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Dr Majella O’Keeffe is a graduate of the BSc nutritional science at UCC. She completed her PhD at Cardiff University before moving to New York where she joined Columbia University, New York Obesity and Nutrition Research Centre as a research fellow. On completion of her post-doctoral training she moved to London where she graduated, first in class, with a post graduate diploma in Dietetics from King’s College London and was a recipient of the Van Der Bergh prize. After graduation she worked as a clinical research dietitian at Barts NHS Foundation Trust and Queen Mary of London in the area of maternal obesity. In 2014, she re-joined King’s College London as a post-doctoral research dietitian working in the area of gastrointestinal health before obtaining a lectureship in nutrition and dietetics where she taught across multiple programmes including the BSc and MSc in Dietetics at King’s. In 2020, she returned to Ireland as a lecturer in the School of Public Health at UCC before being appointed as senior lecturer in the School of Food and Nutritional Science at UCC where she leads on the MSc Human Nutrition and Dietetics.
Dr O’Keeffe’s research interest is on the prevention and management of obesity, particularly maternal, child and adolescent obesity. She is the principal investigator for the evaluation of the South East London (SEL) Healthy Weight Programme which is funded by Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. The SEL Healthy Weight Programme is a multi-disciplinary weight management programme which utilities either diet and lifestyle approach (BALANCE) or a total meal replacement approach (FAST) to weight loss. She is also funded by the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research where she is a co-investigator on a project investigating metabolic surgery for the treatment of non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH). She is currently co-investigator on two international Medical Research Council funded projects which focus on prevention of obesity and cardiovascular disease:
- Strengthening primary care systems for prevention & control of cardiovascular diseases in Kenya: feasibility study of health kiosks in markets which focuses on the creation of public health kiosks in community markets in order to improve the prevention and control of obesity and cardiovascular diseases in a deprived rural setting in Kenya.
Strengthening the primary care system for adolescent indigenous health in Brazil: Integrating community health workers into the school setting involves co-development of an intervention in schools using community health workers to deliver targeted services for health promotion for Indigenous adolescents. My work also investigates the role of the wider environment, particularly the school and school-foodscape, on nutrition and health related outcomes in young people with projects based in London, South America and the Middle East.