Dr Cecile Knai

PhD MPH RNutr (Public Health)

Associate Professor
of public health policy

Room 118

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7958 8155

My first degree was in European history at McGill University, followed by a Master’s degree in public health nutrition at the University of California at Berkeley, and a PhD in public health policy at LSHTM in 2007.

Prior to joining LSHTM I worked at the World Health Organization's Regional Office for Europe (Copenhagen, Denmark), most of which was spent as a technical officer in the food and nutrition unit.


Faculty of Public Health and Policy
Department of Health Services Research and Policy


I co-organise the Fundamental Public Health Nutrition module with Professor Suzanne Filteau.

I also teach on the following modules: Health Promotion Theory, Nutrition-related Chronic Disease, and Nutrition Programme Planning.

I am the Exam Board Chair for the MSc Nutrition for Global Health.


I conduct public health policy research, including on the commercial determinants of health, the impact of voluntary agreements on public health objectives, and conflicts of interest in food and nutrition. For example I was co-PI of a recent study on public health practitioners’ attitudes and practices of taking research funding from corporate sources. I recently established the International Research Alliance on Public Health Governance to conduct cross-disciplinary research on public health policies, including formal and informal mechanisms through which state and non-state actors gain agency and shape relevant policy. One of the group’s first papers has recently been published in Milbank Quarterly on taking a systems perspective to analyse the commercial determinants of health.

I also conduct research on food and nutrition policy and food systems analysis, public health governance, and obesity and inequalities. I am co-PI of a Welcome Trust project on sustainable food systems and involved in a European Commission funded project on systems approaches to addressing adolescent obesity

I provide public health research leadership at the LSHTM Policy Innovation Research Unit, along with Professor Mark Petticrew. Our most recent work includes the evaluation of the “Public Health Responsibility Deal”, a public-private partnership aiming to improve public health in England.

Research Area
Health policy
Public health
Research : policy relationship
Qualitative methods
Policy analysis
Disease and Health Conditions
Chronic disease

Selected Publications

The future of environmental sustainability labelling on food products.
Brown KA; Harris F; Potter C; Knai C
The Lancet Planetary Health
Attitudes and practices of public health academics towards research funding from for-profit organizations: cross-sectional survey.
Nakkash R; Ali A; Alaouie H; Asmar K; Hirschhorn N; Mugharbil S; Nuwayhid I; London L; Saban A; Rashid SF
International journal of public health
Accepting industry-sponsored research funding: What factors influence attitudes and practices of public health academics globally?
Nakkash R; Ali AK; Alaouie H; Asmar K; Hirschhorn N; Mugharbil S; Nuwayhid I; London L; Saban A; Rashid SF
International Journal of Public Health
Purchase trends of processed foods and beverages in urban India.
Law C; Green R; Kadiyala S; Shankar B; Knai C; Brown KA; Dangour AD; Cornelsen L
Global Food Security
Recruiting the \"Heavy-Using Loyalists of Tomorrow\": An Analysis of the Aims, Effects and Mechanisms of Alcohol Advertising, Based on Advertising Industry Evaluations.
Maani Hessari N; Bertscher A; Critchlow N; Fitzgerald N; Knai C; Stead M; Petticrew M
International journal of environmental research and public health
Implications of a complexity perspective for systematic reviews and guideline development in health decision making.
Petticrew M; Knai C; Thomas J; Rehfuess EA; Noyes J; Gerhardus A; Grimshaw JM; Rutter H; McGill E
BMJ global health
Investigating system-level drivers of obesity with adolescents: a group model-building exercise
Savona N; Knai C; Macauley T
See more Publications