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 (Scopus) and 21,000 citations. She is also a top 1% world researcher (Thompson Reuters, 2014).

Ailsa chaired the Nutrition & Lifestyle Forum of the National 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’ and is a member of the Malnutrition Task Force.

Ailsa is was external examiner for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2014-2019. She previously led the Metabolic and Endocrine group of the Norfolk and Suffolk Comprehensive Local Research Network and was a member of the national group (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
  • Malnutrition
  • Public health nutrition

DPHIL, University of Ulster (2005)

BSc Hons in Nutrition, 2:1 with Eligibility for state registration in dietetics, merit  (1977)

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice 2009

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2009-present)

State Registered Dietitian (SRD) No. DT 2305 (1977-present)

Registered Public Health Nutritionist  and member, The Association of Nutrition (1999-2018)

British Nutrition Society, member (elected 1988-present). Scientific theme lead for Public Health Nutrition (2011-present). Member of the Council (2009-2012)

British Dietetic Association, member (number 1276) (1979-present)

The Association for the Study of Obesity, member (1995-2013)

The American Society for Nutrition, member (elected 2014-present)

The Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders, member (2015-2018)

The British Society of Gerontology (2017- 2019)



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