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Professor Shane A Norris BSc, BA, PhD, FAAS (Fellow of the African Academy of Science), MASSAf (Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa)

Professorial Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, Research Professor at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa,Director of the South African Medical Research Council Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit and DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development

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Shane Norris is a professorial fellow within the Global Health Research Institute in the School of Health and Human Development

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandela

I am a Research Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and a Professorial Fellow at the University of Southampton. After my PhD in Physiology, I was awarded a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Training Fellowship to the University of Cambridge where I conducted research in the field of developmental origins of obesity and diabetes. Thereafter, I was the recipient of an African Research Leader Award from the UK MRC/DIFD, which expanded my work by examining the impact of maternal co-morbidities (obesity, HIV, depression, anaemia, etc) on pregnancy and delivery outcomes. I have over 26 years of research experience in cohorts and lifecourse epidemiology. 


I received the Nutrition Society Award for outstanding contribution to the field of nutrition in South Africa in 2018 by the Nutrition Society of South Africa.
I received the Vice-Chancellor Research Award in 2019 from the University of the Witwatersrand.

From my research on early child growth and weight gain patterns on adolescent pubertal development and body composition, and risk of obesity and adult type-2 diabetes in South Africa and other low- and middle-income countries, I found: (i) the significance of maternal and infant health and nutrition to optimise growth; and (ii) the importance of minimising excessive weight gain later in adolescence. This work impacted on the re-formulation of the South African Nutrition Directorate's Strategic Policy Document.

As a member of the External Advisory Group of the World Health Organisation Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!) and I am working with a multisectoral

stakeholder group in South Africa to implement the AAHA Guidelines.


PhD, Physiology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2004
BA (Hons) Psychology, University of South Africa, 2008
Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, 2007
Advanced Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, 2008
BSc (Hon), Physiology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1996
BSc, University of South Africa, 1995

Appointments held:

Research Professor, University of the Witwatersrand, since 2014
Professorial Fellow (part-time), University of Southampton, since 2019


Lifecourse epidemiology, particularly focusing on the preconception health and first 1000 days periods to optimise maternal and child health and development

Research Projects:

Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative, a global research consortium of 4 harmonised RCTs in Canada, China, India and South Africa. These are preconception trials enrolling over 20000 women to optimise their physical and mental health so as to improve her health outcomes and reduce the risk of obesity in the offspring.

External Research Groups:

Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit

DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence of Human Development

Research group

Human Development and Health

Support the Global Health agenda at the University of Southampton and develop collaborative partnerships with academic institutions in Africa.

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Professor Shane A Norris
Faculty of Medicine, Room AB215, Mailpoint 801, South Academic Block, University Hospital Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD
Professor Shane A Norris's personal home page
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