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University of Exeter Medical School

Emerita Professor Lora Fleming

Emerita Professor Lora Fleming

Emerita Professor, Chair of Oceans, Epidemiology and Human Health

 Peter Lanyon 


Peter Lanyon Building, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Treliever Road, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK


Emerita Professor Fleming is a board certified occupational and environmental health physician and epidemiologist with over three decades of experience and expertise in environment and occupational exposures and human health. After over two decades of working at the University of Miami, she is an Emerita Professor (both the Miller School of Medicine and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences). She was the Director of the European Centre from 2011-2021, and she an Emerita Professor and Chair of Oceans, Epidemiology and Human Health at the University of Exeter School of Medicine.

Broad research specialisms

Environmental and occupational health and epidemiology including large dataset analyses and interdisciplinary research and Oceans and Human Health


  • MD (Harvard 1984)
  • PhD (Yale 1997)
  • MPH (Harvard 1984)
  • MSc (Imperial College 1979)
  • BA (Harvard 1978)
  • Licensed Physician (Florida)
    • Board certified in Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine (Occupational Medicine)
    • Fellow of the American Family Physician Association
  • ASPIRE/HEA Principal Fellow
  • UK Public Health Consultant Academic Mentor
  • Honorary Professor Public Health England (PHE)
  • Fellow Alan Turing Institute
  • Member of Academia Europaea


I am a physician and epidemiologist with expertise in environmental and occupational health in epidemiology and public health particularly in interdisciplinary research and training around the risks and benefits from interacting with the natural environment, and through my experience leading complex interdisciplinary research projects nationally and internationally with diverse partners.  

I have led interdisciplinary environment and human health research and training (including MPH) on both sides of the Atlantic for 40+ years, including the risks and benefits of human interactions with natural and occupational environments. From 2011 - 2021, as Centre Director with my colleagues and collaborators, I led the European Centre for Environment and Human Health ( in the University of Exeter CMH to be internationally recognised in research and training around health and wellbeing from interactions wtih the natural environment, including designation as a WHO Collaborating Centre in Natural Environments and Human Health.

The European Centre has >100 students and staff, with funding from all UK Research Councils, EU and Wellcome, Masters in Environment and Human Health, and an international reputation in public health and natural environment. We have created an inclusive, flexible and creative culture which encourages truly interdisciplinary research and training which involves co-creation with business and communities, and the support of early career researchers.

I am an international leader in the metadiscipline of Ocean(s) and Human Health (OHH).  I co-Directed one of 4 NIEHS NSF OHH Centres for over 10 years, and then brought OHH to Europe. Since then I have led the H2020 Seas Oceans and Public Health in Europe (SOPHIE) Project which created a Strategic Research Agenda for Europe and Beyond.  I have led OHH Webinars sponsored by the EU Parliament and the IOC. I have published numerous papers on the risks (e.g. harmful algal blooms, microbial pollution) and the benefits (e.g. health and wellbeing from coastal interactions) and contributions to WHO reports.  I have received the Ocean and Human Awards from the Edouard Delcroix Foundation and from the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Bruun Award. I am particularly interested in exploring OHH in LMIC, particularly among poor and vulnerable coastal communities, and the ways to promote environmental sustainability as well as equitable human health and wellbeing.

I have also been involved in efforts to make big data in environment and human health more available to researchers and other users. This has included collaborations with the Met Office and PHE. I am particularly interested in interdisciplinary collaborations with social scientists and more traditional big data researchers towards shared training and analyses, and new ways to approach the global challenges of environment and human health through big data. I am also interested in ways to overcome the new digital divide to provide more equitable access and use of big data in environment and human health.


Research group links

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Research interests

As Director at the European Centre, Professor Fleming works in the areas of Oceans and Human Health and Healthy Workplaces. Working with various Centre colleagues and others, she has performed research in:

  • Human health exposures and effects of harmful algal bloom toxins
  • Effects to human health of microbial pollution
  • Oceans and Human Health
  • big data in environment and human health
  • Health disparities in the workplace
  • Healthcare Ocean

Professor Fleming has also created outreach and educational materials and worked with diverse partners and communities concerning the human health effects of interactions with the marine environment and occupational health issues.


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External Engagement and Impact


American Public Health Association Student Mentor Award November 2012

the Ocean and Human Awards from

- the Edouard Delcroix Foundation

- the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Bruun Award

Committee/panel activities

Editorial responsibilities

Invited lectures

Media Coverage


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  • Periodic lectures to Masters in Environment and Human Health
  • contributed to 1) Living with Environmental Change and 2) Oceans and Human Health undergraduate teaching
  • Many lectures to general public



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