Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.
6 Feb 2019
Professor Nita Gandhi Forouhi, of the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, studies food and nutrition, and how this affects our health. Here she reveals some dietary home truths, the importance of good, solid evidence and her passion for championing equality in science.
Professor Nita Forouhi in the clinical testing area of the MRC Epidemiology Unit, used for taking measurements from participants who attend research studies. [...]
Career in brief
- Medical degree with BSc degree in immunology, Newcastle University
- Junior doctor jobs in Newcastle and Edinburgh
- Four-year Wellcome fellowship in clinical epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
- Specialised in public health in London and Cambridge
- From postdoc to programme leader and professor at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge; honorary consultant public health physician with Public Health England
Continue reading: Working life: Nutrition scientist Nita Forouhi
17 Oct 2018
Checking blood sugar levels
Could we be getting it wrong when avoiding dairy products in a bid to be healthy? That’s what Dr Fumiaki Imamura and Dr Nita Forouhi from the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge hope to find out. Here Fumiaki tells us about their latest research and why it may be time to question the link between high-fat dairy products and conditions like type 2 diabetes.
Many people believe that low-fat dairy products are healthier than high-fat dairy products. Indeed, many public health guidelines recommend low-fat dairy over high-fat dairy. However, our latest research, published in PLOS Medicine, found that people who had higher levels of biomarkers of dairy fat had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Biomarkers are tell-tale molecules in the body that can be measured accurately and consistently, and act as indicators of dietary consumption. [...]
Continue reading: Could dairy products help prevent type 2 diabetes?
30 Jan 2013
Elsie injecting herself with solutions of calcium, magnesium and iron (Reproduced from the book ‘A Scientific Partnership of 60 Years’, available from the British Nutrition Foundation)
Nutrition researcher Elsie Widdowson is one of the most significant figures in the MRC’s history. Here Dr Gail Goldberg, a scientist in the Nutrition and Bone Health Research Group at MRC Human Nutrition Research (MRC HNR) in Cambridge, remembers the legendary researcher, her questioning nature and willingness to use herself — and her colleagues — as guinea pigs.
This year marks the MRC’s Centenary, but it’s also significant for me: it’s 30 years since I began my research career at the MRC Dunn Nutrition Unit in Cambridge.
Nowadays, I imagine that anyone with an interest in nutrition research knows of Elsie Widdowson, but that isn’t always the case; and I can use myself as an example. Just a few days into my new job, I was asked to man the projector for the Dunn’s ‘tea talk’ seminar. In those days speakers used slides, and whoever was in charge of the projector lived in fear of it jamming, or slides being loaded in the wrong order, upside down or back to front.
As I fretted about the projector, a PhD student pointed out an elderly couple in the front row, settled with cups of tea and cakes, and asked me if I knew who they were. I hadn’t a clue, and didn’t want to admit that the names ‘McCance and Widdowson’ meant nothing to me. As a recent graduate, to me the stars of Cambridge were people like Max Perutz — I’d spent much of my final year learning about the structure of haemoglobin. [...]
Continue reading: Tales from the Century: Elsie Widdowson and her eclectic research