Scotland; £223,216 (March 2017-Sep 2019)

Jackson C, Wild S, License K, Smith D, Mercer S. Psychiatric illness and physical disease co-morbidity in Scotland: a feasibility and pilot study.
Funder: Wellcome Trust/University of Edinburgh Institutional Strategic Support Fund; £44,300 (2016)

Jackson C. Socioeconomic status, depression and risk of stroke: analysis of 750,000 participants from two prospective cohort studies.
Funder: University of Queensland Early Career Research Grant; $38,000 (2014-2015)

Henderson M, Jackson C, Bond L, Wilson P, Elliot L, Levin K, Haw S, Wight D, McConnachie A. Social and Emotional Education and Development (SEED): a stratified, cluster randomised trial of a multi-component primary school intervention that follows the pupils’ transition into secondary school.
Funder: UK NIHR; £870,000 (2012-2017)

View all 65 publications on Research Explorer