Carmen Piernas-Sanchez is a Nutrition Scientist, and University Research Lecturer, whose principal research interests lie in the prevention and management of non-communicable chronic disease through dietary improvements, in particular obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Dr Piernas is currently working as a Ramon y Cajal fellow at the University of Granada in Spain and also as honorary University Research Lecturer at the University of Oxford UK since 2015. She graduated in 2013 with a PhD in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA) where she was awarded the School of Public Health’s Annual Fund Scholarship and the Doctoral Dissertation Award.
She is currently working on dietary interventions for the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases in the Spanish population, with an integrative approach between Molecular Biology and Epidemiology and a vision of progress in Precision Nutrition. Her field of research focuses on the integration of nutritional and lifestyle factors with omics data (including biological samples and microbiome data) to improve the understanding and prevention of noncommunicable diseases. Her main focus is on the interaction between diet and lifestyle, metabolomics and cardiometabolic diseases by identifying metabolite signatures associated with health and how diet and lifestyle can modulate associations and metabolic pathways.
During her time in the UK as a member of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences (University of Oxford) she worked to develop a new research program around healthier diet and food purchasing behaviours within the Health Behaviours team (Diet and Population Health). Her research aimed to improve the nutritional quality of the food purchased in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Her research identified certain foods commonly eaten in the UK that may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
She led the project “Collaboration for Healthier Lives” to evaluate voluntary initiatives from UK retailers to improve customers diets. This work involved important new cross-cutting collaborations with the food industry (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Consumer Goods Forum), charities (Guys St Thomas, British Heart Foundation) and policymakers (Public Health England) working in this area, as well as multi-disciplinary academic collaborations across nutrition, behavioural science, big data and health geography with the Universities of Leeds, Southampton and Cambridge. She was funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration in Oxford, Theme 1 – Disease prevention through health behaviour change.
In parallel, she established excellent working collaborations with colleagues at the Nuffield Department of Population Health in Oxford to work with the UK Biobank group. Dr Piernas-Sanchez led work using the dietary data to develop a new system of grouping the dietary data and to apply novel methods to investigate dietary patterns to be made available to the whole UK Biobank community and greatly assist future analyses of diet and health.
Dr Carmen Piernas-Sanchez is a guest lecturer on the topic of the prevention and management of non-communicable chronic disease through dietary improvements, at The Sourdough School for our Prescribing Baking as Lifestyle Medicine (BALM) Diploma course: