unisa logo

Australian Centre for Precision Health

Population health research to improve the future of health


Nutritional genetics to risk factor discovery

Diet and nutrition play a key influence on our health. We also know that nutrition and other influences from our lifestyles and environment act in combination with our genetic make-up to affect health and disease risk. Due to recent advances in gene discovery and big data methodologies, it is now possible to examine the joint effects of genes and environment. Importantly, this will help us to establish whether making changes where we can (e.g. diet, lifesytle) can ameliorate adverse influences caused by susceptibility genes, which we cannot alter.

The Nutritional and Genetic Epidemiology group, headed by ACPreH Director Elina Hyppönen, uses tools from observational and genetic epidemiology to investigate the role of nutrition, lifesytles and other modifiable influences on public health. We seek to understand gene-environment interactions, and use genetic markers in causal modelling often looking across the full spectrum of human diseases.

Work in this research area includes projects examining intergenerational and genetic influences on growth and disease risk, as well as the short and long-term health effects of Vitamin D, coffee consumption, obesity and other lifestyle factors. Much of the work is done using large-scale population data collections, often in the context of large-scale international collaborations. 

Current research projects


Professor Elina HyppönenNutritional and Genetic Epidemiology Team

Dr Catherine King

Dr Ang Zhou

Dr Anwar Mulugeta

Dr Mandy Lumsden

Farhana Nabi

Joshua Sutherland

Kitty Pham 

Muktar Ahmed