Public Seminars

Global Disability Research Group Seminar Series

focusing on cross-disciplinary global disability research.
To join the mailing list for this seminar series please e-mail your details to Ellie Cole.

Global Health (IGH) Symposia

Members of the department contribute to IGH public meetings which bring together expertise on global health issues from all faculties within UCL.
Contact: Sarah Ball, Tel: (internal x82 72 2352)

2011 Seminar Series

Speaker: Ms Susanne Meisel

Title: 'Genetic Test Feedback for Susceptibility to Weight Gain – Emotional and Motivational Effects’

Date & Time: Friday 7th October 1pm-2pm

Venue: G37 & G38


The evidence base for the genetic contribution to obesity has been firmly established, with FTO being the first gene identified to contribute to overweight in the population.  Genetic tests for many conditions, including obesity, are already sold directly to consumers over the internet, and the idea of personalizing healthcare based on genetic risk profiles is becoming increasingly popular.  However, little is known about psychological and behavioural reactions to genetic risk information.  Proponents of genetic testing assert that knowledge about genetic risk will motivate positive behaviour change, whereas opponents fear that it might lead to fatalism or false sense of immunity to disease.  The aim of the PhD is to investigate psychological impact of genetic risk feedback for susceptibility to weight gain using qualitative and quantitative studies in two samples (students and overweight/obese adults). The contribution of FTO feedback to weight control will be tested in students in their first year at university (n = 1500) who will be randomized to receive simple weight control advice with or without FTO feedback.  Outcomes seek to help build the evidence base for effects of genetic feedback, and help to develop targeted interventions for those at higher risk for weight gain.

Susanne obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.  Working at the ‘Body Image Lab’ while studying sparked her interest into research related to eating behaviour and weight.  After completing her Master’s degree in Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, she was awarded a scholarship by Cancer Research UK to undertake a PhD under supervision of Professor Jane Wardle.

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