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Full-time Faculty Distinguished Professor
John S. Ji

Associate Professor, Tsinghua University Vanke School of Public Health

John Ji is an Associate Professor at Tsinghua University's Vanke School of Public Health and serves as a doctoral student advisor. His research in environmental epidemiology employs population studies to examine the impact of climate and environmental risk factors on health. Specifically, John focuses on how living environments can extend life expectancy and health span, with a particular interest in the effects of green spaces on life expectancy, the modification of air pollution impacts through the interaction of plant-based diets and built environment green spaces, and the development of health-oriented early warning systems for heatwaves. His research found functional aging as a critical climate-sensitive risk factor in the aging population, complementing traditional disease-oriented methods and enhancing adaptation and resilience in cities and communities.

John has authored over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles, featured in high-impact publications such as Environmental Health Perspectives, The Lancet Planetary Health, International Journal of Epidemiology, and Nature Medicine. Stanford/Elsevier lists him among the top 2% of scientists. He led a Lancet series on climate change and health adaptation in the Western Pacific region, published in The Lancet Regional Health – Western Pacific, aiming to shape local policies to enhance climate resilience and adaptation strategies.

John is an Associate Editor for The BMJ, leading a collection on large-scale cohort studies focused on shaping the future of epidemiological research in China. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for The Lancet Regional Health – Western Pacific, and formerly Senior Editor at The Lancet weekly journal. In addition to his editorial responsibilities, John is a councilor for the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) Asia Western Pacific Chapter and a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Climate Health Ethics.

Previously, John was an Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the iMEP program at Duke Kunshan University, with a secondary appointment at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. John received his BA in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University and an ScM in Epidemiology and ScD in Environmental Health from Harvard School of Public Health.

At Tsinghua University, John teaches a required course on public health research methods and an elective course on cohort studies design. He is currently launching a new course on planetary health.


Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Neuroscience, 2008  Johns Hopkins University  

Master of Science (ScM) in Epidemiology, 2010  Harvard School of Public Health  

Doctor of Science (ScD) in Environmental Health, 2013  Harvard School of Public Health

Editorial Roles

The BMJ, Associate Editor

The Lancet Regional Health Western Pacific, International Advisory Board Member

The Lancet, former Senior Editor

Affiliated Positions

World Health Organization (WHO), Technical Advisory Group Climate Health Ethics

International Society of Environmental Epidemiology Asia Western Pacific Chapter, Councilor


Cohort Studies: Applied Epidemiology

Public Health Research Methods

Planetary Health

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Original Research

1. Nature Medicine (2024), selected as Journal Cover

"Risk factors associated with heatwave mortality in Chinese adults over 65 years."

Article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-024-02880-4

Linked commentary: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-024-02919-6

2. The Lancet Regional Health–Western Pacific (2023), selected as Journal Cover

"China’s public health initiatives for climate change adaptation."

Article: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanwpc.2023.100965

Series: https://www.thelancet.com/series/western-pacific-climate-change-adaptation

Linked editorial: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanwpc.2023.100981

3. The Lancet Regional Health–Western Pacific (2022), selected as Journal Cover

"Interaction between plant-based dietary pattern and air pollution on cognitive function: a prospective cohort analysis of Chinese older adults."

Article: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanwpc.2021.100372

Research feature: https://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/en/info/1418/11783.htm

4. International Journal of Epidemiology (2021)

"Solid fuel use, socioeconomic indicators and risk of cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality: a prospective cohort study in a rural area of Sichuan, China."

Article: https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab191

Linked blog: https://ije-blog.com/2021/10/12/could-biomass-fuel-use-perpetuate-the-poverty-trap-through-cardiovascular-disease-and-all-cause-mortality/

5. The Lancet Planetary Health (2020)

"Interaction between Residential Greenness and Air Pollution Mortality: Analysis of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS)."

Article: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30027-9

6. The Lancet Planetary Health (2019)

"Residential Greenness and Mortality in a Cohort of Oldest-Old Women and Men in China."

Article: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(18)30264-X


1. Nature Medicine (2023)

"Building resilience in heatwaves."


2. The Lancet Public Health (2022)

"Air pollution and cardiovascular disease onset: hours, days, or years?"


3. The Lancet Regional Health–Western Pacific (2022)

“Heatwave sears China: Need for actionable climate change adaptation to protect public health’


4. JAMA Network Open (2021)

"Megacity, Microscale Livable Space, and Major Depression."


5. The Lancet Public Health (2019)

"Time for Health to Enter China’s Climate Action Framework."


6. The Lancet Public Health (2018)

"China’s Air Pollution and Ageing Society."



· https://www.bmj.com/about-bmj/editorial-staff

· https://www.thelancet.com/lanwpc/international-advisory-board

· https://www.who.int/groups/technical-advisory-group-on-embedding-ethics-in-health-and-climate-change-policy

· https://www.who.int/about/people/biography/john-s.-ji

· https://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/info/1182/108204.htm

· https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5002-118X

· https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=-lrEs0sAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao