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University of Edinburgh, UK

Leng lab - Biomedical Sciences

Gareth Leng 2
Gareth Leng

Prof Gareth Leng moved to Edinburgh in November 1994 to the newly established Chair of Experimental Physiology. He is currently President of the International Neuroendocrine Federation, a member of the Science Committee of the Society for Endocrinology, and an honorary member of the British Society for Neuroendocrinology. From 1996-2003 he was Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Neuroendocrinology. He is currently editor of Neuroendocrinology and an associate editor of Physiological Reports. Prof Leng was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2013.

The focus of his research, with Dr John Menzies, is on understanding neuronal networks in the hypothalamus, particularly those controlling appetite and obesity. The research approach is multidisciplinary, including electrophysiology, molecular neuroanatomy, behavioural and functional studies and, with Dr Duncan MacGregor, computational modelling of information processing in neurones.

Dr Celine Caquineau is a senior teaching fellow with experience in novel teaching approaches and public engagement.

Mrs Carol Wollaston is the project manager.

MacGregor DJ, Leng G. Spike triggered hormone secretion in vasopressin cells; a model investigation of mechanism and heterogeneous population function. PLoS Comput Biol. 2013 9(8):e1003187

Leng G, Macgregor DJ. Mathematical modelling in neuroendocrinology. J Neuroendocrinol. 2008 20(6):713-8.

Johnstone LE, Fong TM, Leng G. Neuronal activation in the hypothalamus and brainstem during feeding in rats. Cell Metab. 2006 4(4):313-21.

read more about Gareth Leng's research

Belot lab - Behavioural Economics

Michele Belot
Michele Belot

Prof Michèle Belot is Professor of Economics in the School of Economics, College of Humanities and Social Sciences at UEDIN. She is the director of the Behavioural Laboratory at the University of Edinburgh (BLUE), located at the School of Economics. She works mainly in the area of behavioural economics and economic policy, and has been involved in the design and evaluation of policy interventions using administrative data, survey data and data collected through randomised controlled experiments both in the laboratory and in the field. Her recent work encompasses studies on habitual behaviour in the context of diet. She conducted a large scale randomized controlled trial in 31 primary schools in the United Kingdom aimed at testing the effects of short-term incentives on fruit and vegetable consumption among young children. In 2011 Prof Belot co-authored a paper showing a link between healthier school meals and reductions in illness-associated absences and increases in academic attainment.

Dr Jonathan James is lecturer at the Department of Economics at the University of Bath, UK. James completed his Ph.D. in 2011 with a thesis entitled 'Essays on the Economics of Health and Education'. He has a number of papers related to the school lunch programme in the UK, one is co-authored with Prof Belot, and another related to child health and teenage pregnancy. He has extensive experience with designing and running randomised, controlled policy experiments.

Dr Valeria Skafida is a research fellow working across the fields of Public Health and Medical Sociology, based at the Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. She completed undergraduate studies in Social Anthropology and Social Policy, and an MSc and PhD in Social Policy, all at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include: the social stratification of health behaviours and health inequalities, the sociology of health and illness, public health policy and industry influence on public policy. Her primary area of expertise revolves around how dietary habits develop over time from infancy to childhood within the context of family life and within the context of changing family circumstances. She specialises in advanced quantitative methods, using longitudinal survey data to look at change in children's diets and health over time.

Belot M, James J, Nolen, P. Changing eating habits - A field experiment in primary schools, Discussion Paper 219, 2013, University of Edinburgh.

Belot M, James J. Healthy school meals and educational outcomes. Journal of Health Economics 2011 30:489-504.

James J. Peer Effects in Free School Meals: Information or stigma? EUI MWP 2012, 2012/11

Skafida V, Treanor M. Do changes in objective and subjective family income predict change in children's diets over time? Unique insights using a longitudinal cohort study and fixed effects analysis. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 2013, in press.

Skafida V. The family meal panacea: exploring how different aspects of family meal occurrence, meal habits and meal enjoyment relate to young children's diets. Sociol Health Illn. 2013 35:906-23.

Skafida V. The relative importance of social class and maternal education for breast-feeding initiation. Public Health Nutrition, 2009 12:2285-2292.

read more about Michele Belot's research