Professor Mary Hickson

Professor Mary Hickson

Professor in Dietetics

School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health & Human Sciences)


My role is to lead the development and implementation of research within the Dietetic Team, and support research within the School and Faculty, by coordinating and undertaking research activity, encouraging collaborative working, securing research funding and building the Faculty’s reputation internationally. 


2002     PhD Nutrition, Imperial College London

1997     Certificate in Adult Education, Kingston College

1989     State Registration as Dietitian, University of Surrey

1989     BSc Hons Nutrition and Dietetics (2.1), University of Surrey

Professional membership

Member of the British Dietetic Association

Registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC): DT04924

Roles on external bodies

Adjunct Professor, Imperial College London

Honorary Research Dietitian, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

NIHR Trainee Advocate for Dietetics

Member of the Faculty of Mentors of Health Research Mentors

Member of the Mentorship for Health Research Management committee

Member of the judging panel for the NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic awards.

Department of Health Clinical Academic Careers working group, AUKUH

Member of the editorial board for the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics

Teaching interests

My teaching activities are to support the undergraduate dietetic degree programme primarily through project supervision but also delivering lectures in the field of nutrition, dietetics and ageing.

I also support the Master of Clinical Research again primarily through supervision of project work but also teaching research skills and knowledge.

Research interests

My research interests fall under two broad fields: 

  1. Nutrition & Ageing 
  2. Dietetic Practice

My current areas of research are:
Nutrition and Ageing
  • Exploration of factors contributing to the development of sarcopenia (using Biobank data)
  • Improving nutritional care at the interface between acute and community healthcare (With Anna Julian, PhD student, ICL)
  • Nutritional Care of people with dementia and their carers (With Louise Wilkinson, PenCLAHRC PhD student)
  • Effects of nitrate and nitrite on health (With Raul Bescos, Ann Ashworth, PhD student and Chris Esh, PhD student) 
Dietetic Practice
  • Understanding the dietetic workforce of the future
  • Prioritisation of referrals for dietetic assessment in acute adult services
  • Estimating ascitic fluid weight and its impact on nutritional assessment in liver patients
  • Nutritional care in ICU
  • Improving hospital food provision
  • Iron requirements for those with excess losses
  • Probiotic use
  • Renal nutrition
I also collaborate with many other disciplines and professions including work on: 
  • Dysphagia and laryngectomy with Speech and Language Therapists 
  • Medication harm with Pharmacists and infection control specialists
  • Physical activity with Physiotherapists and Sport Science experts

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

PhD students supervised: 

Anna Julian – Improving nutritional care at the interface between acute and community healthcare. Started Oct 2014.

Liesl Wandrag – An investigation into inflammatory and nutritional markers during critical illness to identify an indicator of anabolism and to explore a method of attenuating muscle mass loss.Awarded Nov 2013.

Margaret Coffey – An examination of the clinical utility of fiber-optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing as an evaluation tool in laryngectomy and an investigation of the effect of different voice prostheses on swallow, voice function and quality of life after laryngectomy. Awarded Nov 2013.

Nurhafzan Anis Ismail – The role of glycaemic index in preventing obesity. Awarded 2014.

Norlida Mat Daud – The effects of propionate on appetite and gut hormones. Awarded Jan 2013.

Charlotte Moss - Comparison of gut hormones in healthy older and young adults. Awarded Jan 2013.

Lina Johansson – Broadening Options for Long-term Dialysis in the Elderly. Awarded Jan 2012.

Elena Philippou – Dietary carbohydrate manipulation and its effect on coronary heart disease risk factors and body weight maintenance. Awarded 2008.



Grants & contracts

British Dietetic Association project grant to scope the future profession and inform the development of adietetic work force development strategy. July 2016-March 2017

Key publications are highlighted

Finnamore H, Silva BM, Hickson BM, Whelan K & Shovlin CL 2017 '7-day weighed food diaries suggest patients with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia may spontaneously modify their diet to avoid nosebleed precipitants' Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 12, (60) , DOI
Welch AA, Skinner J & Hickson M 2017 'Dietary Magnesium May Be Protective for Aging of Bone and Skeletal Muscle in Middle and Younger Older Age Men and Women: Cross-Sectional Findings from the UK Biobank Cohort' Nutrients 9, (11) Author Site , DOI PEARL
Segaran E, Wandrag L, Stotz M, Terblanche M & Hickson M 2017 'Does body mass index impact on muscle wasting and recovery following critical illness? A pilot feasibility observational study' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 30, (2) 227-235 , DOI PEARL
Harries P, Gokalp H, Davies M, Tomlinson C & Hickson M 2017 'Enhanced referral prioritisation for acute adult dietetic services: A randomised control trial to test a web-based decision training tool' Clinical Nutrition , DOI PEARL
Hickson M, Child J & Collinson A 2017 'Future Dietitian 2025: informing the development of a workforce strategy for dietetics' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics , DOI PEARL
Hickson M, Davies M, Gokalp H & Harries P 2017 'Using judgement analysis to identify dietitians’ referral prioritisation for assessment in acute adult services' European Journal of Clinical Nutrition PEARL
Chamali B, Finnamore H, Manning R, Laffan MA, Hickson M, Whelan K & Shovlin CL 2016 'Dietary supplement use and nosebleeds in hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia - an observational study' Intractable & rare diseases research 5, (2) 109-113 PEARL
Wilkinson R, Arensberg ME, Hickson M & Dwyer JT 2016 'Frailty Prevention and Treatment: Why Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Need to Take Charge' Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , DOI PEARL
Cramer JT, Cruz-Jentoft AJ, Landi F, Hickson M, Zamboni M, Pereira SL, Hustead DS & Mustad VA 2016 'Impacts of High-Protein Oral Nutritional Supplements Among Malnourished Men and Women with Sarcopenia: A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blinded, Controlled Trial' Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 17, (11) 1044-1055 , DOI PEARL
Hickson M, Moss C, Dhillo WS, Bottin J & Frost G 2016 'Increased peptide YY blood concentrations, not decreased acyl-ghrelin, are associated with reduced hunger and food intake in healthy older women: Preliminary evidence' Appetite 105, (1 October 2016) 320-327 , DOI PEARL
Warren I, Hicks B, Kleberg A, Eliahoo J, Anand KJ & Hickson M 2016 'The validity and reliability of the EValuation of INtervention Scale: preliminary report' Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992) 105, (6) 618-622 PEARL
Stevinson C, Wiltshire G & Hickson M 2015 'Facilitating Participation in Health-Enhancing Physical Activity: A Qualitative Study of parkrun' International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 22, (2) 170-177 , DOI
Wandrag L, Brett SJ, Frost G & Hickson M 2015 'Impact of supplementation with amino acids or their metabolites on muscle wasting in patients with critical illness or other muscle wasting illness: a systematic review' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 28, (4) 313-330 , DOI
Charani E, Gharbi M, Hickson M, Othman S, Alfituri A, Frost G & Holmes A 2015 'Lack of weight recording in patients being administered narrow therapeutic index antibiotics: a prospective cross-sectional study' BMJ Open 5, (4) e006092-e006092 , DOI
Hickson M 2015 'Nutritional interventions in sarcopenia: a critical review' Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 74, (04) 378-386 , DOI
Reynolds M, Hickson M, Jacklin A & Franklin BD 2014 'A descriptive exploratory study of how admissions caused by medication-related harm are documented within inpatients’ medical records' BMC Health Services Research 14, (1) , DOI
Stevinson C & Hickson M 2014 'Exploring the public health potential of a mass community participation event' Journal of Public Health 36, (2) 268-274 , DOI
Finnamore HE, Whelan K, Hickson M & Shovlin CL 2014 'Top dietary iron sources in the UK' British Journal of General Practice 64, (621) 172-173 , DOI
Hickson M 2013 'Examining the evidence for the use of probiotics in clinical practice' Nursing Standard 27, (29) 35-41 , DOI
Finnamore H, Le Couteur J, Hickson M, Busbridge M, Whelan K & Shovlin CL 2013 'Hemorrhage-Adjusted Iron Requirements, Hematinics and Hepcidin Define Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia as a Model of Hemorrhagic Iron Deficiency' PLoS ONE 8, (10) e76516-e76516 , DOI
Johansson L, Hickson M & Brown EA 2013 'Influence of Psychosocial Factors on the Energy and Protein Intake of Older People on Dialysis' Journal of Renal Nutrition 23, (5) 348-355 , DOI
El-Sherbini N, Duncan N, Hickson M, Johansson L & Brown EA 2013 'Nutrition Changes in Conservatively Treated Patients with Encapsulating Peritoneal Sclerosis' Peritoneal Dialysis International 33, (5) 538-543 , DOI
Moss C, Dhillo WS, Frost G & Hickson M 2012 'Gastrointestinal hormones: the regulation of appetite and the anorexia of ageing' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 25, (1) 3-15 , DOI
Klassen K, Martineau AR, Wilkinson RJ, Cooke G, Courtney AP & Hickson M 2012 'The Effect of Tenofovir on Vitamin D Metabolism in HIV-Infected Adults Is Dependent on Sex and Ethnicity' PLoS ONE 7, (9) e44845-e44845 , DOI
Wandrag L, Gordon F, O’Flynn J, Siddiqui B & Hickson M 2011 'Identifying the factors that influence energy deficit in the adult intensive care unit: a mixed linear model analysis' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 24, (3) 215-222 , DOI
Hickson M, Connolly A & Whelan K 2011 'Impact of protected mealtimes on ward mealtime environment, patient experience and nutrient intake in hospitalised patients' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 24, (4) 370-374 , DOI
Hickson M 2011 'Probiotics in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and Clostridium difficile infection' Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 4, (3) 185-197 , DOI
Brown EA, Johansson L, Farrington K, Gallagher H, Sensky T, Gordon F, Da Silva-Gane M, Beckett N & Hickson M 2010 'Broadening Options for Long-term Dialysis in the Elderly (BOLDE): differences in quality of life on peritoneal dialysis compared to haemodialysis for older patients' Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 25, (11) 3755-3763 , DOI
Kennedy D, Jerosch-Herold C & Hickson M 2010 'The Reliability of One vs. Three Trials of Pain-free Grip Strength in Subjects with Rheumatoid Arthritis' Journal of Hand Therapy 23, (4) 384-391 , DOI
Hickson M, Macqueen C & Frost G 2009 'Evaluation of attendance and weight loss in an intensive weight management clinic compared to standard dietetic care' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 22, (1) 72-76 , DOI
Philippou E, Bovill-Taylor C, Rajkumar C, Vampa ML, Ntatsaki E, Brynes AE, Hickson M & Frost GS 2009 'Preliminary report: the effect of a 6-month dietary glycemic index manipulation in addition to healthy eating advice and weight loss on arterial compliance and 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure in men: a pilot study' Metabolism 58, (12) 1703-1708 , DOI
Philippou E, Neary NM, Chaudhri O, Brynes AE, Dornhorst A, Leeds AR, Hickson M & Frost GS 2009 'The Effect of Dietary Glycemic Index on Weight Maintenance in Overweight Subjects: A Pilot Study' Obesity 17, (2) 396-401 , DOI
Tammam JD, Gardner L & Hickson M 2009 'Validity, reliability and acceptability of the Imperial Nutritional Screening System (INSYST): a tool that does not require the body mass index' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 22, (6) 536-544 , DOI
Wright L, Cotter D & Hickson M 2008 'The effectiveness of targeted feeding assistance to improve the nutritional intake of elderly dysphagic patients in hospital' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 21, (6) 555-562 , DOI
Hickson M, Fearnley L, Thomas J & Evans S 2007 'Does a new steam meal catering system meet patient requirements in hospital?' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 20, (5) 476-485 , DOI
Aloysius A & Hickson M 2007 'Evaluation of paladai cup feeding in breast-fed preterm infants compared with bottle feeding' Early Human Development 83, (9) 619-621 , DOI
Aloysius A & Hickson M 2007 'Evaluation of paladai cup feeding in breast-fed preterm infants compared with bottle feeding' EARLY HUMAN DEVELOPMENT 83, (9) 619-621 Author Site , DOI
Hickson M 2007 'Letters to the Editor' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 20, (4) 355-356 , DOI
Milton JE, Briche B, Brown IJ, Hickson M, Robertson CE & Frost GS 2007 'Relationship of glycaemic index with cardiovascular risk factors: analysis of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey for people aged 65 and older' Public Health Nutrition 10, (11) , DOI
Hickson M, D'Souza AL, Muthu N, Rogers TR, Want S, Rajkumar C & Bulpitt CJ 2007 'Use of probiotic Lactobacillus preparation to prevent diarrhoea associated with antibiotics: randomised double blind placebo controlled trial' BMJ 335, (7610) 80-80 , DOI
Hickson M 2007 'Use of probiotic Lactobacillus preparation to prevent diarrhoea associated with antibiotics: randomised double blind placebo controlled trial (vol 335, pg 80, 2007)' BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL 335, (7623) 754-754 Author Site
Wright L, Hickson M & Frost G 2006 'Eating together is important: using a dining room in an acute elderly medical ward increases energy intake' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 19, (1) 23-26 , DOI
Hickson M 2006 'Malnutrition and ageing' Postgraduate Medical Journal 82, (963) 2-8 , DOI
Nematy M, Hickson M, Brynes A, Ruxton C & Frost G 2006 'Vulnerable patients with a fractured neck of femur: nutritional status and support in hospital' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 19, (3) 209-218 , DOI
Wright L, Cotter D, Hickson M & Frost G 2005 'Comparison of energy and protein intakes of older people consuming a texture modified diet with a normal hospital diet' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 18, (3) 213-219 , DOI
OFLYNN J, PEAKE H, HICKSON M, FOSTER D & FROST G 2005 'The prevalence of malnutrition in hospitals can be reduced: Results from three consecutive cross-sectional studies' Clinical Nutrition 24, (6) 1078-1088 , DOI
Edington J, Barnes R, Bryan F, Dupree E, Frost G, Hickson M, Lancaster J, Mongia S, Smith J & Torrance A 2004 'A prospective randomised controlled trial of nutritional supplementation in malnourished elderly in the community: clinical and health economic outcomes' Clinical Nutrition 23, (2) 195-204 , DOI
Hickson M & Frost G 2004 'An investigation into the relationships between quality of life, nutritional status and physical function' Clinical Nutrition 23, (2) 213-221 , DOI
Hickson M, Bulpitt C, Nunes M, Peters R, Cooke J, Nicholl C & Frost G 2004 'Does additional feeding support provided by health care assistants improve nutritional status and outcome in acutely ill older in-patients?—a randomised control trial' Clinical Nutrition 23, (1) 69-77 , DOI
Hickson M & Frost G 2003 'A comparison of three methods for estimating height in the acutely ill elderly population' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 16, (1) 13-20 , DOI
Hickson M, Nicholl C, Bulpitt C, Fry M, Frost G & Davies L 1999 'The Design of the Feeding Support Trial - does intensive feeding support improved nutritional status and outcome in acutely ill older in-patients?' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 12, (1) 53-59 , DOI
Hickson M & Hill M 1997 'Implementing a nutritional assessment tool in the community: a report describing the process, audit and problems encountered' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 10, (6) 373-377 , DOI
Lomer M 2014 Chapter: Probiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. In Advanced Nutrition and Dietetics in Gastroenterology. 1st Oxford John Wiley & Sons Advance Nutrition and Dietetics Publisher Site , DOI
Hickson M 2013 Research Handbook for Health Care Professionals. Chichester, UK John Wiley & Sons
Payne A; Barker MH 2010 Introduction: Quality improvement and research in advancing dietetics and clinical nutrition. In Advancing Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition. Edinburgh Churchill Livingstone Elsevier
Frost G; Dornhorst A; Moses R 2003 Chapter: Nutritional Management of the Elderly Person with Diabetes. In Nutritional Management of Diabetes Mellitus. Chichester, UK John Wiley & Sons
Conference Papers
Briggs R, Stockdale C, Hickson M, Dixon J, Leeman L, Whyte A & Bethune C 2017 'Investigating possible food allergy in armed forces personnel' 1686-1686
Shovlin CL, Whelan K, Hickson M & Finnamore H 2015 'Predominant dietary iron sources in patients with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia' 567-567
Hookway CA, Rinne P, Hickson M, Beith ID & Bentley P 2013 'Anatomical predictors of dysphagia in stroke: a voxel-lesion mapping study' 40-40
Klassen K, Martineau AR, Wilkinson RJ & Hickson M 2012 'TENOFOVIR AND CALCIUM METABOLISM IN HIV-INFECTED ADULTS' S751-S752
Johansson L, Beckett N, Clemenger M, Da Silva-Gane M, Farrington K, Gallagher H, Hickson M, Sensky T & Brown EA 2010 'Quality of Life in Matched Older Peritoneal and Haemodialysis Patients: Results from the BOLDE Study' 53-53
Philippou E, Neary NM, Chaudhri OB, Brynes AE, Dornhorst A, Leeds AR, Hickson M & Frost GS 2007 'Modest improvements in weight maintenance on a low-glycaemic index (G1) diet following weight loss in overweight and obese subjects' 75A-75A
Cotter D, Wright L & Hickson M 2007 'Oral fluid intake of dysphagic patients in hospital, Cotter, Deirdre, Wright L. Hickson, M, Charing Cross Hospital, London, United Kingdom' 361-361
Nematy M, Hickson M, Brynes AE, Charles PJ & Frost GS 2006 'Appetite controlling gut hormone release during acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease' II87-II87

Additional information


2015:     Roll of Honour for contributions BDA Research symposium, British Dietetic Association

2012:     Elizabeth Washington Award for best educational work relating to nutrition, British Dietetic Association

2010:     Best Presentation Award, British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Annual Conference

2009:     Roll of Honour for contributions to the BDA Research Committee, British Dietetic Association

2008:     Rose Simmonds Award for best publication by a dietitian, British Dietetic Association

2008:     Award for Teaching Excellence, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London