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Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology, University of East Anglia

Ailsa Welch is a Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology researching the effects of nutrition on aging, based at The University of East Anglia Medical School. Ailsa’s research focuses on understanding the protective factors in diet for musculoskeletal health (sarcopenia, loss of skeletal muscle mass and function with age), osteoporosis and fracture risk. She also researches into CVD and cancer, in developing dietary assessment methodologies, quantifying measurement error, and in evaluating public health improvement interventions. Ailsa’s research aims to understand the effects of micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) and diet quality (dietary patterns, fatty acids, protein & acid-base load) on musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health. Understanding how diet improves health during aging is important as the age profile of populations is increasing with consequences for the burden on health and social care. Micronutrient malnutrition also co-exists alongside obesity and chronic disease.

Ailsa has 212 peer-reviewed publications, an H Index of 77 and 21,000 citations. She is also a top 1% world researcher (Thompson Reuters, 2014).

Ailsa chaired the Nutrition & Lifestyle Forum of the Royal Osteoporosis Society and was a member of their Scientific Advisory Committee (2013-2019). She is also the scientific theme lead for Public Health Nutrition for the UK Nutrition Society. Ailsa chairs the initiative for ‘Optimising Nutrition and Hydration Practice in Care Homes’. She was previously an external examiner for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and led the Metabolic and Endocrine group of the Norfolk and Suffolk Comprehensive Local Research Network (2008 to 2015).

Prior to joining UEA, in 2007, Ailsa was based at the University of Cambridge where she developed dietary assessment methodologies for the European Prospective Investigations into Cancer and Nutrition Study. She also worked at the Royal Society of Chemistry compiling the UK food composition databases and was at King’s College London, based in Somalia and Nigeria. Ailsa is a State Registered Dietitian.

Research Interests

Nutrition and musculoskeletal health (osteoporosis, fractures, sarcopenia & age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and function)

Diet and aging
Dietary methodology
Dietary fat and protein composition, micronutrients, dietary patterns and acid-base load
Public health nutrition


  • –present
    Professor, University of East Anglia