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Women in Science

Jenny trained as a doctor. She got a Wellcome Research Training Fellowship to train in epidemiology. After her MSc and doctorate she spent seven years in Australia. On her return she won a 5 year Senior Fellowship, which she transferred to Oxford where she has worked since 2003.

Portrait of Jenny Kurinczuk© Women in Science


at the time of the interview - November 2014

Jenny is a University Professor, Principal Investigator and Director of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in the Nuffield Department of Population Health. She has two children. 

Extended biography

at the time of the interview - November 2014

When Jenny was at school she always wanted to be a doctor. While at medical school she did a course in epidemiology, which she really enjoyed, and spent a year doing epidemiological research as part of her medical degree. Having completed training as a junior hospital doctor she won a Wellcome Research Training Fellowship to train in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and to complete her doctoral research.

Jenny trained in public health and worked as a Senior Registrar/ Lecturer in Leicester for just over a year, before going to Australia with her husband where she worked at the Telethon Institute for Child Health and as a Lecturer at the University of Western Australia. In 1994 Jenny had boy-girl twins. She returned to work full-time after four months with help from a nanny and also from her parents, who visited Australia and eventually migrated.

 ... be persistent. Don’t be afraid of failure. Failure’s just the next opportunity to succeed

After seven years abroad Jenny and her husband returned to the UK. Jenny obtained a post as Senior Lecturer at Leicester University. This was busy time because Jenny was teaching undergraduates, establishing and running an MSc course, getting her research in the UK re-established, doing some honorary contract work in public health and looking after her family.

Jenny then won a DH/NHS R&D National Public Health Career Scientist Award. This was a Senior Fellowship, which gave her five year’s funding for her research. During this time Jenny applied for a job she saw advertised at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit here at Oxford. She brought her Fellowship funding with her when she started in 2003. In 2008 she became Deputy Director and Reader in Perinatal Epidemiology and in 2010 she was promoted to Professor. In 2011 Jenny became the Director of the unit, which has nearly 90 members of staff and which is an entirely research grant funded research unit.

Jenny enjoys her work because, although challenging at times, it is intellectually satisfying, makes a real difference to the lives and health of mothers, babies and families, and no two days are the same. Nationality/Ethnic background: White British.