Professor Mary Hickson
Professor in Dietetics
School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health)
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.
I am also a Co-Director of the Torbay and South Devon Clinical School. This is an initiative to partner with our colleagues in NHS Trusts in the region. I work closely with Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust to increase research capacity and capability. More information can be found here https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/clinical-schoolshttp://
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
Member of the British Dietetic Association
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 judging panel for the NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic awards.
Member of the Clinical Academic Roles Implementation Network (CARIN)
Member of the editorial board for the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
My teaching activities are to support the undergraduate dietetic degree program, particularly the project development module, project supervision, as well as delivering lectures in the field of nutrition, dietetics and ageing.
My research interests fall under two broad fields:
- Nutrition & Ageing
- Dietetic Practice
- 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 Craig Cutler, PhD student)
- Examining the evidence for first contact dietetic roles within primary care
- 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
- 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:
Jennifer Carroll - A mixed methods study to establish core outcomes for refactory childhood epilpsy treated with ketogenic diet therapy. Started April 2018
Craig Culter - The effect of diet and physical activity on the oral nutrate/nitrite pathway and its impact on vascular control. Started October 2017
Julia Eisenblaetter - Dietary counselling of children with food allergy. Started October 2016
Louise Mole - Improving nutritional care for people living at home with Dementia. Started April 2016
Anna Julian – Improving nutritional care at the interface between acute and community healthcare. Started Oct 2014.
Ann Ashworth - Effects of dietary nitrate from vegetables on blood pressure in healthy humans: Started October 2015.
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 highlightedJournals
2018 Rose Simmons Award for best publication by a dietitian, British Dietetic Association
2016: Roll of Honour for contributions Research, British Dietetic Association
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