Academic Profile

People Feature

Melinda Mills

Professorial Fellow
Professor of Demography and Population Health

Melinda Mills, MBE, FBA is Professor of Demography and Population Health, Nuffield Department of Population Health (OxPop) and Nuffield College and Director, Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science and Director of the Demographic Science Unit, University of Oxford.

Her research spans diverse interdisciplinary topics in biodemography, empirical sociology, statistics, public health and molecular genetics. Her 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. 

Mills has published 7 books and over 150 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 is the Founder of Data4Science and 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. 

Since 2022, Mills is a Special Advisor to Paolo Gentiloni, the European Commissioner for the Economy. 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. She was 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. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Economic and Social Research Council, UK, supervisory Board of the Dutch Science Council. She currently serves on various data Science Advisory Boards including Our Future Health, British Birth Cohorts (UK), Health and Retirement Survey (US), ODISSEI and LifeLines Biobank (Netherlands).

In 2018 she was awarded an MBE and nominated as a British Academy Fellow. In 2020 she received the Clifford C. Clogg Award for Mid-Career Achievement from the Population Association of America and in 2022 the Trailblazer Award from the European Association of Population Studies, for outstanding acheivements in methods, mathematical and biodemography. 

Melinda Mills I

Tom Weller Photography


For a full list of publications see her Departmental Webpage

Or Google Scholar or her Homepage


Liu, A. et al. (2023).Evidence from Finland and Sweden on the relationship between early-life diseases and lifetime childlessness in men and women, Nature Human Behaviour, doi: 10.1038/s41562-023-01763-x

Matthieson, I. et al. M.C.Mills & J. Perry (2023) Genome-wide analyses for reproductive success highlight contemporary natural selection at FADS1/2 locus, Nature Human Behaviour, 7(5):790-801.

Akimova, A., Taiji, R., Ding, X and M.C.Mills (2023). Gene-X-Environment Analysis Supports Protective Effects of Eveningness Chronotype on Self-Reported Sleep Duration Among those who Always Work Night Shifts in the UK Biobank, Sleep, 46(5): zsad023

Leasure, D.R. et al. & M.C. Mills (2023). Nowcasting Daily Population Displacement in Ukraine through Social Media Advertising Data, Population and Development Review, 49(2): 231-254.

Ding, X., E.T. Akimova, B. Zhao, K. Dederichs, M.C.Mills. (2024). Prepayment meters strongly associated with multiple types of deprivation and emergency respiratory hospital admissions: an observational, cross-sectional study, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 78(1): 54-60.

Howe, L.J. et al. (2022). Within-sibship GWAS improve estimates of direct genetic effects, Nature Genetics, 54: 581–592 

Mills, M.C. & I. Mathieson. (2022). The challenge of detecting recent natural selection in human populations, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(15): e2203237119.

Ding, X., D.M. Brazel & M.C. Mills (2022). Gender differences in sleep disruption during COVID-19: cross-sectional analyses from two UK nationally representative surveys, BMJ Open, 12(4)

Mills, M.C. (2022). The future of employment in a post-COVID Europe: Building resilience through a fair social, digital and green economy, A New Era for Europe: How the European Union Can Make the Most of its Pandemic Recovery, Pursue Sustainable Growth, and Promote Global Stability. Pp. 79-107, High-Level Group on Post-COVID Economic and Social Challenges. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Doi: 10.2765/11297.

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. & 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

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.

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.

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

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

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. (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.



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