Laura King is a PhD candidate at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health. She has a background in human physiology and biological anthropology with a focus on population health (Honours). Laura’s current work is examining the role of seasonal co-variation in vitamin D levels, sun exposure and immune function.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation and vitamin D status are known modulators of health, and are implicated in the maintenance of balanced immune responses. Although much is known about the relationship between UV radiation, vitamin D and immune function, it is not yet known whether immune function varies seasonally as a result of seasonal changes in UV radiation and vitamin D levels. We are also yet to fully identify the determinants of seasonal variation in vitamin D status, in particular, why some individuals become deficient in winter and others do not.
This PhD will explore these questions to better guide individuals to minimize adverse health outcomes associated with sun exposure, while maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D across all seasons. This will also have important implications for understanding seasonal infection epidemiology and may improve interpretation and prevention of seasonal infection and illness.