I moved from Belgium to the UK in October 2014 to conduct an ESRC-funded PhD project on the social and environmental determinants of physical activity at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). During my PhD, I used the Olympic Regeneration in East London (ORiEL) study to investigate how factors such as neighbourhood trust, social support and perceptions of the neighbourhood environment are associated with physical activity and its change over time in adolescents. I was awarded an Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM) stipend which allowed me to attend a series of specialised short courses and to strengthen my analytical skills in applied longitudinal data analysis. During the second year of my PhD, I did a 3-month Overseas Institutional Visit (OIV) at the Built Environment and Health Research Group at Columbia University. During my stay, I learned additional analytical techniques and studied changes in the food environments using a historical commercial database that contains information on all retail businesses in New York City.
A few months before submitting my thesis, I accepted a job offer as a Research Fellow at LSHTM. Since February 2018, I have worked on an MRC-funded project aiming to analyse the impact of food prices and industry-led changes in food systems on household food and beverage consumption and diet-related health outcomes. In this exciting new project, I work with large disaggregated household food and beverage expenditure data. This project suits me perfectly because it is in line with my primary research interests to study contextual and socio-environmental determinants of health (particularly diet and physical activity). It further allows me to apply the quantitative skills gained during my PhD to different research questions and to gain additional expertise in the analysis of very large datasets.