Nigel Unwin



College: Medical School
Research Centre/Unit: European Centre of Environment and Human Health

Nigel Unwin is a public health physician and epidemiologist with a longstanding interest in the distribution, determinants and prevention of diabetes and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), both in the UK and in lower income settings outside the UK.  

He began his academic career at Newcastle University, later becoming professor of epidemiology there. His research at Newcastle included understanding the determinants of NCD risk across ethnic and socio-economic groups, much of which was in collaboration with colleagues in Tanzania, Cameroon, and South Africa.  

Between 2010 and 2016 he was a Professor in Public Health at the University of the West Indies, based at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. His research there included collaborating on the evaluation of national and regional policy responses to NCDs. It was at UWI that he became particularly interested in understanding how food systems are related to the high burdens of nutrition related diseases in the Caribbean and other small island states. It is an interest in food systems that promote human and planetary health that drives his current research, which includes collaborating on and leading work that aims to inform and evaluate interventions to improve nutrition in the Caribbean and Pacific.

Nigel is a fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health and of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He has contributed over many years to the work of World Health Organization’s diabetes group, including on the classification and diagnosis of diabetes, and to diabetes prevalence and mortality estimates of the International Diabetes Federation. His reviewing activities have included membership of various funding panels at the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council, and he is currently a faculty member for the MRC Applied Global Health panel.   

Along with his part time position at European Centre for Environment and Human Health, he is also a part time research professor at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, where he is contributing to the development of their Global Diet and Activity Research (GDAR) network and programme. He maintains a formal connection with UWI as honorary professor of Population Health Sciences at the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre.