Research areas


Biostatisticians play key roles in developing new statistical methods as well as in designing studies and data analyses. Biostatistics help to formulate questions that can be answered by data collection and make decisions on how to best collect and analyze the data. Statisticians in our group have:

  • Informed testing limits for the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee
  • Informed international guidelines on the treatment of patients with Hepatitis C
  • Developed methods to model fetal growth that are used in Canadian and international references
  • Developed methods for monitoring and evaluating side effects of prescription drugs
  • Developed modelling and computational techniques for efficient design of clinical trials

Clinical Epidemiology / Informatics

Our researchers are engaged in fundamental and applied research in clinical epidemiology and health informatics. With new methods for analyzing data generated through clinical trials; developing algorithms and software for analyzing massive amounts of data and feeding the resulting information back to users in an understandable manner and the introduction of software into real-world settings while evaluating its impact on decision and outcomes.

Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology

Environmental Health research is aimed at understanding and reducing population health risks posed by environmental pollutants and global climate change. Our faculty members lead innovative research projects that involve students in hands-on learning and training opportunities in Canada and across the globe. Our research in laboratories, field studies, and cohort studies provides exciting opportunities for students to contribute to studies that advance our knowledge about harmful environmental exposures and inform actions to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Epidemiologic Methods

Study designs involve carefully arranged measurements of exposures, outcomes and covariates. This data must then be processed in statistical analyses to identify and estimate the causal effect of the exposure after accounting for errors in measurement and distorted associations from confounding variables. This Department applies these methods to a wide array of problems in human health. Basic notions of causal inference, validity and precision can be applied broadly so that a core sequence of epidemiologic methods relate to many populations regardless of their substantive focus.

Global Health

Global health researchers study the well-being of populations through an equity lens, in global and local contexts. This area of study, research and practice places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. McGill and its affiliated hospitals have over 200 researchers involved in global health work from basic biomedical research on tropical diseases to large scale population studies on the social determinants of health.

Health Services and Policy Research

Health services and policy research seeks to identify the most effective and efficient ways to organize, finance, and deliver high quality health care services to improve health outcomes. Our research supports health care systems to improve the experiences of both patients and health professionals, equity in processes and outcomes, sustainable resource use, and population health. Researchers examine how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures, health technologies and personal behaviors affect access to care, the quality and cost of health care services, and population health and health inequalities.

Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Infectious disease epidemiology explores factors that contribute to our understanding of:

  • why specific pathogens emerge and spread within specific populations how infectious diseases may be prevented and controlled
  • how we can prepare for, identify, and prevent future threats.

Epidemiological methods specific to the field of infectious disease can be used to design and conduct surveillance and monitoring of the persistence and spread of infectious and disease, to determine disease causality and factors associated with specific infection and disease outcomes, and to understand pathogenesis and the natural history of infections.

Research in infectious disease epidemiology is often motivated by a desire to design, implement, and evacuate effective interventions for infection prevention and control. Using both established and more recently developed methods, approaches, and study designs, infectious disease epidemiologists aim to advance our understanding of a wide range of infectious disease processes and the impact of infectious disease on individuals and populations in diverse settings both locally and globally.

Reproductive, Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology

The main research focus is on determinants in reproduction and development as well as on outcomes that span from the ability to conceive conditions that can manifest throughout course of life. Researchers in the Department have diverse interests, including infertility, assisted reproduction, maternal, perinatal and childhood health, as well as methodologic aspects related to the study of reproductive outcomes.


Although medications undergo a rigorous regulatory approval process, clinical trials are limited in their ability to assess the use, effectiveness, and safety of medications in a real world setting. Pharmacoepidemiology provides with information needed to make informed decisions on the potential benefits, risks, and uncertainties through studies of drug utilization, comparative effectiveness, and adverse drug reactions in everyday clinical practice, often through the application of sophisticated epidemiologic and statistical approaches to large, population-based databases.

Social Epidemiology

Social epidemiology is the study of how social factors contribute to health and disease. Our researcher engages in both descriptive and etiologic studies

Descriptive studies assess how health varies across axes of social distinction such as ethnicity, gender, and social class, and how those variations may change across time and space, reflecting social processes.

Etiologic studies have an explicit focus on social, economic, political and cultural factors as causal agents affecting health and disease, rather than as background characteristics—with implications for potential interventions to reduce social inequalities in health

Research units

Our faculty and students collaborate with teams across disciplines: 

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