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The University of Southampton
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Dr Caroline Elizabeth Childs BSc (Hons) PhD RNutr

Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences

Dr Caroline Elizabeth Childs's photo

Dr Caroline Childs is Programme Lead of the BM6 Programme within Medicine at the University of Southampton. 

Dr Caroline Childs' research investigates the effect of nutrition upon the immune system.

There is clear evidence that nutrition can benefit your immune system - both by providing the building blocks and energy required for it to function properly, but also indirectly by interacting with your microbiome

Dr Childs’ BSc (Hons) Nutritional Sciences (1st class) from the University of Southampton was followed by PhD research on “The effect of gender, pregnancy and diet upon tissue fatty acid composition and immune function”. She undertook two postdoctoral nutrition research projects in the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, and during this time was named as one of the top three young investigators in Lipids and Nutrition at the International Society for the Study of Fatty acids and Lipids conference. 

Dr Childs’ research to date has investigated nutrients including dietary fatty acids, probiotics, and prebiotics. Experimental approaches have included assessment tissue composition, immune function, inflammatory status, immunosenescence, and the gut microbiota. Her scientific reputation has resulted in numerous invitations to speak at both national and international events and conferences.

Dr Childs holds considerable expertise in flow cytometry, and led a working group responsible for the development of flow cytometry facilities at the University of Reading, and was appointed as a specialist advisor to the Food Standards Agency on the conduct and interpretation of analytical flow cytometry. 

Dr Childs has received both student and peer-nominated teaching awards. From student nominations she received the SUSU Faculty of Medicine most engaging lecturer award (Winner 2018), and Faculty of Medicine best pastoral support (Highly commended, 2020). In 2018 colleagues nominated Dr Childs for teaching excellence in BM5, BM6 and MSc Public Health, and for her outreach activities including inspiring school age children via LifeLab’s ‘Meet the Scientist’ sessions. 

Dr Childs is an academic integrity officer for the Faculty of Medicine. Her external education commitments include a post as external examiner for the BSc Biology of Health and Disease at Liverpool John Moores University, and visiting lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire.

Dr Childs has an active role in professional societies, and is a Nutrition Society Ambassador for the University of Southampton, and a South East Regional Representative for the Association for Nutrition. Dr Childs is Associate Editor on the Editorial Board of Nutritional Immunology, a specialty of Frontiers in Immunology and Nutrition, and an Editorial Board member of Nutrition Bulletin.


Appointments held:

Research interests

Dr Childs research to date has encompassed the role that dietary fatty acids, probiotics and prebiotics have upon outcomes including tissue composition, immune function, inflammatory status, immunosenescence, and the gut microbiota.  

Dr Childs’ current research aims to characterise the role of nutrients and ingredients upon immune, gut and neurological outcomes

Current PhD Students:

  • (2017) Luke Durkin: Inflammatory responses of intestinal epithelial cells and their modulation by omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics. Supervisors: Professor Philip Calder and Dr Caroline Childs
  • (2017) Stefania Del Fabbro: Direct effects of galactooligosaccharides upon peripheral blood mononuclear cells.  Supervisors: Dr Caroline Childs and Professor Philip Calder

Previous PhD Students

  • (2018) Andreea Marat: Effects of vitamins C and D, and the mineral zinc on inflammation and immunity studied in vitro. Supervisors: Professor Philip Calder, Dr Elizabeth Miles and Dr Caroline Childs

MSc Public Health dissertation supervision:

  • (2020) Robyn Creeden
  • (2020) Rafaela Stefanou
  • (2019) Abdulmalik Yusuf

MSc Diabetes Best Practice dissertation supervision:

  • (2019) ASM Abdullah

BM5 Y3 Research Project supervision:

  • (2020) Mohammed Elias Farhad
  • (2020) Tahira Mohammed
  • (2018) David Murray

Research group

Human Development and Health

  • South East regional representative for the Association for Nutrition.
  • Nutrition Society Ambassador at the University of Southampton.
  • Guest lecturer at University of Hertfordshire.
  • External examiner at Liverpool John Moores University.
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Immunology and Nutrition.
  • Editorial Board member, Nutrition Bulletin.
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Book Chapters



Programme Lead:

  • BM6, Faculty of Medicine

Module lead:

  • MEDI0011 Human Structure & Function 1

Subject lead:

  • Nutrition and Metabolism, Faculty of Medicine

Dr Childs believes that public outreach is essential both to inspire young people to enter STEM careers, and to inform the public about current research developments and their context. Dr Childs established the @UoS_Nutrition twitter page to share Nutrition News, Research and Events from Staff and Students across the University of Southampton.

Dr Childs supported her students and colleagues to develop both online and in-person public outreach activities linked to nutrition science. Luke Durkin and Stefania Del Fabbro developed a 'Good Bug, Bad Bug' game that emphasises the importance of the gut microbiome and its interaction with diet and lifestyle factors. Helena Fisk and Dr Ella Baker developed 'Go Fish', a game which provides Healthy Fat Facts for children and adults.

The activity has been exhibited at several events in the local area, including the New Forest Show, Southampton MELA festival, Institute of Developmental Sciences public events, and the University of Southampton Science and Engineering Festival. 

Childs' public outreach activity 1
Childs' public outreach activity 2

(2020) Interviewed by AYMES on Nutrition & Immunity

(2020) Interviewed for Food Matter Live table talk podcast on the role of the gut microbiome in immune health

(2019) Speaker at Yakult Study Day on microbiota and immune development

(2019) Interviewed by Peta Bee, The Times. Why we should all be eating yoghurt every day.

(2018) Interviewed by Olga Khazan, The Atlantic. There’s Something About Yogurt

(2018) Interview on KCBS Radio, San Francisco, USA. Age related changes in the response to seasonal influenza vaccination

(2015) Radio interview, the Katie Martin Show, BBC Radio Solent. The NiPPeR study, University of Southampton

Dr Caroline Elizabeth Childs
IDS Building, MP887 Southampton General Hospital

Room Number NNN: SGH/IDS

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