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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr Emma Louise Giles (Fisher) was awarded her PhD from Newcastle University in 2010. Her PhD explored the links between diet, alcohol, and physical activity in young adults, focusing on social marketing as a method to achieve lifestyle behaviour change.

She joined the School of Health and Life Sciences (formerly School of Health and Social Care) in April 2015 as Senior Research Lecturer in Public Health, and as of August 2023 is a Professor of Integrating Physical and Mental Health.

She is a peer reviewer for several high profile journals including Journal of the American Medical Association, PLOS One, and Appetite, and is Associate Editor for BMC Public Health and PLOS ONE. Emma is also an NIHR Research for Patient Benefit NE and Yorkshire Funding Reviewer Panel Member. She is also part of UKRI's peer review college.

Emma is a member of the School of Health and Life Sciences Research Ethics and Governance Committee and is a Teesside University Mental Health Champion. She also leads the Centre for Public Health in the School of Health and Life Sciences.

She is also a Fellow of Advance HE (formerly The Higher Education Academy), a none-clinical member of The British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and an Alliance member of the British Dietetic Association.

Emma is also Speciality Group Lead for Public Health for the NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria. She was also recently awarded Membership by Distinction of the Faculty of Public Health in July 2023. 

Currently she supervises 11 PhD and Master's students based at Teesside University. She is available to act as an internal and external PhD examiner.

Summary of Research Interests

Emma’s research interests are primarily in the areas of: Mental and physical health related to diet-related long term health conditions (e.g. food allergy, obesity), wider determinants of health (e.g. food insecurity), and designing health systems that provide seamless and accessible health care. Methodological expertise is particularly in qualitative research, systematic reviews, co-production and peer research.  

Research Projects & External Funding

Current Projects

Increasing accessibility of affordable healthy foods to adults living with severe mental illness in Middlesbrough (2023-2024)

Principal Investigator: Prof Amelia Lake, Joe Dunne, Jo Smith 

Funder: NIHR Programme Development Grant

Preventing 'Adult Not Brought' (2022-2023)

Principal Investigator: Jill Barker 

Funder: TU Seedcorn funding and unfunded

Diet quality in adults with severe mental illness (2023)

Principal Investigator: Dr Emma Giles, Jo Smith, Steph Sloan 

Funder: TU Seedcorn funding 

Person Centred Cancer Screening (PECCS) (2022-2023)

Principal Investigator: Jill Barker and Dr Kate Byrnes



Previous Projects

Food Insecurity in those with severe mental illness (2021-2023)

Principal Investigator: Dr Emma Giles and Jo Smith (TEWV NHS FT)

Funder: NIHR Research for Patient Benefit

Long term health conditions

Principal Investigator: Dr Emma Giles and Jill Barker 

Funder: Learning Disability Network North East and North Cumbria

Children and Young People Tier 2 Weight Management evaluation (2020-2021)

Principal Investigator: Dr Emma Giles

Funder: Gloucestershire County Council

Understanding the impact of physical activity levels within the North East of England during COVID-19 lockdowns (2020-2021)

Research Team: Dr Emma Giles, Dr Alison Innerd, Dr Natalie Connor, Dr Michael Graham

Funder: Unfunded

System-level analysis of MECC implementation across the North East and Cumbria: A comparative study of delivery models, service reach and system relationships (2021-2022)

Principal Investigator: Dr Angela Rodrigues

Co-Applicant: Dr Emma Giles et al.


A scoping review of food poverty in adults with severe mental illness (2020-2021)

Principal Investigator: Jo Smith

Research Team: Dr Emma Giles, Heidi Stevens, Prof. Amelia Lake

Funder: Unfunded

Understanding the treat culture in secure mental inpatient units (2020-2021)

Principal Investigator: Anita Atalla

Co-Applicants: Dr Emma Giles, Jo Smith

Funder: CNTW NHS FT and NIHR New Investigator Awards Scheme

Understanding use of the NBMI CLiP - A Weight off Your Mind (2021-2022)

Principal Investigator: Dr Emma Giles

Co-Leads: Dr Lauren Bussey, Jo Smith


Modelling financial incentives to motivate pregnant smokers to quit - using Evolutionary Game Theory (2020-2022)

Principal Investigator: Dr Susan Jones

Co-Leads: Dr Emma Giles, Professor Falko Sniethotta


Developing an audit tool for mapping training for suicide and self-harm (2021)

Principal Investigator: Jill Barker

Project Manager: Dr Emma Giles

Funder: North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network

NHS 111 Mental Health Support Service Evaluation (2020)

Principal Investigator: Jill Barker

Project Manager: Dr Emma Giles


A scoping review of the evidence on suicide and self-harm training (2020)

Principal Investigator: Jill Barker

Project Manager: Dr Emma Giles

Funder: North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network

Lifestyle Interventions following Breast Cancer Treatment: A Systematic Review (2020)

Principal Investigator: Dr Grant McGeechan

Funder: Unfunded

Physical Activity, Health and Community Evidence: essential data to inform the initial stage of Intervention Mapping; Local Activity Pilot (2018-2019)

Principal Investigator: Dr Liane Azevedo

Funder: Sport England

A multi-centre individual-randomised controlled trial of screening and brief alcohol intervention to prevent risky drinking in young people aged 14-15 in a high school setting (SIPS JR-HIGH) (2015-2018)

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dorothy Newbury-Birch

Project Manager: Dr Emma L Giles

Co-investigators: Kings College London, The University of Kent, Liverpool John Moore's University, Newcastle University.

Funder: NIHR PHR

Measuring change from alcohol brief interventions: Development of a consensus core outcome set (2016-2018)

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dorothy Newbury-Birch

Co-investigators: Dr Emma L Giles, Prof. Aisha Holloway, Prof. Jeremy Bray, Prof. Anne Berman, Dr Gillian Shorter, Dr Amy O'Donnell

Funder: ALRUCK

A pilot study to explore the feasibility and efficacy of the BeeZee Bodies/Healum App (2017-2018)

Principal Investigator: Dr Louisa Ells

Co-investigators: Dr Emma L Giles, Dr Liane Azevedo, Healum

Funder: Healum

Evaluating the North Yorkshire Healthy Choices tier 2 weight management programme for children and young people aged 5-19 years (2017-2018)

Principal Investigator: Dr Louisa Ells

Co-investigators: Dr Emma L Giles, Dr Liane Azevedo

Funder: North Yorkshire County Council

Socio-ecological influences on adolescent alcohol use and linked unhealthy eating behaviours (2016-2018)

Principal Investigator: Dr Stephanie Scott

Co-investigators: Dr Emma L Giles, Dr Louisa Ells, Dr France Hillier-Brown

Funder: Fuse, The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health

A systematic review of alcohol interventions for people living with and beyond cancer (2017)

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dorothy Newbury-Birch

Co-investigators: Dr Emma L Giles, Dr Grant McGeechan

Funder: Alcohol Research UK

Children and young people: Alcohol study (2016-2017)

Principal Investigator: Dr Emma L Giles

Co-investigators: Prof. Dorothy Newbury-Birch, Dr Grant McGeechan, Balance (North East Alcohol Office)

Funder: NHS - Balance

Financial incentives for health behaviours (2012-2015)

Principal Investigator: Dr Jean Adams

Researcher: Dr Emma L Giles

Advisors: Prof. Elaine McColl, Prof. Falko Sniehotta

Funder: NIHR

Older People and Dietary Behaviours (2010-2011)

Principal Investigator: Dr Sharron Kuznesof

Co-investigators: Dr Emma L Giles

Funder: Newcastle University

PhD and Research Opportunities

Emma currently supervises the following postgraduate research students.


1. Ajay Kamalpriya (PhD), 2020-2024: ‘e-health to promote oral health’ (2nd supervisor)

2. Amala Okolo (Doctorate in Public Health), 2020-2025: ‘Physical activity and the impact of COVID in BAME communities’ (3rd supervisor)

3. Jo Smith (PhD), 2022-2028, Food Insecurity in those with severe mental illness (DoS)

4. Heidi Stevens (PhD), 2022-2028, Exploring healthy hubs (DoS)

5. Rachel McKnight (PhD), 2022-2025, The impact of long COVID-19 on physical and mental health and the use of physical activity to aid recovery (3rd supervisor)

6. Alexandra Carne (PhD), 2021-2025, Managing pain in older people with mental health problems (3rd supervisor)

7. Robyn Hargreaves, (MRes), Comparing gastric sleeves, secondary data analysis (DoS).

8. Anita Attala, (MRes), Exploring dietitain views on supporting people living with obesity and severe mental illness (DoS).

Awaiting Viva/Corrections

1. Phil Watson (Professional Doctorate), 2017- 2023: ‘The role of the social work practice educator in promoting poverty informed practice (Director of Studies)

2. Sarit Carlebach (PhD PT), 2013-2023: 'Exploring the barriers and facilitators to policy implementation within the context of time.” (2nd supervisor)

3. Rosie Dawson (Doctorate in Public Health), 2020-2024: ‘Exercise interventions for infertility and in preparation for pregnancy - a Mixed Methods study’ (2nd supervisor)

PhD Students Supervised to Completion

Dr Gillian Milton (PhD). Supervised by Prof. Newbury-Birch (DoS), Dr Tracy Finch, Dr Emma Giles (3rd supervisor), 2015-2018: ‘Embedding interventions into public health within a changing landscape’. Completed 2018.

Dr Siobhan Taylor (PhD). Supervised by Dr Susy Cook (DoS), Dr Emma Giles (3rd supervisor), Prof. Robert McSherry, ‘How does Lean work in healthcare?’ Completed 2019.

Dr Daniel Jones (Graduate Tutor): Second supervisor 2016-2020 ‘Exploring physical activity interventions in preschool children’ (PhD). Awarded 2021.

Dr Jennifer Teke Epse Che: Third supervisor 2013-2021 ‘Exploring barriers, facilitators and marketing strategies for weight management programmes for BME communities in Medway’ (Doctorate in Public Health).

Dr Kate Byrnes (Graduate Tutor). Supervised by Dr Emma Giles (DoS), Dr Grant McGeechan, Prof. Sharon Hamilton, 2017-2021: ‘Behaviour change interventions to increase uptake of cancer screening initiatives in those with learning disabilities’. 

Dr Abimbola Ojo: Second supervisor 2013-2021 ‘Promotion of healthy food in the fight against obesity: exploring the perception, beliefs, understanding, and practice of healthy eating among Black Africans in the South-East London, England’ (Doctorate in Public Health).

MSc Students Supervised to Completion

Kerry Derbyshire, (MSc Dietetics), Food insecurity assessment tools for adults with severe mental illness: a systematic review (Joint DoS).

Matthew Youngman, (MSc Dietetics), Food insecurity in families with children or young people with autism: a systematic review (Joint DoS).

External Roles and Professional Activities

Emma is an Associate Member of Fuse, The Centre for Translational Research, a member of the Food Nutrition Group of the British Sociological Association. Through Fuse, Emma is also a member of the National Institute for Health Research funded School for Public Health Research. She is a deputy lead for the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration NENC theme for integrating physical health, mental health, and social care.

Emma is co-lead for the Behaviour Change Research Theme, as part of Fuse, and is Chair of the North East Obesity Forum. She is also co-deputy lead for the Centre for Public Health Research at Teesside University, and a Staff Mental Health Champion at Teesside University.

Emma is an External Examiner for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University (2019-2024).

External Research Collaborations

  • Newcastle University
  • Durham University
  • Northumbria University
  • The University of Cambridge
  • Kings College London
  • The University of Kent
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • The University of Lincoln
  • The University of Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
  • Karoline Institute, Sweden
  • RTI, North Caroline, USA
  • University of New South Wales, Australia

Enterprise Interest and Activities

Emma has recently authored a chapter in a book titled ‘Co-creating and Co-producing Research Evidence: A Guide for Practitioners and Academics in Health, Social Care and Education Settings’. 


Learning and Teaching Interests and Activities

Emma contributes to teaching within the School of Health and Life Sciences as a guest lecturer for the Doctorate in Public Health, and the MSc in Clinical Research.

She is also a guest lecturer in the School of Social Science, Humanities and Law, on contemporary issues in health psychology.


Academic Responsibilities

University level:

  • Postgraduate Assessment Board Member, Teesside University: September 2017 to October 2020.
  • Human Resources Available Panel Member for Interviews: April 2015 to present

School level:

  • Research & Innovation Sub-Committee Member, Teesside University: June 2017 to present
  • Postgraduate Tutor School of Health and Life Science, Teesside University: September 2017 to October 2020
  • Ethics and Research Governance Member, School of Health and Life Sciences, Teesside University: July 2017 to present
  • School of Health and Life Sciences Athena Swan member: September 2019 to present


Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Young Adults and Healthy Lifestyles: Food, Alcohol and Physical Activity - A Total Lifestyle Approach, Newcastle University

16 Oct 200630 Sept 2009

Award Date: 30 Sept 2009

Bachelor, BA(Hons) Marketing and Management, Newcastle University

Award Date: 9 Jul 2005

External positions

External Examiner MSc Public Health, Northumbria University

1 Aug 201931 Dec 2023

Fellow, Higher Education Academy


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