Director of Research in Global Public Health Research (part-time)
Global Diet and Physical Activity Research Group
Current work & interests
Nigel has a strong track record in studying the burden, determinants, prevention and control of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and related chronic conditions. This work has been in collaboration with colleagues in the UK, Africa, particularly in Tanzania, Cameroon and South Africa, and the Caribbean. Over the past few years his research interests have broadened in recognition that the long-term prevention of nutrition related diseases is only possible as part of a transition to ecologically sustainable food systems.
His current research aims to understand and intervene on the links between food production and ecosystem and human health i.e. on the links between food production and planetary health. Much of his current work is being undertaken in collaboration with partners in the Caribbean, Pacific and Philippines, in small island settings where the challenges of climate change, food insecurity, and nutrition related diseases are particularly acute.
His current projects, on which he is lead or co-lead, are Intervention Co-creation to Improve Community-based Food Production and Household Nutrition in Small Island Developing States (ICoFaN) (BB/T008857/1) and NIHR Global Health Research Group on Community Food for Human Nutrition and Planetary Health in Small Islands (Global CFaH) (NIHR134663).
Along with his part time (20%) position at the Unit, he is also is a part time (40%) Professor in Public Health and Epidemiology at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter. He maintains a formal connection with University of the West Indies (UWI) as honorary professor of Population Health Sciences at the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre.
Background and experience
Nigel began his academic career at Newcastle University, later becoming professor of epidemiology there. His research at Newcastle included understanding the determinants of NCD risk across ethnic and socio-economic groups, much of which was in collaboration with colleagues in Tanzania, Cameroon, and South Africa. He spent two years as a medical officer at the World Health Organization, and work initiated there included investigating the negative interactions between the epidemics of diabetes and tuberculosis
Between 2010 and 2016 he was a Professor in Public Health at UWI, based at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. His research there included collaborating on the evaluation of national and regional policy responses to NCDs. It was at UWI that he became particularly interested in understanding how food systems are related to the high burdens of nutrition related diseases in the Caribbean and other small islands states. It is an interest in food systems that promote human and planetary health that drives his current research.
Nigel is a fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health and of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He has contributed over many years to the work of World Health Organization’s diabetes group, including on the classification and diagnosis of diabetes, and to diabetes prevalence and mortality estimates of the International Diabetes Federation. His reviewing activities have included membership of various funding panels at Wellcome and the Medical Research Council, and he is currently a faculty member for the MRC Applied Global Health panel.