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Carmen Piernas

MSc PhD


University Research Lecturer

Nutrition, Obesity, Non-communicable diseases, Epidemiology

I’m a Nutrition scientist and my principal research interests lie in the prevention and management of non-communicable chronic disease through dietary improvements, in particular, obesity and cardiovascular disease. I graduated with a BSc in Biology and MSc Biomedical Sciences from the University of Murcia (Spain) and a PhD in Nutrition and Epidemiology from UNC Chapel Hill (North Carolina, USA). 

I have been a member of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences (University of Oxford) for 6 years during which I have worked to develop a new research program around healthier diet and food purchasing behaviours within the Health Behaviours team (Diet and Population Health). My research aims to improve the nutritional quality of the food purchased in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. I am currently leading a new project “Collaboration for Healthier Lives” to evaluate voluntary initiatives from UK retailers to improve customers diets. This work involves important new cross-cutting collaborations with the food industry (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Consumer Goods Forum), charities (Guys St Thomas, British Heart Foundation) and policymakers (Public Health England) working in this area, as well as multi-disciplinary academic collaborations across nutrition, behavioural science, big data and health geography with the Universities of Leeds, Southampton and Cambridge. I'm currently funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration in Oxford, Theme 1 – Disease prevention through health behaviour change.

In parallel, I have established excellent working collaborations with colleagues at the Nuffield Department of Population Health in Oxford to work with the UK Biobank group. She is leading work using the dietary data to develop a new system of grouping the dietary data and to apply novel methods to investigate dietary patterns which will be made available to the whole UK Biobank community and greatly assist future analyses of diet and health.

I am serving in the Editorial Board of Public Health Nutrition (Cambridge University Press) as Associate Editor since 2019.