Academic Profile

People Feature

Melinda Mills

Professorial Fellow
Nuffield Professor of Sociology

Research Interests: demography, life course, sociogenomics, biodemography, fertility, employment, work-family reconciliation, work schedules

Melinda Mills, MBE, FBA is Nuffield Professor of Demography Sociology at Nuffield College and Director, Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford.

Her research spans diverse interdisciplinary topics in demography, empirical sociology, statistics, medical sciences and molecular genetics. Her recent work focuses on sociogenomics, combining social science and molecular genetic approaches to the study of behavioural outcomes, with a focus on reproduction, chronotype, nonstandard and precarious employment. Her works also examines behavioural and diverse approaches to health interventions, including behavioural and policy responses to face coverings, vaccine deployment and hesitancy. 

She is the co-founder of the GWAS Diversity Monitor that monitors the lack of ancestral and geographic diversity of research subjects in medical and genetic discoveries. She is PI (principal investigator) of the Leverhulme Trust Large Centre Grant for the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, PI of the ERC Advanced Grant CHRONO and ERC Proof of Concept Grant DNA4Science. She was the PI of the ERC Consolidator Grant SOCIOGENOME and the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods SOCGEN project.  She was the Editor in Chief of the European Sociological Review (2012-17). She received her MA in Sociology at the University of Alberta, Canada and Ph.D. in Demography at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. 

Mills has published 7 books and over 120 articles across multiple scientific disciplines including Nature Genetics, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Annual Review of Sociology, JAMA Psychiatry. She has written 2 statistical textbooks, Introducing Survival and Event History Analysis in R (Sage, 2011) and An Introduction to Statistical Genetic Data Analysis (MIT, 2020). 

She served on the UK Government Office of Science SAGE (Science Advisory Group for Emergencies sub-committees of SPI-B, Ethnicity and Vaccine Science Coordination group) and the Royal Society’s SET-C (Science in Emergency Tasking COVID-19) group. Internationally, she is one of 8 expert advisors on the High-Level Advisory Group for Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for the Economy on post-COVID economic and social recovery, on the non-Executive supervisory board of the Dutch National Science Council (NWO) and Executive Board of the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) of UKRI.

In 2018 she was awarded an MBE and in 2020 received the Clifford C. Clogg Award for Mid-Career Achievement from the Population Association of America. 

Melinda Mills


For a full list of publications see:




Mills, M.C. & T. Rüttenauer (2021). The impact of mandatory COVID-19 certificates on vaccine uptake: Synthetic Control Modelling of Six Countries, The Lancet Public Health, 7(1): E15-E22.

Dye, C. & M.C. Mills (2021). COVID-19 vaccination passports, Science, 371: 1184.

Ding, X., D.M. Brazel & M.C. Mills (2021). Factors affecting adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions for COVID-19 infections in the first year of the pandemic in the UK, BMJ Open, 11: e054200.

Dowd, JB, Andriano, A, Brazel DM, Rotondi, V., Block, P, Ding, X, Liu Y & M.C. Mills (2020). Demographic Science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(18): 9696-98

Block, P., Hoffman, M., Raabe, I.J., Dowd, J.B., Rahal, C., Kashyap, R. & M.C. Mills (2020). Social network-based distancing strategies to flatten the COVID-19 curve in a post-lockdown world Nature Human Behaviour, 4: 588-596.

Gaye, B. et al. (2020). Socio-demographic and epidemiological consideration of Africa’s COVID-19 response: what is the possible pandemic course? Nature Medicine. 26: 996-999.

Verhagen, M.D., Brazel, D.M., Dowd, J.B., Kashnitksy, I. & M.C. Mills (2020). Forecasting spatial, socioeconomic and demographic variation in COVID-19 health care demand in England and WalesBMC Medicine, 18: 203

Jennings, W., et al. M.C.Mills (2021). Lack of Trust, Conspiracy Beliefs, and Social Media Use Predict COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy, Vaccines, 9(6): 593.

Razai, M.S. et al. (2021) COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: the five C’s to tackle behavioural and sociodemographic factors, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 01410768211018951

Mills, M.C. & C. Dye (2021). Twelve criteria for the development and use of COVID-19 vaccine passports. London: Royal Society.

Aburto, J.M. et al M.C. Mills (2021). Estimating the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality, life expectancy and lifespan inequality in England and Wales: a population-level analysis, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 75(8): 735-740.

Aburto, J.M et al. (2021). Quantifying the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through life-expectancy losses: a population-level study of 29 countries, International Journal of Epidemiology, dyab207.

Mills, M. & J. Sivelä (2021). Should spreading anti-vaccine misinformation be criminalised? British Medical Journal, 372:n272.

Mills, M. & D. Salisbury. (2020). The challenges of distributing COVID-19 vaccinations, EClinicalMedicine, 100674.

Mills, M. C. Rahal & D. Brazel (2020). Vaccine Deployment: Behaviour, ethics, misinformation and policy strategies. London: Royal Society.

Dowd, J.B., P. Block, V. Rotondi & M.C. Mills (2020). Dangerous to claim “no clear association” between intergenerational relationships and COVID-19, PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(42): 25975-25976.

Dowd, J.B., X. Ding, E.Akimova & M.C. Mills. (2020) Health and inequality: The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, London: The British Academy.


Covid passports could work – but coercion is doomed to fail, The Guardian, 02 August 2021.

Why suggesting mandatory Covid vaccinations is an ethical minefield, The Guardian, 22 June 2021.

Head to Head: Would Covid passports be damaging to public health? The Guardian, 07 April 2021.

People struggle to assess risk, especially in a pandemic, Financial Times, 9 April 2021.

Vaccine passports are a technical and ethical minefield, Financial Times, 26 February 2021.

We must prevent a vaccine ‘infodemic’ from fuelling the Covid pandemic, The Guardian, 11 November 2020


Mills, M.C. et al. (2021) Identification of 371 genetic variants for age at first sex and birth linked to externalising behaviour, Nature Human Behaviour, 10.1038/s41562-021-00145-3.

Mills, M.C. and F.C.Tropf. (2020). Sociology, Genetics and the Coming of Age of Sociogenomics, Annual Review of Sociology 46: 553-581.

Mills, M.C., N. Barban and F.C.Tropf. (2020). An Introduction to Statistical Genetic Data Analysis. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press (450 pages).

Mills, M.C. & C. Rahal. (2021). Population Studies at 75 Years: An empirical review, Population Studies, 75: 7-25

Akimova, E.T., R. Breen, D.M. Brazel & M.C. Mills. (2021) Gene-environment dependencies lead to collider bias in models with polygenic scores, Nature Scientific Reports, 11:9457.

Herd, P., M.C. Mills & J.B. Dowd (2021). Reconstructing Sociogenomics Research: Dismantling Biological Race and Genetic Essentialism Narratives, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 10.1177/00221465211018682

Howe, L.J. et al. (2022). Within-sibship GWAS improve estimates of direct genetic effects, Nature Genetics (forthcoming)

Matthieson, I. et al. M.C.Mills & J. Perry (under review) Genome-wide analyses for reproductive success highlight contemporary natural selection at FADS1/2 locus,

Mills, M.C. and C. Rahal. (2020). The GWAS Diversity Monitor tracks diversity by disease in real-time, Nature Genetics. 52: 242–243.

Mills, M.C. (2019). 'How do genes effect same-sex behavior?' Science, 365(6456): 869-870.

Mills, M.C. and C. Rahal. (2019) ‘A Scientometric Review of Genome-Wide Association Studies,’ Communications Biology 2(9)

Tropf, F.C.  et al. M.C. Mills. (2017). ‘Hidden heritability due to heterogeneity across seven populations,’ Nature Human Behaviour, 1: 757-765.

Barban, N…….M.C. Mills (2016). Genome-wide analysis identifies 12 loci influencing human reproductive behavior, Nature Genetics, 48: 1462-1472.

Balbo, N., Billari, F.C. and Mills, M. (2013). Fertility in advanced societies: A review, European Journal of Population, 29: 1-38.

Mills, M. (2011). Introducing Survival and Event History Analysis.  Thousand Oaks, CA/London: Sage. (279 pages).

Mills, M., R.R. Rindfuss, P. McDonald and E. te Velde (2011). Why do people postpone parenthood? Reasons and social policy incentives, Human Reproduction Update, 17(6): 848-860.