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Nutrition and Metabolic Health

The effects of nutrition quality and availability on metabolic processes not only plays a significant role in the incidence of many serious illnesses, but can drastically influence our general health and wellbeing throughout our lives.

Fruit and vegetables on table with stethoscope

The links between nutrition, metabolism and human health are complex, and our researchers—from basic scientists, human physiologists, clinicians and population health specialists—are working to enhance our understanding of these links.

Our researchers are investigating the associations between diet and sleep, pregnancy, foetal growth and mortality, and serious illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, atherosclerosis, obesity, cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, dental caries, gall bladder disease, dementia and nutritional anaemias. 

Our overarching goal is to develop and validate innovative diets to promote health and wellbeing, and deliver improved health outcomes to the community in a range of areas.

Researchers across the faculty are focused on:

  • determining the effects of modifying diet on metabolic health
  • developing strategies to prevent and manage obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • studying the molecular and cellular basis of appetite regulation
  • understanding immune function and pain-sensing in the gut
  • exploring how nutrition interacts with sleep patterns and metabolic disorders
  • investigating metabolism in liver, muscle, fat tissue and bone tissue
  • understanding nutrition in vulnerable populations such as the elderly, and determining the association between nutritional intake and chronic disease
  • conducting studies longitudinal, large cohort studies to assess associations between diet and chronic diseases.

Our research centres and institutes working in this area

Our research groups working in this area

  • A Research Collaboration for the Health of Women and Babies (Professor Caroline Crowther)
  • Adelaide Geriatrics Training and Research with Aged Care (G-TRAC) Centre (Professor Renuka Visvanathan)
  • Cancer Treatment Toxicities Group (Dr Joanne Bowen)
  • Community Insights in Public Health Research Group (CIPHER) Professor Annette Braunack-Mayer
  • Diabetes Research Group (Professor Jennifer Couper)
  • Gamete and Embryo Biology Group (Dr Michelle Lane)
  • Gastrointestinal Function and Appetite Regulation (Professor Christine Feinle-Bisset)
  • Gastrointestinal Function in Diabetes Mellitus (Professor Christopher Rayner)
  • Gastrointestinal Vagal Afferent Research Group (Professor Amanda Page)
  • GI Neuro-immune Interactions (Dr Patrick Hughes)
  • Health of Pregnant Mothers and Babies (Professor Jodie Dodd)
  • Health Services Research Group (Professor Gary Wittert)
  • Healthy Ageing (Professor Alison Kitson)
  • Heart Rhythm Disorders (Professor Prashanthan Sanders)
  • Intestinal Nutrient Sensing (Dr Richard Young)
  • Lysosomal Diseases Research Unit (Professor Christopher Proud)
  • MAILES - Longitudinal Male Ageing Study (Professor Gary Wittert)
  • Male Uro-Reproductive Health Research Group (Professor Gary Wittert)
  • Obesity and Metabolism Group (Associate Professor Leonie Heilbronn)
  • Ophthalmic Research Laboratory (Professor Robert Casson)
  • Ovarian Cell Biology (Associate Professor Rebecca Robker)
  • Physiology of the Gut (Professor Michael Horowitz)
  • Postprandial Hypotension Group (Professor Karen Jones)
  • Prostate Cancer Research Group (Associate Professor Lisa Butler)
  • Sperm Health Research Group (Professor Michelle Lane)
  • The Health Observatory Group (Professor Robert Adams)

Interested in a postgraduate research degree in this area?

We offer exciting opportunities for researchers at the honours, masters and PhD levels. Our research degrees are open to a broad range of backgrounds, and range from basic sciences to clinical research. If you are interested in human health, consider furthering your research career with us.

Learn more about studying Honours and Higher Degrees by Research