Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Our impact

Enabling scientific discoveries that improve public health

Data drives discovery. UK Biobank’s unique, biomedical database – the largest, most detailed and openly accessible research resource of its kind – is enabling the global research community to make scientific discoveries that improve public health.

Here you can find case studies of how UK Biobank is helping scientists and researchers to evolve our understanding of human health and the most common life-threatening diseases.

We reflected on UK Biobank’s impact over the last 20 years and looked ahead to what the future holds for this incredible research resource, watch the video celebrating 20 years of UK Biobank on this page.


UK Biobank is changing the way we do science

It took us almost 15 years to MRI scan and analyse 3-4,000 people at the Robert Steiner MRI, took the UK Biobank only a matter of months to do this and more. #revolutionisingscience

The fight against sepsis

Researchers around the world are finding imaginative ways to use the UK Biobank database. A research group in Vancouver have put UK Biobank data on cholesterol to work to target blood poisoning, a medical emergency responsible for millions of deaths a year. 

Read more

Imitating protective genes to prevent obesity

Through the release of the largest exome dataset in the world, UK Biobank is providing a highly valuable resource for disease research and therapeutic drug development, enabling scientists to pinpoint disease-causing and rare genetic variants. 

Read more

Spotting dementia earlier

Dementia affects many millions of people a year around the world. The wealth of data in UK Biobank, such as cognitive function tests, genetics, and imaging, is providing researchers with the opportunity to spot dementia before symptoms appear. 

Read more

Celebrating 15 years of UK Biobank

Here we celebrate the long association between UK Biobank, a unique biomedical database, and NDPH researchers, and the increasingly powerful methods helping to answer the most important questions about human health and disease. With credit to NDPH.

Read more

A cornerstone to discovery science

UK Biobank has elevated UK Life Sciences and fuelled an era of unprecedented scientific discovery that continues to improve decision making across our R&D pipeline, helping us accelerate the discovery and delivery of transformational therapies for patients.

Sir Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca

Accelerating discovery to help manage a global pandemic

UK Biobank has provided the global research community with an unprecedented opportunity to study clinical and genetic factors that affect the outcome and spread of COVID-19. Through linkage to health records during the pandemic, undertaking antibody data collection, and conducting the world's only repeat imaging study for the investigation of SARs-CoV-2,  we have facilitated novel findings to emerge that have influenced health policy (most notably the UK Government’s reporting on the differential impact of the virus on minority ethnic groups). 

Over 800 international research groups have accessed the resource for COVID-19 research, generating over 250 published scientific papers in the public domain. The vast range of expertise already being applied to UK Biobank data means that these data have helped to develop strategies to address the pandemic and to further our understanding of the long-term effects of the virus. 

Crucial coronavirus research

It’s vital we learn as much as possible about the infection, both for the short and the longer term, this new research will tell us about key risk factors and help us continue to manage the outbreak in an evidence-based way.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser

Understanding immunity to COVID-19 


UK Biobank conducted a research study to understand how long antibody levels persist after infection with COVID-19. This study provides vital data to the international research community to assist in managing the pandemic. 


The study determines the rates of infection in people from different parts of the country according to age, sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status and monitoring how these rates change over time. Among people found to have been infected, we have also assessed how long antibodies remain in the body to help understand the potential for immunity. These data will be added to the UK Biobank database and research resource, enabling scientists globally to conduct further research into how SARS-CoV-2 infection affects health over the longer-term.


This research is unique in monitoring antibody levels over time, contributing to our scientific knowledge of immunity after infection. Through the wealth of data UK Biobank holds on its participants, the global research community will also be able to investigate how genetic, lifestyle, and existing medical conditions affect the severity of this virus on one group over another. 


Read the results

Last updated