Dr Lesley Smith (nee Fairley)

Dr Lesley Smith (nee Fairley)


I am a senior research fellow in the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences and the Leeds Centre for Personalised Medicine and Health working on a programme of research on the early diagnosis of cancer. My background is in medical statistics and epidemiology. I initially joined the University of Leeds in March 2015 as a senior statistician working with the Yorkshire Specialist Register of Cancer in Children and Young People and completed a PhD in Jan 2020 investigating cure and long-term outcomes for children and young adults diagnosed with cancer. Prior to this I was the senior statistician on the Born in Bradford birth cohort study and worked at the Northern and Yorkshire Cancer Registry and Information Service (NYCRIS). 

Research interests

My current research is focused upon improving the early diagnosis of cancer, using electronic health record data to identify those at high-risk of cancer. I am interested in the methodological developments in the field of early cancer diagnosis, incorporating biomarkers for population-based research, the statistical methods relating to the analysis of routine health data, and the social determinants of health. 


  • MSc Medical Statistics
  • BSc Mathematics and Statistics
  • PhD Cancer Epidemiology

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Society for Social Medicine and Population Health

Student education

I contribute to teaching on the MSc in Health Data Analytics.

ESREP supervision

Research groups and institutes

  • Cancer Survivor Intelligence Group
  • Cancer
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
  • Division of Primary Care, Palliative Care and Public Health