Professor Dame Valerie Beral, DBE, AC, FRS
Director, Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford.
Born in Australia, Dame Valerie studied medicine at Sydney University, graduating in 1969. As the top graduate that year she was awarded the University Gold Medal, the first woman ever to receive this award in medicine. After a few years of clinical work in Australia and New Guinea she moved to the UK and became board certified in internal medicine soon after.
She was fortunate to work for one of the first clinical epidemiologists, Charles Fletcher, who recognised that she was suited to epidemiology and propelled her towards the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she worked for almost 20 years.
In 1988 she moved to Oxford to become the Director of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, previously directed by Sir Richard Doll. Her major research interests include the role of reproductive, hormonal and infectious agents in cancer and other conditions.
She is principal investigator of the Million Women Study, investigating the effects of a range of women’s lifestyle factors on health, with focus initially on the effects of hormone replacement therapy. Since 1991, she has led international collaborative studies of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers.
Dame Valerie has served on many international committees, including the World Health Organization, the US National Academy of Sciences, and various Australian cancer councils. Until recently, she chaired the UK Department of Health’s Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer Screening and is currently a member of the Board of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (the UK equivalent of the FDA).
In 2006 she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) for scientific contributions to epidemiology. Other honours include being invested as Dame of the British Empire (DBE) and Companion of Australia (AC) for her contributions to science.
She was elected President of the International Epidemiological Association in 2014.
- Plenary Speaker