New NIHR collaboration to address challenges of sedentary lifestyle

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Research experts in nutrition, diet and physical activity from across the country have come together to form the NIHR Diet and Activity Research Translation (DART) Collaboration. DART aims to tackle various challenges associated with sedentary lifestyle, such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

NIHR Imperial BRC researchers have been investigating effects of diet and nutrition on health over many years, including cancer epidemiology and prevention (Informatics & Biobanking Theme) and metabonomics and microbiome research (Cancer; Gut Health; Metabolic Medicine & Endocrinology Themes), with cross-cutting support of the Molecular Phenomics Theme. There are also a number of engineering projects that involve a nutritional component. Some recent examples in this area include research from Dr Isabel Garcia-Perez and Prof Gary Frost, who previously identified four distinct diet types based on metabolic profiles of participants. Cross-Theme collaborative work led by Dr Marc Dumas identified a metabolic marker that could predict steatosis, while also providing evidence for importance of microbial diversity in disease prevention.

Imperial College also established Network of Excellence in Nutrition & Food in 2017, aiming to bringing together researchers from different Faculties with multi-disciplinary expertise, to focus on the major health problems associated with diet. Prof Gary Frost, Chair in Nutrition and Dietetics at Imperial College, and NIHR Imperial BRC Gut Health Theme Lead, is head of this Imperial network. In the newly formed NIHR DART Collaboration, Prof Frost is leading education for the network.

Commenting on the launch of NIHR DART, Prof Frost said: “DART is a major step forward in understanding the impact the lifestyle we choose to lead and the health. The BRC network offers an environment to make a step change in lifestyle research and establish robust training in this field.”

Professor Melanie Davies, Chair of the DART Collaboration and Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “Diet, nutrition, and physical inactivity underpin all the major chronic long-term conditions challenging the NHS. The relationship between food, nutrition exercise and health is complex, and is affected by biological as well as environmental, socioeconomic, cultural and behavioural factors. By pooling our collective expertise and through stronger cross-sector and cross-disciplinary partnerships we can tackle the major nutrition and activity research challenges facing our society.”

For more information about the NIHR Diet and Activity Research Translation Collaboration, email

  • Dr Isabel Garcia-Perez
    Dr Isabel Garcia-Perez
    Lecturer in Precision & Systems Medicine
  • Professor Gary Frost
    Professor Gary Frost
    Chair in Nutrition & Dietetics
  • Professor Marc-Emmanuel Dumas
    Professor Marc-Emmanuel Dumas
    Reader in Translational Systems Medicine
  • NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London
  • NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre
  • NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre
  • NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre
  • NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre
  • NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre
  • NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre