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Dr Stephen Wootton BSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition, Operational Lead Southampton Biomedical Research Unit (Nutrition, Diet & Lifestyle) Southampton Centre for Biomedical Research

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Dr Stephen Wootton is Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Dr Wootton joined the University in 1984, having graduated in nutrition at the University of London and completing a PhD on the influence of nutrition and exercise on skeletal muscle energy metabolism. He has been responsible for developing nutrition within the undergraduate medical curriculum and played a leading role in the design and delivery of the principal national educational initiatives to improve the safety and effectiveness of doctors in delivering nutritional care. In his programme of research, he was brought the basic science of nutrition into clinical care using stable isotope tracer methodologies to study how diet, lifestyle and disease influence our demands for energy and nutrients, and how the way in which nutrients, especially lipids, are handled in health and in infectious and inflammatory disease. His studies have involved close collaboration with clinical colleagues across many specialties and span across the lifecourse to include studies in neonates and malnourished infants, in children with IBD and Cystic Fibrosis, in pregnancy, and in adults with IBD, HIV, obesity and diabetes. Through his work, and expertise in the clinical application of isotopic tracer methodologies, Dr Wootton serves as an advisor to the ICGN and the IAEA.


BSc, Human Nutrition & Dietetics, University of London (1978)
PhD, University of Loughborough (1984)

Appointments held

Research Fellow - Sports Council Research Group, University of Loughborough 1977-1984

Lecturer - Institute of Human Nutrition, University of Southampton 1984-1998

Senior Lecturer - Institute of Human Nutrition, University of Southampton 1998 – current

Research interests

Dr Wootton’s research has a focus on the way that diet, lifestyle and disease alter our demand for energy and nutrients and the way that nutrients are handled within the body.

How dietary lipid is handled within the body is directly related to the development of malnutrition, cardiometabolic disease and obesity, yet the factors that determine the physiological and metabolic capability of an individual to process lipid from the diet are poorly understood. Using stable isotope tracer methodologies (13C), we have established an internationally recognized program of research that directly examines the processes by which lipids are digested and absorbed, partitioned from the circulating lipoproteins within peripheral tissues and their subsequent metabolism, oxidation or storage.

Studies conducted in healthy children and adults have shown that these processes are influenced by age, gender, the type of fat in the background diet and physical activity. Studies in premature and malnourished infants and children with cystic fibrosis have demonstrated the clinical utility of differentiating between maldigestion and malabsorption in clinical management. Studies in dyslipidaemic patients with NIDDM and HIV have for the first time differentiated between the processes by which triglycerides may be cleared from circulating lipoproteins by lipoprotein lipase and the processes by which the products of hydrolysis are entrapped and taken up into the peripheral cell. Studies of the metabolism of n3-PUFA in men, women and premature have directly determined the capacity for EPA and DHA synthesis and how they are influenced by diet. In the same way, we have shown that a woman’s capacity to regulate and partition n3-PUFA in response to pregnancy will importantly determine the effective supply of EPA and DHA to her fetus. Studies in adults with Crohns disease have shown that n3-PUFA supplementation can improve both the inflammatory process and immune system, which may impact on bone health and clinical outcomes.

Our focus now is to apply a nutritional lens to study the way that disease alters the demand for energy and nutrients in under-nourished neonates and children with IBD, and how standardized approaches to organizing and delivering nutritional care can manage the underlying disease processes, meet the nutritional demands of the child and lead to better growth, development and longer-term outcomes. In particular, we are studying the way that the gut microbiome can modulate the inflammatory processes within the gut and the degree of gut injury and bacterial translocation and how these processes can be influenced by nutritional care, including synbiotics..

Within the NIHR Biomedical Research Units at Southampton, we have established a new state-of-art Medical Mass Spectrometry Unit which brings together a range of novel analytical mass spectrometry platforms that include the capacity for dynamic studies of physiological state or metabolic flux (IRMS and FAMS), breathomics (SIFT-MS) as well as proteomic and lipidomic platforms. Taken together, these provide a unique resource for conducting human nutritional studies and biomarker discovery.

If you would like to join or collaborate with this program of translational research at Southampton, please contact Dr Wootton.


Human Development and Health

Affiliate Department(s)

Human Development and Physiology

Research project(s)

CANDO-3: Body composition and chemotherapy toxicity in women with early breast cancer

Chemotherapy doses are currently calculated from a patient’s height and weight. Patients with the same height and weight can have different amounts of blood, muscle and fatty tissue which can all affect the behaviour of chemotherapy drugs. This may be important for optimising chemotherapy treatment.

Postgraduate student supervision

Successfully supervised to completion 16 PhD, 4 MD and 5 MPhil students.

Faculty of Medicine

Responsible for development and oversight of training in nutrition within the UG medical curriculum and post-qualification training of doctors, and within the MSC Public Health Nutrition.

Southampton NIHR Biomedical Research Unit (Nutrition, Diet & Lifestyle)

Infrastructure Lead; Training Lead; Principle Investigator – Nutrition in children with IBD (with Dr R.M.Beattie)

National and International Responsibilities

Director, Trustee and Member of Council, Association for Nutrition

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Book Chapters


  • Dr Wootton is acknowledged as one of the principal nutrition educators within the UK in the training of nutritionists, doctors and other health professionals at Undergraduate and post-qualification levels and in the professional development of those responsible for delivering clinical care and public health.
  • He is responsible for nutrition training within UG medical curriculum and is one of the three leads working on behalf of the Intercollegiate Group in Human Nutrition(under the auspices of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges) to develop the national undergraduate core curriculum and eLearning resource material for use across all medical schools in the UK.
  • He is a principal member of the MSC Public Health Nutrition teaching faculty with specific responsibility for the nutritional science component of the course.
  • He is the Training Lead for the Southampton NIHR Biomedical Research Unit (Nutrition, Diet & Lifestyle) and is a member of the NIHR Trainees Co-ordinating Centre BRU Training Group.
  • Dr Wootton is the Course Director of the Intercollegiate Group Foundation Course in Nutrition at Southampton, is a member of the Intercollegiate Group Management Team, and is a key faculty member of the RCPCH Course in Paediatric Nutrition and the Advanced Practical Nutrition Support Course.
Dr Stephen Wootton
Phone: (023) 8120 4199 Fax: (023) 8120 4945 Email:

Room Number: SGH/CF/MP113

Telephone:(023) 8120 4199
Facsimile:(023) 8120 4945

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