Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Fiona Lithander (formerly Leahy) is a nutrition scientist and dietitian with expertise in research, teaching, clinical practice, and research management.


Fiona's research interests resonate around the impact of dietary nutrients on metabolic health and inflammation. Since the award of her PhD in metabolic physiology from the University of Cambridge in 2002, Fiona has gained considerable expertise in the design and execution of dietary intervention trials in both healthy and clinical populations.

Fiona has led translational research groups at a number of research-intensive universities including Trinity College Dublin and the Australian National University. She has been awarded funding as principal and co-investigator, has published widely, is a member of the Editorial Board of Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, is former Chair of the British Dietetic Association South West Group, and has been an invited speaker at national and international meetings.


Fiona has led the development of nutrition courses/modules in medical curricula and has provided leadership in the teaching and assessment of nutrition and dietetics undergraduate and postgraduate courses and programmes. She is an Associate Fellow of Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

Clinical expertise

Fiona is a registered (UK: RD) and practicing dietitian (Aus: APD), has worked in the NHS as an acute care dietitian, and has specialised in performance nutrition. She is currently the lead sports dietitian at the University of Bristol and University of Bath and holds full registration on the UK Sports and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr).

Research management

Fiona has held research management roles at the University of Bristol and at the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre. This includes the role of Programme Manager (UK) of a large programme of research in Parkinson's disease called PRIME (Proactive and Integrated Management and Empowerment in Parkinson’s disease). In these roles, Fiona has managed internal and external relationships and research teams,  planned and maintained budgets, managed reporting to the funders and stakeholders, and ensured robust research and management governance.

Wider academic citizenship

Fiona has been invited to advise the Irish government on public health nutrition related issues, and in 2021 to influence the agenda for training dietitians in the UK. Fiona is the former Chair of the British Dietetic Association South West Group, and has held various committee positions in the Nutriiton Society in Ireland and in Australia.

Recent publications

Ó Breasail M, Biswas B, Smith MD, Mazhar MKA, Tenison E, Cullen A, Lithander FE, Roudaut A, Henderson EJ. Wearable GPS and accelerometer technologies for monitoring mobility and physical activity in neurogenerative disorders: A systematic review. 02 Dec21 (Accepted). In: Sensors.

Mannino A., Lithander F.E., Dunlop E., Hoare S., Shivappa N., Daly A.,  Pereira G., Sherriff J., Lucas R.M., Ponsonby A.L., Hébert J.R., van der Mei I., the Ausimmune Investigator Group, Black L.J. Proinflammatory diet and central nervous system demyelination in a case-control study of Australian adults.  21 Nov 21 (Accepted). In: Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

O Breasail, M., Smith, M., Tenison, E., Henderson, E. J. & Lithander, F. E. Parkinson's disease: the nutrition perspective, 4 Oct 2021, DOI: In: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.

Brazier, D., Parneta, N., Lithander, F. E. & Henderson, E. J. Prone Positioning of older adults with COVID-19: a brief review and proposed proposal, 25 Aug 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Journal of Frailty and Aging. 

Neumann S., Bamford A., Lithander F.E., Tenison E., Henderson E.J. Public attitudes to the use of remote data collection in clinical research, October 2021 (Accepted) In: Contemporary Clinical Trials

Marshall V., Jaffee A., Leary S.D., Ness A., Masters N., Birch L., England C., Lithander F.E., Atkinson C., Shield J.P.H. What do families know about healthy eating and physical activity? A lesson from Wallace and Gromit. Arch Dis Child. 2021 Jan;106(1):98-99. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2019-318550. 

Lithander, F. E., Neumann, S., Tenison, E., Lloyd, K., Welsh, T. J., Rodrigues, J. C. L., Higgins, J. P. T., Scourfield, L., Christensen, H., Haunton, V. J. & Henderson, EJCovid-19 in older people: a rapid clincal review, 1 Jul 2020, In: Age and Ageing. 49, 4, p. 501–515 15. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afaa093

Education/Academic qualification

Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Wollongong


PhD Nutritional metabolic physiology, University of Cambridge


BSc (Hons.) Human Nutrition, University of Ulster


External positions

Honorary Visiting Academic, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin



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