BSc (Hons), PGDip, PhD, FHEA, RNutr

Senior Lecturer (Scholarship)


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 438034
The University of Aberdeen Postgradaute Education Group, Rm 1:077 Polwarth Building University of Aberdeen Foresterhill Aberdeen AB25 2ZD Scotland


Kirsty joined the university in July 2010 as RCUK funded research fellow based in the health services research unit.  Kirsty gained her PhD, in 2004 from the Institute of Psychological Sciences, at the University of Leeds.  Her work focused on the biopsychology of anorexia nervosa.  Since completing of her PhD she has worked on a range of research project looking at various aspects of diet, behaviour and biology and their association with disease.  Kirsty research currently focusses on the publics understanding and engagement with science with particular refernce to medical and health related research.


Research Interests

 Kirstys current research focus is on communication of science and in particular health research with the general population through the mainstream media and online media sources


Current Research

Kirsty along with co-investigators from University of Aberdeen, Dundee, Northumbria and Stirling have recently completed CSO funded qualitiave study which explored what components of a healthy lifestyle intervention for weight loss would be most acceptable, feasible and likely to succeed with obese older adults.

Obesity is becoming more common in older people. This age group has been neglected by obesity research to date. Weight loss interventions specific to the needs of older people need to be developed and evaluated before entering clinical practice. In this study a multi-method qualitative approach to data collection to capture a more complete, holistic and contextual portrayal of the older adults’ views of weight management was used. Older adults preferred group weight loss interventions which include five main topics: “How to change diet”, “How to change physical activity”, “Managing emotions”, “Managing pain” and “Monitoring progress”.  Participants ranked key components for a weight loss programme as:

Essential: Local, group based, supported by experienced person, delivered at a set time and day, tailored to age and capabilities, with weekly weighing/monitoring, outcomes focussed on quality of life as well as weight change.

Desirable: Low cost, focus on increasing and maintaining motivation, recruitment to use similar strategies as commercial slimming clubs, practical suggestions on how to apply knowledge rather than imparting knowledge.

Undesirable: Self-organised group, large groups, physical activity not tailored to abilities. 

We are now in a position to design, develop and test an exploratory pilot study of a weight loss programme specifically designed to meet the needs of older adults.

Research Grants

Title : Ways to Intervene and Support Engagement of Older adults Weight Loss Study (WISE OWLS). 
Funder: Chief Scientist Office. £49,274
Start date: 01-10-2012 (duration: 12 months)
Role: Principal Investiagtor
Co-applicants: Professor Alison Avenell (University of Aberdeen),Professor Amanda Clarke(University of Northumbria), Dr Miles Witham(University of Dundee) & Professor Pat Hoddinott (University of Stirling)


Title: Determinants of seafood consumption in pre-school age children.

Funders:  Seafish Industry project fund. £38,333.  

              Food and Drink Interface doctorate scholarship £30,082

Start date: Oct 2012 (duration 36 months)

Role: Principal Investigator (lead supervisor)

Co-applicants: Dr Debbie Marais (University of Aberdeen), Dr Leonie Craig (University of Aberdeen) & Mr Andy Gray (Seafish levy board)





Teaching Responsibilities

Kirsty is the postgraduate coordinator for the Institute of Applied Health Sciences.  This role involves overseeing the postgraduate taught course (both on campus and online) within the institute. In addition this role also involves overseeing the postgraduate research programmes within the institute and support both students and supervisors through their study period.   Kirsty is a member of university Senate and a member of the institutes Athena Swann self-assessment team.   Kirsty also coordinates two courses in research methods; one useing a face to face delivery mode and the second a fully online delivery mode, in addition to contributing to a wide range of courses within applied helath sciences

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Kirsty is a member of the North of Scotland NHS research ethics committee

Admin Responsibilities

Kirsty is a member of University Senate, IAHS Athena Swan SAT.  In adition she is a member of the IAHS good cause commitee, chairs the IAHS PGT management commitee and School PGR commitee.  In addition she is  PGR adviser, examiner and supervisor.



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