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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Current work and interests

Sarah is a visiting scientist at the MRC Epidemiology Unit whose research interests lie across the fields of nutrition and global health. She has a particular interest in understanding dietary and lifestyle transition in rural and urban contexts, as well linkages between the two. She aims to conduct research which contributes to policy and the development, implementation and evaluation of food and nutrition strategies which seek to address the global challenge of nutrition-related chronic disease in low income settings.

Sarah also works across several projects in NBH, assisting with research studies in The Gambia, with a particular focus on bone densitometry and dietary data.  She has developed new collaborations in the University of Cambridge and the MRC Gambia Unit, and is a co-applicant in: ‘MillNETi’ – Millets and Nutritional Enhancement Traits for Iron bioavailability; a BBSRC (GCRF) project, funded under ‘Food and nutrition research for health in the developing world: bioavailability & nutrient content’ (PI: Prof Howard Griffiths, 2019-2021).


Sarah completed her first degree in Human Nutrition before receiving an MRC PhD studentship at MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge, to undertake her doctoral project, ‘Bone health in Gambian women: impact and implications of rural-to-urban migration and the nutrition transition.’ She was a member of the former MRC Nutrition and Bone Health Research Group (NBH) led by Professor Ann Prentice at the Unit.

During her PhD, Sarah developed an interest in interdisciplinary approaches to research, and has developed her skills in this area through involvement in the Global Food Security Interdisciplinary Research Centre and Global Challenges Strategic Research Initiative in the University.

In 2016, she undertook a 4-week course in qualitative and mixed methods for international health, through the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp and was also awarded MRC Flexible funding to undertake a 5-month interdisciplinary placement at Centre of Diet Activity Research (CEDAR), University of East Anglia, Norwich (April 2017). This included working on a mixed-methods evaluation of a community-based physical activity intervention in England with Professor Andy Jones.

She is a member of the European Nutrition Leadership Platform, the UK Nutrition Society and was invited to attend the Rank Prize Mini Symposium 2018 “The impact of Ethnicity on Diet-Related Diseases”.


Sarah's research interests lie in the field of global health, and she has a particular interest in understanding dietary and lifestyle transition in rural and urban settings and the linkages between the two, with an aim to contribute to policy and the development of interventions.

Recognising that determinants of nutrition-related NCDs are both complex and multidisciplinary, she has sought to develop additional skills in qualitative and mixed methods, enabling her to adopt a comprehensive approach to nutrition research.

Over the last 5 years, her work has primarily been conducted in The Gambia, West Africa.

She is a member of the European Nutrition Leadership Platform and the UK Nutrition Society.

Key words: Nutrition, transition, rural-urban linkages, migration, sustainability, global health, Africa, dietary public health, NCD prevention

Investigator Scientist, MRC Nutrition and Bone Health Research Group
 Sarah  Dalzell

Contact Details

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