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Oluwaseun (Seun) Esan

Post-doctoral launching fellow

Children, young people & families, Health inequalities

LiLaC, University of Liverpool

Research Projects

Poverty proofing maternity services

Cross-cutting data theme

Seun's career journey

Seun is a highly passionate and driven individual with a deep interest in the field of public health. Having grown up across two continents she has always been fascinated by the complex interplay between host-microbe relationships, social determinants of health, and the broader context in which people live their lives. That’s why she pursued a BSc.Hons and an MSc. in Microbiology from the University of Nottingham, which allowed her to delve deeper into the world of infectious diseases and the impact they have on society.

After completing her studies, she started her career as a Graduate Trainee in Research Microbiology at the Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response in Porton Down. Here, she worked on improving the detection of dengue virus and developing a point of test device to detect flu virus as part of pandemic preparedness.

Although Seun enjoyed her work in the lab, she soon realized that she missed interacting with people. It was then that she attended her first Health Protection Agency Conference, where she became hooked on epidemiology. She was fascinated by the complex interplay between host-microbe relationships and the various factors that contribute to the risk of disease. Despite being nervous about networking, Seun’s passion drew her to a Consultant in Public Health, who provided her with useful tips on how best to transition from the lab to computers.

Since then, Seun has held various roles with Public Health England, where she has been involved in infectious disease surveillance and outbreak response and has contributed to the development of public health intelligence tools. Her experiences have only strengthened her commitment to public health and her desire to make a difference in the field.

Seun’s passion for public health led her to pursue a PhD that would allow her to apply her analytical skills and interests in epidemiology to a public health problem. She joined the first NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Gastrointestinal Infections, where she used a range of data sources to determine the incidence of sequelae of gastrointestinal infections and the associated economic burden to the NHS in England. Throughout her PhD, Seun enjoyed the freedom to explore and the collegiality of the HPRU, and she was proud to be awarded the second prize for the best oral presentation at the HPRU conference in 2017.

After completing her PhD in 2019, Seun joined the Health Inequalities Policy Research Unit at the Department of Public Health Policy and Systems. Here, she focused on investigating health inequalities in maternal and child health, which she found to be a shocking area of stagnation and repeated rhetoric. Her interest in this area led her and her team of early career researchers to win a competitive tender and be commissioned by the NHS Race and Health Observatory to map existing policy interventions to tackle ethnic health inequalities in maternal and neonatal health in England. The publication generated a lot of media interest, and Seun plans to explore some of the research gaps further in her postdoctoral launching fellowship.

At LiLaC, University of Liverpool, Seun hopes to draw on her strength of crossing disciplines and working with other sociologists within SPHR in understanding how to tackle deep-seated inequalities. Her postdoctoral launching fellowship will apply an intersectional framework to address socio-economic and ethnic health inequalities in maternal and child health, further highlighting her passion for making a difference in public health. She is also committed to mentoring others from her lack of mentorship early-on in her career and plans to host an Intern as part of her fellowship. 

“Public health is not just a career for me; it’s a calling. I am committed to making a positive impact on people’s lives and using my skills and expertise to address some of the most pressing public health challenges of our time.” 


  • 2006
  • BSc Microbiology
  • University of Nottingham
  • 2007
  • MSc Clinical Microbiology
  • University of Nottingham
  • 2007
  • Research Scientist
  • Centre for Emergency Preparedness, Health Protection Agency, Porton Down, Salisbury,
  • 2009
  • Information Scientist/ PH Analyst
  • Public Health England
  • 2012
  • Epidemiologist
  • Public Health England
  • 2019
  • PhD
  • University of Oxford
  • 2020
  • Post-doctoral Research Associate
  • University of Liverpool
  • 2023
  • Post-doctoral launching fellowship

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