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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

Anthropology of Health Members

Dr Khurshida Begum, MBBS, MA, PhD

Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology

Contact Dr Khurshida Begum


I received my MBBS from Bangladesh and started my career as clinician by working as a GP and as a Senior House Officer in the Gynecology and Obstetric Department at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka. I have also trained in Clinical Ultrasonography from Thomas Jefferson University, USA and worked as a Clinical Ultrasonologist. Afterwards, I began my career in public health working for the government of Bangladesh in the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), a national institute for public health research. I was involved with several multidisciplinary collaborative research projects with WHO & UNDP, particularly in women’s health. Later I was awarded a MEASURE Evaluation IPSR Masters degree Fellowship and obtained my Masters in Population and Reproductive Health Research from Mahidol University, Thailand. Following the completion of my MA, I continued researching social aspects of reproductive health e.g., socio-behavioural impacts on reproductive health in Bangladesh. 

I received my PhD in Biological Anthropology from University College London (UCL) in 2011 under the supervision of Prof. Gillian Bentley and was funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) scholarship. My PhD research was part of a bigger collaborative bio-cultural study on menopause and symptom experience. The collaboration was between UCL (UK), Durham University (UK), the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (USA) and Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College (Bangladesh). I did fieldwork in Bangladesh alongside and with the supervision of Prof. Lynnette Leidy Sievert (UMass-Amherst), where I developed experience in the collection of anthropological research. I also worked under the mentorship of Dr. Shanthi Muttukrishna (UCL) and learned radioimmunoassay techniques for the analyses of serum reproductive hormones at the Centre for Reproductive Science, UCL. For my PhD, I looked at “Environmental effects on ovarian reserve among migrant Bangladeshi women in the UK”. I compared women’s ovarian reserve by analyzing serum levels of three reproductive hormones (Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), inhibin B and anti-mullarian hormone (AMH)) among migrant Bangladeshi women in London, sedentee Bangladeshi women and white women of European descent. I found that white British and migrant Bangladeshi who grew up in the UK have higher ovarian reserve than those who were still living in Bangladesh or who moved to the UK as adults.

Current Research

Currently I am involved in a project at Anthropology Department, Durham University investigating how British-Bangladeshis adapt to life in different parts (south and north east) of the UK, and whether their experiences, as first- or second-generation migrants have an effect on health and wellbeing. We are measuring salivary cortisol and C-reactive protein levels as biomarkers of wellbeing.

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Early life influences on later ovarian function and ovarian reserve
  • Reproductive ageing and menopause
  • Reproductive Health
  • The health of migrant Bagladeshis in the UK


Doctoral Thesis

  • Begum, K. (2014). Environmental effects on ovarian reserve among migrant Bangladeshi women in the UK. University College London. PhD.

Journal Article

Masters Thesis

  • Begum, K. (2003). Impact of HIV/AIDS prevention program on safe sex practice among brothel based commercial sex workers in Bangladesh. Institute for Population and Social Research. Mahidol University, Thailand. Masters.