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
- 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 and dietary behaviour in young people with the aim of developing and evaluating interventions to promote and maintain physical activity and a healthy diet.
- Uses observational research to further understand where, when and how physical activity and diet 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
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
Measurement Platform – Polly Page, Albert Koulman, Kirsten Rennie, Ema De Luica Rolfe
The specialist functions relating to the measurement of diet, nutrition, physical activity and anthropometry are integrated into the Measurement Platform. This provides expertise and capacity to support research groups and studies both internal and external to the Unit.
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 Physical Activity Research Group – Tolullah Oni
- Generates evidence on the factors that lead to poor diet and physical inactivity in low and middle income countries, particularly in an urban setting.
- Co-designs, co-produces and evaluates interventions in built and food environments that can support healthy eating and active living in cities globally.