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Dr Caroline Elizabeth Childs BSc (Hons) PhD RNutr

Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences

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Dr Caroline Childs is Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Dr Caroline Childs' research investigates the effect of nutrition upon the immune system. Her 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, and Dr Childs is currently a Member of the ILSI Europe Expert Group on Immune Competence and Co-Chair of ILSI Europe’s Nutrition, Immunity and Inflammation Task Force.

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.

In 2018 Dr Childs received both the student-nominated SUSU Faculty of Medicine most engaging lecturer award and the staff-nominated Faculty of Medicine teaching award. 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 and member of Communications Committee of Institute of Developmental Sciences. 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 is 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 The Journal of Nutrition and 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 are to characterise the role of lipids, probiotics and prebiotics on immune, gut and neurological outcomes.

Current 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
  • (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

MSc Public Health dissertation supervision:

  • (2018) Brendan Reese, Joan Kabche
  • (2017) Romeo Toriro, Charlotte Hain, Theodora Amuna
  • (2016) Faith Nhemachena, Lakshika Ashar

MSc Diabetes Best Practice dissertation supervision:

  • (2019) ASM Abdullah

BM5 Y3 Research Project supervision:

  • (2018) David Murray

Research group

Human Development and Health

  • Co-Chair of ILSI Europe’s Nutrition, Immunity and Inflammation Task Force.
  • Member of the ILSI Europe Expert Group on Immune Competence.
  • 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, The Journal of Nutrition, Nutrition Bulletin.
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Book Chapters



Deputy Programme Lead:

  • BM6, Faculty of Medicine

Module lead:

  • MEDI0011 Human Structure & Function 1
  • MEDI6067 Assessment of Nutritional Status

Subject lead:

  • Molecular Cell Biology, BM5, 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 supported her PhD students Luke Durkin and Stefania Del Fabbro to develop a ‘Good Bug, Bad Bug’ game that emphasises the importance of the gut microbiome and its interaction with diet and lifestyle factors.

The activity has been exhibited at several events in the local area, including the New Forest Show (2018 and 2019), Southampton MELA festival (2018), Institute of Developmental Sciences ‘Fake Food!’ event (2018) and ‘Toxic’ event (2019), and the University of Southampton Science and Engineering Festival (2019). 


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

(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: SGH/IDS

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