Dr Jo Cecil

Dr Jo Cecil
Lecturer



I graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA (Hons), MA degree in Biological Anthropology in 1993 and then undertook a post-graduate teaching qualification in Biological Sciences (PGCE) from the University of Cambridge in 1994. I gained my PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sheffield, where I conducted human research into the role of gastrointestinal lipid on eating behaviour. Following this, I moved to Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, USA in 1999 to take up a post doc position. There, I investigated gastrointestinal mechanisms underlying the control of food intake using animal models in collaboration with researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2000, I took up a research position in the Department of Psychology at the University of Dundee to conduct research in pre-pubertal children, investigating synergy between genotype & behavioural phenotype in the maintenance of energy balance. In 2004 I was appointed as a Lecturer at the University of St Andrews.

My research focus is on the bio-psychological controls of appetite, eating behaviour and obesity. I have investigated the relationship between genotype and behavioural phenotype in the maintenance of child energy balance, where variants of candidate genes for common obesity including PPARG and FTO have been examined and shown to moderate appetite and energy intake. I have investigated the influence of reward related gene polymorphisms on the hedonic response to food and overconsumption in adults and characterised resistance and susceptibility to weight change in first year University Students with colleagues at the Universities of Leeds and Dundee. More recently I have been involved in a collaborative EU Marie Curie funded IAPP project examining liking and intake of vegetables in children with partners from the Universities of Leeds, Glasgow Caledonian and Aberdeen and industry partners from Danone Medical and Baby Nutrition. Currently, I am investigating dietary health through portion control by examining and exploiting environmental ‘prompts’ as part of a collaboration between scientists at the Universities of St Andrews, Leeds and Sheffield, funded by the BBSRC: 'Downsizing: using environmental cues to acquire healthy portion control in children, adolescents and their families'. I am also developing a research program into GP Patient communication around weight management with colleagues at the University of St Andrews.

I teach behavioural medicine and communication skills to medical undergraduates. I organise and teach on the postgraduate MD5003 MSc Health Psychology module ‘Biological systems and development’. I also teach on the postgraduate MRes Medicine course and on the postgraduate Global Health course.

My school roles:

  • MD5003 Module Controller
  • Postgrad Exam Coordinator for MSc Health Psychology
  • School Disability Coordinator
  • Personal Tutor

Projects

  • BBSRC Diet & Health Research Industry Club (DRINC): Downsizing: using environmental cues to acquire healthy portion control in children, adolescents & their families. Sept 2015 - Aug 2018. Co-PI with Prof Hetherington (University of Leeds), Dr Caton (University of Sheffield), Dr Evans (University of Leeds), Dr Tang (University of Leeds), Prof Rolls (Pennsylvania State University, US)
  • SMERC - Scottish Medical Education Research Consortium: Burnout and health behaviours in medical undergraduates. June 2015 - Oct 2016. PIs: Dr Laidlaw, Dr Cecil (School of Medicine, University of St Andrews), Dr Dennis (University of Dundee, School of Medicine), Prof Cleland (University of Aberdeen, Applied Health Sciences)
  • Investigating primary care communication towards patient weight and weight management. Co-PI with Dr Laidlaw, C. McHale (School of Medicine, University of St Andrews).
  • Investigating knowledge, attitude and practice of primary care health professionals towards patient weight and weight management: PI Cecil JE, with Laidlaw A, Collinson A, Neville F. (Northwood Charitable Trust, awarded April 2012)
  • VIVA -V is for Vegetable: Applying learning theory to increase liking and intake of vegetables. Co-PI with Hetherington, M.M., Jackson, D., partners from industry (Danone Baby Nutrition). EU Marie Curie Industry Academic Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) FP7 230637. (June 2009- May 2013). V is for vegetable: applying learning theory to increase liking and intake of vegetables
  • EU Annex 1 funding - European Drug prevention Information Programme (DPIP): ‘ORION – Overdose Risk InfOrmatioN Project’. With Humphris, G. and Baldacchino,A. University of St Andrews and partners in UK, Italy, Denmark, Germany (2010-2012) http://orion-euproject.com/
  • TRIP – Testing in Recreational settings prevention-Interventions addressed to Polydrug users’. With Professor Gerry Humphris and Alex Baldacchino, University of St Andrews, with partners in UK, Italy, Denmark. EU Annex 1 funding - European Drug prevention Information Programme (DPIP): ‘ (2010-2012)

data source: symbiosis

Research Overview from research@st-andrews

My research interests include the short-term biopsychological controls of appetite, eating behaviour and obesity. My research has focussed on the contribution of and interaction between signals arising from different areas of the gastrointestinal tract in the control of ingestive behaviour.  More recently, my research interests have centred on the relationship between genotype and behavioural phenotype in the maintenance of child energy balance and obesity.


Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews
25 (of 35 published available) for jc100 (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details

The effect of food type on the portion size effect in children aged 2-12 years Sophie Reale, Jean Hamilton, R Akparibo, Marion Hetherington, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Sam Caton
Appetite  vol.In press 
Can reduced intake associated with downsizing of a high energy dense meal item be offset by increased vegetable variety in 3-5-year-old children? Sharon Ann Carstairs, Samantha J Caton, Pamela Blundell-Birtill, Barbara J. Rolls, Marion M. Hetherington, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil
Nutrients 2018 vol.10 
Dietary patterns of university students in the UK: a multi-centre, cross-sectional study Eleanor Sprake, J Russell, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, R. Cooper, P. Grabowski, L. Pourshahidi, Margo Barker
Nutrition Journal  2018 vol.17 
Downsizing meal items in pre-schoolers using variety Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Sharon Ann Carstairs, S. Caton, P. Blundell-Birtill, B. Rolls, M. M. Hetherington
Appetite 2018 vol.123 pp.460
The feasibility and acceptability of two methods of snack portion control in United Kingdom (UK) preschool children Sophie Reale, Colette Kearney, Marion Hetherington, Fiona Croden, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Sharon Ann Carstairs, Barbara Rolls, Samantha Caton
Nutrients 2018 vol.10 
Trends in the perceived body size of adolescent males and females in Scotland, 1990–2014 Ross David Whitehead, Alina Paula Cosma, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Candace Currie, Dorothy Bruce Currie, Fergus Gilmour Neville, Jo Inchley
International Journal of Public Health 2018 vol.63 pp.69-80
Understanding the science of portion control and the art of downsizing Marion Hetherington, Pam Birtill, Samantha Caton, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Charlotte Evans, Barbara Rolls, Tang Tang
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society   vol.First View 
Engagement in an e-Health Tool (ORION) predicts opioid-dependent patient likelihood of behavioural change Gerald Michael Humphris, Giuseppe Carra, Martin Frisher, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Norbert Scherbaum, Ilana Crome, Alexander Mario Baldacchino
Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems 2017 vol.19 pp.35-44
Direct observation of weight-related communication in primary care Anita Helen Laidlaw, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil
Family Practice: the International Journal for Research in Primary Care 2016 vol.33 pp.327-345
Talk weight Anita Helen Laidlaw, Heather Locke, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil
Primary Health Care Research & Development 2015 vol.16 pp.309-315
Behaviour and burnout in medical students Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Jo Hart, Anita Helen Laidlaw
Medical Education Online 2014 vol.19 
Obesity and dental caries in children Ceara Hayden, Jennifer Bowler, Stephanie Chambers, Ruth Freeman, Gerald Michael Humphris, Derek Richards, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil
Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 2012 
Obesity and eating behaviour in children and adolescents Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Michelle Dalton, Graham Finlayson, John Blundell, Marion Hetherington, Colin Palmer
International Review of Psychiatry 2012 vol.24 pp.200-210
Susceptibility to weight gain. Eating behaviour traits and physical activity as predictors of weight gain during the first year of university Graham Finlayson, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Suzanne Higgs, Andrew Hill, Marion Hetherington
Appetite 2012 vol.58 pp.1091-1098
Association between common variation at the FTO locus and changes in Body Mass Index from infancy to late childhood Ulla Sovio, Dennis O. Mook-Kanamori, Nicole M. Warrington, Robert Lawrence, Laurent Briollais, Colin N.A. Palmer, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Johanna Sandling, Ann-Christine Syvanen, Marika Kaakinen, Lawrie Beilin, Iona Millwood, Amanda Bennett, Jaana Laitinen, Anneli Pouta, John Molitor, George Davey Smith, Yoav Ben-Shlomo, Vincent Jaddoe, Lyle Palmer, Craig Pennell, Tim Cole, Mark McCarthy, Marjo-Riita Jarvelen, Nicholas Timpson
PLoS Genetics 2011 vol.7 
Feeding infants and young children: From guidelines to practice Marion Hetherington, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Diane Jackson, Camille Schwartz
Appetite 2011 vol.57 pp.791-795
Poly-substance use and related harms Tahira Parveen Akbar, Alexander Mario Baldacchino, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Marco Riglietta, Borge Sommer, Gerald Michael Humphris
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 2011 vol.35 pp.1186-1202
Gene-Environment Interactions in Obesity Marion M. Hetherington, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil
 2010 pp.195-203
An Obesity-Associated FTO Gene Variant and Increased Energy Intake in Children Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, R Tavendale, P Watt, MM Hetherington, CN Palmer
New England Journal of Medicine 2008 vol.359 pp.2558 - 2566
Variants of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor - and ß-adrenergic receptor genes are associated with measures of compensatory eating behaviors in young children Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, CN Palmer, B Fischer, P Watt, DJ Wallis, I Murie, M Hetherington
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007 vol.86 pp.1837-1843
Variants of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma- and beta-adrenergic receptor genes are associated with measures of compensatory eating behaviors in young children Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, Colin N. A. Palmer, Bettina Fischer, Peter Watt, Deborah J. Wallis, Inez Murrie, Marion M. Hetherington
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007 vol.86 pp.167-173
Common loss-of-function variants of the epidermal barrier protein filaggrin are a major predisposing factor for atopic dermatitis C N A Palmer, A D Irvine, A Terron-Kwiatkowski, Y W Zhao, H H Liao, S P Lee, D R Goudie, A Sandilands, L E Campbell, F J D Smith, G M O'Regan, R M Watson, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, S J Bale, J G Compton, J J DiGiovanna, P Fleckman, S Lewis-Jones, G Arseculeratne, A Sergeant, C S Munro, B El Houate, K McElreavey, L B Halkjaer, H Bisgaard, S Mukhopadhyay, W H I McLean
Nature Genetics 2006 vol.38 pp.441-446
Energy balance and food intake Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, P Watt, CN Palmer, M Hetherington
Physiology & Behavior 2006 vol.88 pp.227-233
Childhood obesity and socioeconomic status: a novel role for height growth limitation Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, P Watt, IS Murrie, W Wrieden, DJ Wallis, MM Hetherington, C Bolton-Smith, CN Palmer
International Journal of Obesity 2005 vol.29 pp.1199-1203