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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Professor Louisa Ells joined the University in May 2012 as Reader in Public Health and Obesity. She is a member of the Department of Women’s, Children’s and Public Health, and co-leads the digital and creative economy grand challenge. She is also a specialist advisor to Public Health England, an invited expert for the NICE Centre for Guidelines, and sits on the European Association for the Study of Obesity Nutrition working group. She is also delighted to have been appointed as an adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina, Greenboro in the USA.

Louisa has specialised in obesity research for the past two decades, working across academia, policy and practice, having previously worked at the North East Public Health Observatory and was a founding member of the National Obesity Observatory (now part of Public Health England). Louisa runs a highly applied research group at Teesside, finding research solutions to address real world problems. She has a particular interest in co-production, community engagement, systematic reviewing, social policy, service evaluations, and developing cross sector innovative approaches to public health priorities. She has worked on projects with a combined income exceeding £2million, and has a strong publication record and established network of international collaborations spanning Europe, USA and Australia.

Summary of Research Interests

Louisa's research interests focus on the management of obesity, public health policy, service evaluation, systematic reviewing and the development of novel tools to support public health, with a strong emphasis on multi-disciplinary cross sector collaboration, co-production, public involvement and research translation.

Current and recently completed projects include:

  •  Working in co-production with least heard coommunities, to understand research priorities and develop community led research programmes.

  • Completing a Cochrane review series examining treatment interventions for children and adolescents with overweight and obesity.
  • Completing a scoping review exploring the evidence base for tier 3 weight management services for adults and children.
  • Completing a series of reviews exploring the effectiveness of fasting interventions for weight management in adults.
  • Completing the fiscal and marketing evidence reviews to support the PHE sugar reduction: from evidence into action.
  • Evaluating the North Yorkshire tier 2 weight management service for adults, and children and young people.
  • Randomised controlled trials to understand how can we help parents recognise unhealthy body weight in their children.
  • A programme of work examining the relationship between pain and obesity.
  • Developing e-health weight management programmes for children aged 4-11 years.
  • Examining how weight status changes during primary school.
  • Developing and evaluating the impact of a local sugar taxation and marketing policy.

Research Projects & External Funding


  • Understanding the effectiveness and underlying mechanisms of lifestyle modification interventions in adults with learning disabilities. NIHR HTA Awarded September 2019 (Co-Applicant)
  • Piloting a consistent evidence-based messaging approach for health care professionals to support conversations on healthier weight before, during and after pregnancy. PHE Awarded August 2019 (Principal Investigator)
  • Can embedding the MapMe intervention, a tool to improve parental acknowledgement and understanding of childhood overweight and obesity, in the National Child Measureme. Programme lead to improved long term child weight outcomes at one year? NIHR PHR Awarded July 2019 (Co-Applicant)
  • Mapping childhood wellbeing policies.  School for Public Health Research Awarded February 2019 (Principal Investigator)
  •  NHS health check case studies Awarded December 2018 (Co-Applicant)
  • Bump to Buggy. Sport England Awarded March 2018 (Co-Applicant)
  • Evaluating the North Yorkshire tier 2 child weight management service. North Yorkshire County Council Awarded August 2017 (Principal Investigator)
  • Developing core outcome measures for lifestyle weight management programmes by expert consensus. Chief Scientist Office Catalytic Research Grant. Awarded April 2017 (Co-Applicant)
  • Mental health and weight management: PHE pump prime fund. PHE Awarded April 2017 (Principal Investigator)
  • Translating weight management commissioning blueprints through design and animation. PHE. Awarded Feb 2017 (Co-Applicant)
  • Interventions for the treatment of childhood overweight and obesity: evidence review work for the WHO Awarded October 2016 (Principal Investigator)
  • Exploring the evidence base for tier 3 weight management services for adults and children: a scoping review underpinned by qualitative case studies. Public Health England: Awarded 2016 (Co-Applicant)
  • Evaluating the Hartlepool weight management infographic. Institute of Local Governance. Awarded 2015 (Principal Investigator)
  • Evaluating the North Yorkshire tier 2 adult weight management service. North Yorkshire County Council Awarded 2015 (Principal Investigator)
  • An evaluability assessment for the North Yorkshire tier 2 child weight management service. North Yorkshire County Council Awarded 2015 (Principal Investigator)
  • Public Health England: Rapid reviews on the impact of marketing and fiscal measures on sugar consumption. Awarded 2014 (single tender action) (Academic Principal Investigator)
  • Public Health England: A rapid review and discussion of the process and impact of routine parental feedback of child weight measures 2014 (Principal investigator)

PhD and Research Opportunities

I have a number of current and completed PhD students working in the field of public health.

I would be interested in hearing from potential students who wish to carry out a PhD around any of the topic areas described above.

External Roles and Professional Activities

  • Invited speaker at the European Congress on Obesity Glasgow 2019
  • Invited speaker at the European Congress on Obesity Vienna 2018
  • Invited speaker on the European Association for the Study of Obesity Train the Trainer course (France, July 2017, 2018, 2019) and New Investigators programme (Spain 2018)
  • Invited speaker on the European Association for the Study of Obesity Train the Trainer course (Malta, April 2017)
  • Invited speaker at WHO seminar (Geneva, December 2016)
  • Public Health Advisory Committee member for the preparation of NICE guidance NG7
  • Editorial board member for the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity
  •  Editorial board member for PLoSONE
  • Guest Editor for Health Care supplement
  • National Child Measurement Programme board member
  • Funding peer reviewer (recent reviews for NIHR , MRC and Cancer Research UK)
  • Peer reviewer for numerous journals including the Lancet, obesity reviews, IJO, Public Health, JBI
  • External PhD examiner
  • Associate member of Fuse: www.fuse.ac.uk

External Research Collaborations


  • Newcastle University, Australia (Prof Clare Collins research group)
  • University of Sydney, Australia (Prof Louise Baur)
  • University of Warwick (Dr Karen Rees and Dr Lena Al-Kudairy)
  • Durham University (Prof Carolyn Summerbell’s research group)
  • University Newcastle, UK (Prof Ashley Adamson’s research group)
  • University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland (Dr Nathalie Farpour-Lambert)
  • Erasmus MC, Netherlands (Prof Hein Raat’s research group)
  • Cornell University, USA (Prof Patricia Cassano’s research group)

Enterprise Interest and Activities

Louisa has a part time secondment to Public Health England diet and obesity team where she is one of their specialist academic advisors.

Learning and Teaching Interests and Activities

Louisa currently teaches on the Dietetics Masters, and Masters and Doctorate of Public Health programmes, as well as providing obesity masterclasses and training across the different degree programmes. She also supervises a number of Masters and PhD students.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Newcastle University

Bachelor, University of Bath

External positions

Adjunct Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

31 Jan 2001 → …

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Obesity Medicine & Life Sciences
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Randomized Controlled Trials Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2008 2009

Research Output 2005 2019

9 Downloads (Pure)

Behavior-Changing Interventions for Treating Overweight or Obesity in Children Aged 6 to 11 Years

Brown, T., Mead, E. & Ells, L., 18 Feb 2019, In : JAMA Pediatrics. 173, 4, p. 385-386

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
Pediatric Obesity
Body Mass Index
Weights and Measures
Quality of Life
Open Access
Life Style
Weights and Measures
Costs and Cost Analysis
60 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access
Weights and Measures
Social Media
Ethics Committees
Peer Review
128 Downloads (Pure)

Effectiveness of individual and group programmes to treat obesity and reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors in pre‐pubertal children

Farpour‐lambert, N. J., Martin, X. E., Bucher Della Torre, S., Von Haller, L., Ells, L. J., Herrmann, F. R. & Aggoun, Y., 15 Aug 2019, In : Clinical obesity. 12 p., e12335.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Body Mass Index
Cardiovascular Diseases
Abdominal Fat
Pediatric Obesity
Open Access
Abdominal Fat
Pediatric Obesity
Cardiovascular Diseases
Randomized Controlled Trials

Press / Media

Weight Loss Feasible Even With Genetic Risk for Obesity (CME/CE)

Louisa Ells


1 item of Media coverage

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More Research Needed to Determine Best Treatment for Childhood Obesity

Louisa Ells


5 items of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Three new PhD studentships at Teesside University

Alan Batterham, Alison Innerd, Louisa Ells, Cormac Ryan, Liane Azevedo & Denis Martin


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

'No excuses' - dieting works better if obesity in the family, study finds

Louisa Ells


3 items of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Calls for more research to determine best treatment for childhood obesity

Louisa Ells


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media


Expression of hypoxia Inducible Factor 1α as a prognostic indicator in oesophageal cancer

Author: Munipalle, P., 16 Mar 2012

Supervisor: Viswanath, Y. (External person) (Supervisor), Wilson, M. (Supervisor), Ali, J. (External person) (Supervisor), Summerbell, C. (External person) (Supervisor) & Ells, L. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis