The Unit has seven Medical Research Council core-funded programmes of research, ranging from the aetiology and mechanisms of diabetes and related metabolic disorders, through nutritional and physical activity epidemiology, to prevention-focused programmes in young people and adult populations. These are reviewed and funded on a five year basis. We completely our most recent five year funding review in 2020.
We also have a number of departmental programmes supported by a range of funders in areas including public health modelling, global public health, interventions in patient populations and the measurement of diet, nutrition and physical activity.
- Read more about the structure of our research programmes, how they work together to serve our objectives.
Medical Research Council funded programmes
Aetiology and Mechanisms of Diabetes and Related Metabolic Disorders of Later Life – Nick Wareham & Claudia Langenberg
- Studies the association of genes with type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders.
- Examines how these associations are modified by environmental factors, such as diet and physical activity.
Early Life Aetiology and Mechanisms of Diabetes and Related Metabolic Disorders – Ken Ong & John Perry
- Identifies trajectories of childhood growth and reproductive timing that are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and related metabolic diseases.
- Studies the mechanisms that underlie these trajectories in order to inform early life preventive strategies.
Nutritional Epidemiology – Nita Forouhi
- Investigates the role that diet and nutrition play in the risk of developing diabetes, obesity and obesity-related disorders
- Develops and uses improved methods of assessment of diet.
Physical Activity Epidemiology – Søren Brage
- Investigates how physical activity and sedentary behaviour affects the health of people across their lifespan.
- Develops and evaluates different methods for assessing physical activity in epidemiological studies.
Behavioural Epidemiology and Interventions in Young People – Esther van Sluijs
- Investigates physical activity behaviour in young people with the aim of developing and evaluating interventions to promote physical activity.
- Uses observational research to further understand where, when and how physical activity interventions in young people may be targeted.
- Translates knowledge gained from epidemiological studies into action to prevent diabetes, obesity and related metabolic disorders in high risk groups.
- Assesses the effectiveness of different approaches to prevent these conditions and their complications.
Population Health Interventions – David Ogilvie, Martin White, Jean Adams
- Investigates upstream determinants of dietary and physical activity behaviour.
- Evaluates interventions aimed at shifting the population distribution of diet and physical activity to improve population health.
Departmental programmes and initiatives
Innovation in the Measurement of Diet, Physical Activity and Nutrition – Kirsten Rennie, Emanuella De Lucia Rolfe, Polly Page, Albert Koulman
- Adopts and translates methods developed by the Unit MRC funded programmes and others into scalable, validated, quality-assured measures suitable for a range of research purposes and settings
- Disseminates methodological advances, tools and processes for use in local, national and international research and in clinical settings.
Diet and Physical Activity Interventions in Patient Populations – Kirsten Rennie, Linda Oude Griep
- Provides a coordinated programme for the routine assessment of diet, physical activity and nutrition to support patient care.
- Develops and evaluates diet and physical activity scalable and feasible interventions for patient groups in clinical settings
Public Health Modelling – James Woodcock
- Uses simulation modelling methods to help us answer questions that no single empirical study can answer.
- Estimates longer term and population wide health benefits, harms and trade-offs; and uses data to develop informative ‘what if’ scenarios to understand potential for change and inform policy and intervention development.
Global Diet and Activity Research Group and Network (GDAR) – www.gdarnet.org
Funded through the NIHR Global Health Research initiative
- An international research partnership to help combat poor diet and physical inactivity in order to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.
- Partners in the GDAR network include Universities in South Africa, Cameroon, Kenya and the West Indies.
More about our work in Global Public Health research at www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/research/global-public-health/
Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) – www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk
- Originally established as one of five UKCRC Public Health Research Centres of Excellence, draws on work from across our programmes.
- Studies the population-level influences on what we eat and how much physical activity we do.
- Develops and evaluates public health interventions, and helps to shape public health practice and policy.