Professor Louisa Ells, Professor

Professor Louisa Ells


Louisa is a registered public health nutritionist with a specialist interest in multi-disciplinary, cross-sector applied obesity research. Her research focuses on obesity related public health, service evaluation, inequalities and e-health, delivered using systematic reviewing, mixed method, coproduction and person-centred approaches.

Louisa joined the University in May 2020 as Professor of Obesity, working in the nutrition and dietetic team and co-lead of the Obesity Institute Research. Louisa is an adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina, Greenboro in the USA, and is specialist academic advisor to Public Health England. She is also an invited expert for the NICE Centre for Guidelines, and sits on the European Association for the Study of Obesity Nutrition working group.

Louisa has specialised in applied 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 is passionate about research coproduction: working with policy, practice and community partners to co-develop research solutions to address real world problems. She has worked on projects with a combined income exceeding £4.5 million, and has a strong publication record, and established network of international collaborations spanning Europe, the USA and Australia.

Current Teaching

Louisa currently supervises a number of research students, and contributes to a range of different modules.

Research Interests

Louisa's research portfolio is orientated around delivering responsive, practical research solutions that result in real world impact. Her previous research includes: 

  • Undertaking a number of weight management service evaluations which have informed practice development and commissioning decisions
  • Undertaking two mixed method reviews of behaviour changes resulting from marketing and fiscal strategies targeted at high sugar products, that underpinned the PHE sugar reduction report: from evidence to action, and subsequent changes to marketing and fiscal regulation
  • Leading a series of Cochrane reviews examining treatment interventions for child and adolescent overweight and obesity which helped to inform ongoing work by the World Health Organization on the management of children and adolescents with overweight and obesity. This is in addition to supporting a number of Public Health England outputs such as the Guide to Delivering and Commissioning Tier 2 Weight Management Services, the standard evaluation framework for weight management interventions, guidance on family weight management, a review of the barriers and facilitators to weight management in families at high risk of developing excess weight, and a report examining weight management services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Current research projects include a comprehensive programme of work to support the Public Health England; and five NIHR funded projects:

  • Re:Mission – An evaluation of the NHS Low Calorie Diet Programme
  • Developing the Yorkshire Obesity Research Alliance: Yorkshire and Humber Obesity Research Alliance (YORA) - PaRC
  • BEhavioural Weight Management: COMponents of Effectiveness (BE:COME)
  • Understanding the effectiveness and underlying mechanisms of lifestyle modification interventions in adults with learning disabilities
  • Can embedding the MapMe intervention, a tool to improve parental acknowledgement and understanding of childhood overweight and obesity, in the National Child Measurement Programme lead to improved long term child weight outcomes at one year?
Professor Louisa Ells, Professor

Ask Me About

  1. Obesity
  2. Public Health
  3. Weight Management
  4. Nutrition