Chris Seal is Emeritus Professor of Food and Human Nutrition at Newcastle University.
Chris joined the University in 1983 as a Demonstrator in Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition and then spent 11 years researching energy metabolism in ruminant gut and liver, publishing key papers describing how tissues respond to changes in nutrient supply. In 1994 he was appointed to a lectureship in human nutrition working with colleagues to develop the University’s Human Nutrition Research Centre. He was promoted to Professor of Food & Human Nutrition in 2008.
Chris is best known for his research on cereal and carbohydrate nutrition; in particular he is an acknowledged international expert on whole-grain nutrition. He has managed some of the largest whole-grain intervention studies worldwide with funding from the Food Standards Agency, Public Health England and Industry. His work underpins efforts to establish legal definitions of ‘whole grain’ and ‘whole-grain food’ and he is a member of an International Task Force promoting whole grain consumption and setting national and international dietary intake recommendations. His broader research interests have been driven by multidisciplinary collaborations including clinical nutrition during cancer treatment and the impact of diet on relapse in ulcerative colitis, functional properties of plant secondary metabolites, effects of production systems (organic vs conventional) on food quality and health, and the effects of consumer behaviour on food choice.
Chris has made significant contributions to nutrition training at both UG and PG levels. He was a key member of the group which developed the BSc Food & Human Nutrition (FHN) degree programme at Newcastle in 1991 and was Degree Programme Director for more than 13 years. During this time he worked with the Association for Nutrition to develop course accreditation criteria, using the Newcastle degree as an exemplar. He also developed the programme for delivery in Singapore in collaboration with the Singapore Institute of Technology. His expertise as an academic leader is reflected in his role as External Examiners for nutrition programmes across the UK, Ireland and Hong Kong. At a PG level Chris has successfully supervised 35 PG research students (32 PhD and 3 MD).
Chris has worked throughout his career to promote the nutrition discipline and to encourage the use of evidence-based nutrition to the wider public. He is a regular contributor to media coverage of nutrition issues including for the BBC, in the popular press and on social media. He promotes healthy diets and nutrition to schools in the region, often bringing pupils into the University and encouraging them to consider university courses in STEM subjects. He has held many senior roles within the Nutrition Society, as a member of Council, Programmes Secretary, Scientific Development Officer and Treasurer. Chris has developed strong links with industry and has been an advisor to several national and multi-national food companies. He was a member and Chair of several MRC and BBSRC panels, and was an external reviewer for many National and International funding agencies.