Human Nutrition Research Centre

Staff Profile

Dr Hyang-Min Byun

Newcastle University Research Fellow



  • PhD in Molecular and Therapeutic Technology, CHA University, 2005, Dissertation Title: Targeted and prolonged gene therapy using nonviral delivery system

Previous Positions

  • Research Scientist, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health (2013-2015)
  • Research Associate, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health (2012-2013)
  • Research Fellow, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health (2010-2011)
  • Research Associate, University of Southern California (2005-2010)

Areas of expertise

  • Epigenetics
  • DNA methylation
  • Environmental exposures
  • Lifestyles


Google scholar: Click here.


My research interests lie within the field of epigenetic epidemiology. In particular, my work seeks to understand the effects of environmental exposures (e.g. air pollution and noise) and lifestyles (e.g. diet, exercise, smoking, and alcohol) upon human health and disease. Much of my current work is within a newly established Chinese population study, the project title is Environmental and LifEstyle FActors iN metabolic health throughout life-course Trajectories (ELEFANT) (n>421,739), for which I am one of three key investigators.


Project ELEFANT consists of three cohorts that each cover a stage of the human life cycle: birth (Baby ELEFANT, n = 48,762, a birth cohort); young adults (Young ELEFANT, n = 366,474, mean age = 30); and elderly adults (Elderly ELEFANT, n = 6,503, mean age = 68). I am also in the process of developing the Cancer ELEFANT cohort, which will facilitate the study of epigenetics in a range of solid tumors and leukemias. We have collected data on basic demographics, clinical measures, socio-economic status, exercise, occupational exposures, ambient air pollution exposures (hourly measurements from 25 monitoring stations since 2002), and questionnaire data (including psychological stress, occupational exposures and family history of disease).


Within this study, I am pursuing research into the impact of lifestyle and environmental exposures upon the epigenome and its relation to the development of non-communicable disease such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

twitter @Project_ELEFANT