Simon Dyson is Professor of Applied Sociology and is Director of the Unit for the Social Study of Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell (TASC Unit) at De Montfort University, UK. His research interests include all social aspects of sickle cell and thalassaemia, drawing especially on the areas of the sociology of health and illness, and the sociology of ethnicity and racism.
Sickle cell and thalassaemia are the world’s most common single gene conditions, with over 400,000 born globally each year. Over five million sickle cell carriers are born globally each year. Whilst much research has been conducted on biological and clinical aspects of sickle cell, the TASC Unit at De Montfort University is unique in using sociological and social policy research to understand the lives of those living with sickle cell or thalassaemia.
Books on sickle cell/thalassaemia produced by Professor Dyson include Ethnicity and Screening for Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia (Elsevier, 2005); (with Gwyneth Boswell) Sickle Cell and Deaths in Custody (Whiting and Birch, 2009) and (with Karl Atkin) Genetics and Global Public Health: Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia (Routledge, 2012). He has written numerous articles on the social and political aspects of sickle cell and thalassaemia. He is a scientific advisor to the UK Sickle Cell Society and is current chair of the international network WISSH (Worldwide Initiative on the Social Study of Hemoglobinopathies www.wissh.net ). He has recently completed a
project funded the UK Economic and Social Research Council on sickle cell in
schools [ www.sicklecelleducation.com ] and the resulting guide to school
policy on sickle cell and thalassaemia has been adopted by the UK Department
for Education. He is on the editorial board of the international journal Ethnicity and Health. He currently has four PhD students studying at his unit:
Bola Ola: Living with sickle cell and depression in Nigeria
Rahimot Gbadamosi: Sickle cell in schools
Myrle Blaine: Sickle cell and employment
Roanna Maharaj: Transitions in thalassaemia.
Professor Dyson’s approach to studying sickle cell is based on a passion that social research should combine the best of sociological theory, be relevant to changing the lives of people living with sickle cell/thalassaemia for the better, and that the results of research should be shared with sickle cell/thalassaemia advocacy groups working in the community. Professor Dyson has worked with many community sickle cell/thalassaemia groups throughout the UK but also with sickle cell groups in the USA, Canada, Eire, Brazil, Ghana, Nigeria, and India.
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