MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory

About us

MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory (MRC EWL) conducts internationally-renowned research aimed at improving health through nutrition.

Our mission is to conduct nutrition research and surveillance to improve the health of the population with a focus on cardiometabolic risk and obesity, musculoskeletal health, intestinal function and nutritional vulnerabilities.

To do this we take an integrative ‘molecules-to-man’, multidisciplinary approach to address priority nutritional research questions of public health and clinical relevance by advancing knowledge through discovery science, developing innovative methodologies and applying specialist expertise. We work to translate our research through the exchange of knowledge and technology with governments, nutrition and health professionals, industry, academia and the public.

We also aim to provide specialist scientific training and career development in the nutritional, biological and medical sciences. MRC EWL is one of only a handful of institutions worldwide dedicated to advancing and translating human nutrition research as a cognate scientific discipline and providing world-class training in integrative nutrition science.


The unit is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and is based in the purpose-built Elsie Widdowson Laboratory.

MRC EWL was established in 2016, following restructuring and refocusing of the research interests of MRC Human Nutrition Research which was formed in 1998 following the restructuring of the Dunn Nutrition Unit. MRC EWL advances the distinguished history of nutrition research in Cambridge, which began in 1927.

We act to:

  • Advance knowledge through discovery science, the development of innovative methodologies and the application of specialist expertise in priority areas.
  • Improve health and economic advantage through the exchange of knowledge and technology to inform nutrition policy and practice.
  • Provide opportunities for training and to build capacity for nutrition research
  • Foster a dialogue with the public on nutrition science and its implications for health.

Privacy Notice

The MRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, to view our Privacy Notice please follow this link: