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Our CoRE Team

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Professor Stanley Ulijaszek

Director | Anthropology

Professor Stanley Ulijasezek is Professor of Human Ecology within the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. His research interests include patterns of human growth and development as markers of well-being, the relationships between nutrition and reproduction in tropical seasonal environments, and the effects of economic modernisation on nutritional health. He has carried out research in India, Nepal, Sarawak, Bangladesh and the Cook Islands, and maintains ongoing research in Papua New Guinea and Poland.


Dr. Caroline Potter

Deputy Director | Medical Anthropology and Population Health

Dr Caroline Potter is a medical anthropologist based at the Health Services Research Unit within the Nuffield Department of Population Health. Within UBVO Caroline has analysed national UK birth cohort data to explore the historical onset of obesity across the life course. She is currently researching the potential use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) for managing long-term health conditions including diabetes and other illnesses associated with obesity.


Dr. Karin Eli

Deputy Director | Anthropology

Dr Karin Eli is a Senior Research Fellow at Warwick Medical School, where her work focuses on clinical decision making in critical care. She is also a Research Associate at the SOAS Food Studies Centre and at the University of Oxford’s School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, where she continues her long-standing research on eating disorders and childhood obesity, with particular focus on Israel, the UK, the US, and Sweden. Karin approaches eating disorders and obesity as multi-level biocultural conditions, and studies them on the micro-scale of narrative and lived experience as well as the macro-scale of policy and socioeconomic structures. She collaborates extensively across disciplines, and has published in numerous anthropological, clinical, and interdisciplinary journals.



Dr. Amy McLennan 

Anthropology and Policy

Dr Amy McLennan is a Research Fellow at the 3A Institute of the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. She is an experienced senior policy analyst, having previously worked in the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the South Australian Department of Health. She recent experience with Australian design consultance ThinkPlace Global. Her research includes fieldwork on obesity and non-communicable diseases in the Pacific Islands,  and collaborative projects which focus on food, health policy, loneliness, non-communicable diseases, digital health and anatomical sciences.

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Dr Zofia Boni 

Sociology and Anthropology

Zofia Boni is a social anthropologist and sociologist, Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. She studies moral economies and affective politics of children's food. She has conducted ethnographic research on the social dynamics of childhood obesity in Poland. Her research and teaching focuses on the anthropologies of food, body, health and environment, with a particular attention to young people’s lived experiences and their own embodied perspectives on fatness and health. She collaborates across disciplines, with an interest in childhood obesity as a biosocial phenomenon.

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Professor Harry Rutter

Public Health

Professor Harry Rutter is Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Bath. He was the founding Director of the National Obesity Observatory 2007-2011, and remains its strategic and scientific advisor. He led the establishment of the Department of Health National Child Measurement Programme, and was a core contributor to the WHO Health Economic Assessment Tool for Walking and Cycling. He has a broad interest in the relationships between transport, the built environment and health, in particular the health impacts of walking and cycling.

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Dr. Tess Bird

Medical and Visual Anthropology

Dr Tess Bird is a medical and visual anthropologist interested in uncertainty, wellbeing and happiness, futures making, obesity and nutrition, and the material culture of the home. As a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for Writing in the Social Sciences at Wesleyan University, she is developing writing and teaching tools for the social sciences that draw from her research and practice with uncertainty.


Professor Michele Belot


Michèle Belot is Professor of Economics at Cornell University and has been interested in understanding how one can support the formation of healthier dietary habits among children, and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Her work applies insights from behavioral economics to design interventions. These interventions are then evaluated with randomized controlled trials. Examples of interventions include the use of small incentives to taste fruit and vegetables at school, access to mindfulness training programs or access to food baskets and recipes to prepare healthy meals. The evidence from these studies shows that behavioral change is challenging, but is easier and more effective at younger ages.  

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Professor Kaushik Bose


Professor Kaushik Bose is Head of the Department of Anthropology at Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, India. His work has focused on chronic disease risk among South Asians, initially in the United Kingdom and subsequently in his native West Bengal. He has researched obesity in India since 2001, showing that it is of increasing concern not only for the urban middle classes, but also for rural populations.

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Professor Slawomir Koziel 

Biological Anthropology

Dr Slawomir Koziel is Director, Polish Academy of Sciences, Anthropology Unit in Wroclaw. A biological anthropologist, his work involves mathematical modelling and statistical analysis of large anthropometric datasets, particularly with respect to changing patterns of physical growth and development of children and emergence of obesity  across periods of socio-political and economic change.

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Professor Paulina Nowicka 

Food Studies

Paulina Nowicka is Professor of Food Studies, Nutrition and Dietetics, especially Communication of Dietetics, at Uppsala University. Working across the medical and the social sciences, the projects she leads investigate how lifestyle patterns develop across generations what type of childhood obesity interventions are effective in clinical settings and how to promote communication about obesity that validates the experiences of people and communities. Her research is inspired by experiences at the Childhood Obesity Unit at the Pediatric Hospital in Malmö, Sweden, where she worked for almost a decade as a clinician. She has served on many expert committees and boards such as Childhood Obesity Task Force of the European Association for the Study on Obesity (EASO), European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG) and Swedish Association for the Study on Obesity (SFO).

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Dr Michelle Pentecost 

Medical Anthropology

Michelle Pentecost is a physician-anthropologist working at the intersections of medicine, public health, anthropology, and medical education. She is Lecturer in Global Health and Social Medicine in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Kings College London. Her anthropological research sits at the intersections of medical anthropology and science and technology studies within anthropology’s growing corpus of critical studies of global health, including critical analysis of ‘the first thousand days’ approaches to childhood health and nutrition.

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Dr. Tanja Schneider

Sociology and Marketing Practices

Tanja Schneider is Permanent Lecturer in sociology at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. Her research interests focus on Science and Technology Studies, the Sociology of Consumption and the Sociology and Anthropology of Food.

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Dr. Anne Katrine Kleberg Hansen


Dr. Kleberg Hansen, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, Copenhagen, is an historian whose research involves exploring concepts and perceptions of fatness in Western European medicine between 1700 and 1900. Within this, she examines how both historians and contemporary scientists rely on historical narratives when making sense of the notion of an epidemic of fat bodies in present-day society.


Professor Megan Warin

Social Anthropology

Megan Warin is a social anthropologist and Professor in the School of Social  Sciences, University of Adelaide, Australia. Her teaching and research interests coalesce around the gendering of health and illness, the embodiment of food and memory, public understanding of scientific paradigms of obesity, and social theories.


Dr. Steve Allender

Public Health

Professor Steve Allender, Deakin University, Australia, has an ongoing program of research on the burden of disease and obesity prevention. Recent work has seen a particular interest in the emerging burden of chronic disease in developing countries and the possibilities for using complex systems methodologies in community based interventions. Further work is in the development and understanding of community based approaches to chronic disease prevention. He is Deputy Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University and a member of the Oxford Health Alliance, University of Oxford.

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Professor John Komlos


Professor John Komlos is Visiting Professor of Economics, Duke University, and formerly Professor of Economics at the University of Munich. He was instrumental in the emergence of anthropometric history, the study of the effect of economic development on human biological outcomes, including obesity. He is Founding Editor of the journal Economics and Human Biology.


Dr. Anna Lavis

Medical Anthropology

Dr Anna Lavis is a Medical Anthropologist working as a Research Fellow on the SUPEREDEN Project in the School of Health and Population Sciences at the University of Birmingham. This explores young people’s experiences of a first episode of psychosis and of its treatment in England. With a shared interest in individuals’ subjectivities of mental illness, Anna’s doctoral thesis drew on ethnographic fieldwork in an English eating disorders inpatient unit and on pro-anorexia websites to investigate pro-anorexia, a desire to maintain their illness amongst anorexics. Leading to a thesis entitled “The Boundaries of a Good Anorexic: Exploring Pro-Anorexia on the Internet and in the Clinic”, this research was undertaken at Goldsmiths, University of London. It was funded by the ESRC and won a 2010 Radcliffe-Brown Sutasoma award from the Royal Anthropological Institute. As a Research Associate in the Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity, Anna is primarily collaborating on the project currently exploring obesity, eating disorders and the media.

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Professor Devi Sridhar

Global Health

Professor Devi Sridhar is Professor of Global Health at the University of Edinburgh. She is Founding Director of the Global Health Governance Programme, especially in relation to COVID-19 and pandemic preparedness.  


Professor Helene Shugart


Professor Helene Shugart is Professor of Communication at the University of Utah. She has conducted extensive research into the ways that the media frame obesity at both the level of the population and the individual.

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Professor Kaspar Staub

History, Epidemiology, Evolutionary Medicine

Kaspar Staub is an expert in History, Epidemiology, and Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zurich (UZH). Since 2014, he has built-up and headed the research group "Anthropometry and Historical Epidemiology" there. He is a faculty member of the Swiss School of Public Health, a member of the Crisis Competence Centre of the UZH, and a Lecturer at the Institute of History at the University of Bern. His research focusses on the interactions between human health and the changing environment during the last 200 years. Among others, he looks at changes in body shape at various ages, with obesity playing a central role, as well as analysing recent trends and monitoring data in this area.  

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Professor Maciej Henneberg

Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy

Professor Maciej Henneberg is the Wood Jones Professor of Anthropological and Comparative Anatomy at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, where he is Head of the Department of Anatomical Sciences. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Comparative Human Biology, HOMO, and heads the Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit (BACARU) at the University of Adelaide.

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Professor Avner Offer 


Professor Avner Offer is former Chichele Professor of Economic History and Fellow of All Souls College and the British Academy. Over the past decade his main interest has been in post-war economic growth, particularly in affluent societies, and the challenges that this affluence presents to well-being. His recent book The Challenge of Affluence: Self-control and Well-being in the United States and Britain since 1950 applies a dynamic framework of myopic choice to explain emergent social trends, including obesity, within these two countries.

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Professor Mike Rayner

Public Health 

Professor Mike Rayner is Director of the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, which he founded in 1994. From 1986 to 1993 he was Senior Research Officer for the Coronary Prevention Group – at the time the leading national voluntary organisation concerned with the prevention of coronary heart disease – and he is currently Chair of the Nutrition Expert Group of the European Heart Network. His research focuses on the development of public interventions to improve diet and activity levels in the UK, with particular emphasis on food labelling, food pricing, and the marketing of foods to children.


Dr. Frederick Karpe

Metabolic Medicine

Fredrik Karpe is Professor of Metabolic Medicine, Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Oxford, and Director of Oxford BioBank. His research is directed at understanding human adipose tissue function and the effects of obesity on metabolism. The links between body fat distribution (across the upper and lower body) and diabetes and cardiovascular disease are of especial interest. His research group is working on clarifying the nature and extent of protection that lower body adipose tissue confers against these chronic diseases, especially the detrimental role of adipose tissue around the abdomen, by studying these tissues at both cellular and whole body level.

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Professor Tim Key


Professor Tim Key is the Deputy Unit Director for Oxford’s Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit. His main interests are the roles of diet and hormones in the aetiology of cancer, particularly cancers of the breast, prostate and colon. He is the principal investigator for EPIC-Oxford and the chairman of the EPIC prostate cancer working group. Additionally, he serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.

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