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Yang Cao

Assistant professor

Visiting address : Scheelelaboratoriet, Nobels Väg 13 Solna, Sweden
Postal address : Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM), C6, Biostatistics, Box 210 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
Delivery address : Scheelelaboratoriet, Nobels Väg 13 Solna, Sweden

About me

I have been working as an Assistant Professor in Unit of Biostatistics, Institution of Environmental Medicine (IMM), Karolinska Institute (KI) since Oct 15, 2011. During my time in IMM, I successfully started and drove through a number of new research projects on the effects of air pollution and environmental chemicals. I was awarded two substantial institutional grants from IMM and KI. I have continued to be productive in publication and contributed to more than 50 original articles in peers reviewed journals, and some of them were published in leading journals in my research fields such as Environmental Health Perspectives and the Journal of Pediatrics.

In addition to my active work in research, I am also a socially committed person and actively participate in institution’s work. I am also a popular teacher in Biostatistics. My lectures on non-parametric analysis and application of SAS software produced favorable comments from master students and PhD students in IMM and Department of Public Health, KI.

Before I came to KI, I conducted research and teaching in three leading scientific institutes in World Health Organization (WHO), the United States and China. I got my postdoctoral training in Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, United States and worked as a Senior Scientist in Pacific-Asian Development Center, Roche Pharmaceutical Company.


  • 1993, Bachelor of Medical Electronic Engineering, the Fourth Military Medical University, China
  • 1998, Master of Health Statistics, the Second Military Medical University, China
  • 2004, Ph.D., Social Medicine & Public Health Services Management, Department of Hospital Management, Fudan University, China

Research description

My researches are focused on novel statistical methods to evaluate the effects of exposure to air pollution and environmental chemicals on human health.

Two studies have been carried out and are ongoing to elucidate health risks resulted from several traffic-related air pollutants and phthalates:

  • Project 1. BREATH (Beijing Respiratory Effects And Traffic-related Pollutants Study), investigates spatiotemporal relationship between multiple air pollutants and respiratory diseases in post-Olympics Beijing. The project is an international collaboration project comprising data from the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Peking Union Medical College. We aim to develop and apply novel statistical methods for spatiotemporal analysis and quantile inference. We have shown that high level of traffic-related pollution is associated with a spatial varied risk of respiratory mortality over a short-time period.
  • Project 2. Dietary Intake, Phthalates Body Burden and Sex Hormones in Boys and Girls, is based on a large cross-sectional study conducted in boys and girls in primary schools and junior high schools in Shanghai, China. We aim to examine the relationship between self-reported dietary consumption and phthalate metabolite levels in urine samples and to assess the association of phthalate exposures with sex hormone levels in school children. We have found urinary phthalate was associated with slower pubic hair development in boys and faster breast development in girls.