Schooling, Catherine Mary

MA (Pure Maths & Medieval History), MSc (Operational Research), MSc (Statistics), PhD (Epidemiology)
Associate Professor and Cluster Leader (Non-communicable Diseases in Global Health)
Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Contact Information
Tel: 3917 6732
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Dr Mary Schooling joined the School of Public Health at HKU in 2002 as a part-time teaching assistant after obtaining a PhD in Epidemiology from University College London (UK) following a career in IT and Operations Research starting at IBM. Dr Schooling is also a Professor at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York. She is an Editorial Board member of the journal PLoS ONE, an Associate Editor of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (BMJ Publishing Group) and an Advisory Editor for Social Science and Medicine.

Dr Schooling’s public health research interests focus on non-communicable diseases, specifically 1) applying evolutionary biology, i.e., growth and reproduction trading-off against longevity, to understand population health, to optimize early life interventions, and to identify new interventions 2) using the unique attributes of Southern China to explicate the role of key modifiable exposures, such as alcohol use, diet, obesity, physical activity, breastfeeding and traditional Chinese medicines, in non-communicable diseases and 3) exploiting discrepancies between East and West to identify novel drivers of population health. Key resources for this endeavour are cohort studies including "Children of 1997", the Elderly Health Service Cohort and the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study exploited using innovative methods, such as Mendelian randomization.

This research program crossing traditional boundaries of individual disciplines or fields of enquiry has yielded several translatable mechanistic insights.

  1. A comprehensive explanation for the changing patterns of disease with the epidemiological transition including the emergence of higher rates of ischemic cardiovascular disease in men than women and the differing patterns of disease by migration status, specifically the higher risk of diabetes, hemorrhagic stroke and infection related cancers but lower risk of hormone related cancers and ischemic cardiovascular disease often seen in migrants from less to more economically developed settings. 
  2. Recognition by the United States Food and Drug Administration (2014/5) and Health Canada (2014) that androgens are a new cardiovascular disease risk factor, with impact on sales and practice
  3. Identification of existing classes of drugs, such as neurokinin 3 receptor antagonists and the traditional Chinese medicine puerarin, likely acting on the reproductive axis, which could be used more generally to combat cardiovascular disease.

HKU Scholars Hub: Schooling, Catherine Mary


Selected Publications  (Pub Med Search)

  1. Schooling CM, Tachykinin neurokinin 3 receptor antagonists: a new treatment for cardiovascular disease? Lancet, 27th March 2017
  2.  Zhao J, Jiang CQ, Lam TH, Liu B, Cheng KK,  Xu L, Au Yeung SL,  Zhang WS, Leung GM, Schooling CM, Genetically predicted testosterone and cardiovascular risk factors in men: a Mendelian randomization analysis in the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study, International Journal of Epidemiology, 2014;43(1):140-8. [2014IF=9.176] (Ranked 2 out of 165 under the category of “Public, Environmental & Occupational Health”) (Citation: 11)
  3. Xu L, Freeman G, Cowling BJ, Schooling CM, Testosterone therapy and cardiovascular events among men: a systematic review and meta-analysis of placebo-controlled randomized trials, BMC Medicine 2013;11(1):108 [2014IF=7.356] (Ranked 9 out of 154 under the category of “Medicine, General & Internal”) (Citation: 196) [link]
  4. Schooling CM, Au Yeung SL, Freeman G, Cowling BJ, The effect of statins on testosterone in men and women, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, BMC Medicine, 2013:Feb 28;11:57[2014IF=7.356] (Ranked 9 out of 154 under the category of “Medicine, General & Internal”) (Citation: 56) [link]
  5. Schooling CM, Freeman G, Cowling BJ, Mendelian Randomization and estimation of treatment efficacy for chronic diseases, American Journal of Epidemiology, 2013;177:1128-33 – AJE Paper of the year
  6. Au Yeung SL, Jiang CQ, Long MJ, Cheng KK, Liu B, Zhang WS, Lam TH, Leung GM, Schooling CM, Evaluation of moderate alcohol use with QT interval and heart rate using Mendelian randomization analysis among older Southern Chinese men in the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study, American Journal of Epidemiology 2015;182:320-7AJE Paper of the year
  7. Kwok MK, Schooling CM, Lam TH, Leung GM, Does breastfeeding protect against childhood overweight? Hong Kong’s “Children of 1997” Int J Epidemiol 2010;39:297-305
  8. Schooling CM, Leung GM, A socio-biological explanation for social disparities in non-communicable chronic diseases – the product of history? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2010;64(11):941-9 [2014IF=3.501] (Ranked 20 out of 165 under the category of “Public, Environmental & Occupational Health”) (Citation: 54) [link]
  9. Schooling CM, Jiang CQ, Lam TH, Zhang WS, Cheng KK, Leung GM, Life-Course Origins of Social Inequalities in Metabolic risk in the Population of a Developing Country, American Journal of Epidemiology:2008:167(4):419-28 [2014IF=5.230] (Ranked 9 out of 165 under the category of “Public, Environmental & Occupational Health”) (Citation: 63) [link]
  10. Schooling CM, Lam TH, Li ZH, Ho SY, Chan WM, Ho KS, Tham MK, Cowling BJ, Leung GM. Obesity, physical activity and mortality in a prospective Chinese elderly cohort, Archives of Internal Medicine, 2006; 166 1498-504 [2014IF=17.333] (Ranked 6 out of 154 under the category of “Medicine, General & Internal”) (Citation: 135) [link] Joomla 3.3 Templates