Dr Michael Zulyniak, Ph.D., F.H.E.A.

Dr Michael Zulyniak, Ph.D., F.H.E.A.


My research focusses on the molecular determinants of cardiometabolic diseases (e.g., obesity, diabetes, and CVD) in high-risk populations and their translation into early predictors of disease and areas for targeted therapy, with particular interest in maternal-fetal exposures in pregnancy, their effect on in utero development, and offspring future heath risks. This interest is best examined through a cross-disciplinary lens that harnesses and networks the strengths of genomic, metabolomic, nutritional, molecular, and clinical data and pairs them with advanced statistical methods to unravel their complexity and permit the identification of:

  1. the distinct and combined impacts of lifestyle and biological contributors to health,
  2. early predictors and biomarkers of disease risk,
  3. molecular-level understanding of the etiology and progression of disease between populations groups, and
  4. prevention and management strategies that are more effective in high-risk populations.

This approach is highly effective and allows for the effects of the exposure on the disease to be examined and understood from numerous perspectives. Most recently, paring metabolomic, genomic, and clinical data allowed us to confirm that subtle underlying differences in metabolism – related to cholesterol and  fatty acid metabolism – contribute to the disparity in risk for gestational dysglycemia that is observed between some ethnic groups. With this confirmed, we are now focussing on this aspect more closely in large cohorts and clinical trials to understand the moderating effect of lifestyle and pharmacological treatment options more intricately and bring us closer to demonstrating effective mediators of these metabolic perturbations and disease risk for clinical use.



  • Program Manager: Food Science and Nutrition
  • Lead Academic Tutor

Research interests

  • The interaction between genes and environment towards health and disease;
  • Untanlging the genomic and metabolic triggers of disease risk;
  • Identification of early predictors and biomakrers of disease; and
  • Assessment of generalizbility of research evidence across diverse popaultions.



Principle Investigator

  • BBSRC. GenetiC and Lifestyle DeterminAnts of Newborn BiRthweight and AdIposiTY (CLARITY)
  • Wellcome Trust. Early maternal predictors of infant birth weight and adult cardiometabolic risk in South Asians
  • N8 AgriFood. Greenhouse gas and Dietary choices Open source Toolkit (GDOT) Hack-Nights.
  • Hamilton Health Sciences. New Investigator Fund. Trimethylamine-N-Oxide (TMAO) and Myocardial Infarction in Multi-Ethnic Canadian and Global Populations
  • CIHR. Randomized Controlled Trials: Mentoring Plan to Harness Modern Analytical technologies in a randomized clinical trial (RCT) setting to discover the optimal diet and exercise intervention to reduce GDM in South Asian mothers. 


  • CIHR. A culturally-tailored personalizeD nutrition intErvention in South ASIan women at risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: a randomized trial (DESI-GDM).
  • WHO. Systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of dietary PUFA on cardiometabolic, atopic, and neurocognitive development in children, pregnant women, and adults.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • Research Fellowship. McMaster University (Canada). Department of Medicine.
  • PhD. University of Guelph (Canada), Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
  • MSc. University of Aberdeen (UK) Molecular Exercise Physiology
  • BSc. University of Saskatchewan (Canada), Kinesiology

Professional memberships

  • Association for the Study of Obesity (Member)
  • The Nutrition Society (Member)
  • International DOHAD Society (Member)
  • Lifestyle Genomics (Journal, Associate Editor)

Student education

I lead two modules – (i) molecular and cellular biology, and (ii) nutritional and metabolic drivers of meternal and offspring health in pregngnacy – and deliver guest lectures on clinical nutrition, omics’ technologies, systmetic-reviews and meta-analyses, and obesity. I also mentor 2nd year undergrauate students and final year undergraduate and MSc research projects within the school of Food Science and Nutrition and the School of Medicine.

Research groups and institutes

  • Nutrition and Public Health
  • Nutritional Epidemiology
  • Obesity, Cancer and Metabolic Disease
  • Human Nutrition and Lifestyle Intervention

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>