School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Dr Will Johnson

Photo of Dr Will Johnson

Lecturer in Human Biology and Epidemiology

Will trained in human biology, with a BSc and PhD from Loughborough University (2003-2010), and in epidemiology during postdoctoral positions at the University of Minnesota’s Division for Epidemiology and Community Health (2011-2012), the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL (2013-2014), and MRC Human Nutrition Research (2015-2016). He was appointed as a Lecturer in Human Biology and Epidemiology at Loughborough University in 2016.

Will works with birth cohort and other longitudial studies, primarily in the UK, USA, The Gambia, and Samoa, on a programme of research investigating:

  • The etiologic factors regulating human growth and development and the consequences of body size and composition trajectories for health and wellbeing.
  • Secular trends in human growth and development, in obesity and body composition, and in the impacts of early-life and genetic factors on cardio-metabolic disease risk.
  • Statistical methods to model longitudinal data and investigate complex associations, including multilevel growth curve modelling, latent growth curve modelling, and growth mixture modelling.  

Selected research funding:

  • Dietary determinants of nutritional status among Gambian adolescent girls and young women (Co-PI) (2016). The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science. $49,888
  • A novel tool to identify childhood obesity (PI) (2013). Child Growth Foundation. £56,251
  • Body size trajectories and cardio-metabolic resilience to obesity in three United Kingdom birth cohorts (PI) (2017-2020). MRC New Investigator Research Grant. £429,328
  • Editorial Board member for the Annals of Human Biology
  • Journal Reviewer (e.g., Am J Epidemiol, Ann Hum Biol, Int J Epidemiol, Int J Obes, J Epidemiol Glob Health, J Peds, Longit Life Course Stud, Pediatr Obes, Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol, Pediatrics)
  • Johnson W, Elmrayed SAA, Sosseh F, Prentice AM, Moore SE. 2017. Pre-conceptional and gestational weight trajectories and risk of delivering a small-for-gestational age baby in rural Gambia. Am J Clin Nutr 105(6): 1474-82.
  • Bann D, Johnson W, Li L, Kuh D, Hardy R. 2017. Socioeconomic inequalities in body mass index across adulthood: coordinated analyses of individual participant data from three British birth cohort studies initiated in 1946, 1958, and 1970. Plos Med 14(1): e1002214.
  • Demerath EW, Johnson W, Davern BA, Anderson CG, Shenberger JS, Misra S, Ramel SE. 2017. New body composition reference charts for preterm infants. Am J Clin Nutr 105(1): 70-7.
  • Johnson W, Choh AC, Lee M, Towne B, Czerwinski SA, Demerath EW. 2017. Is infant body mass index associated with adulthood body composition trajectories? An exploratory analysis. Pediatr Obes 12(1):10-8.
  • Cole TJ, Kuh D, Johnson W, Ward KA, Howe LD, Adams JE, Hardy R, Ong KK. 2016. Using SITAR to relate pubertal growth to bone health in later life: the MRC National Survey of Health and Development. Int J Epidemiol 45(4): 1125-34.
  • Johnson W, Li L, Kuh D, Hardy R. 2015. How has the age-related process of overweight or obesity development changed over time? Co-ordinated analyses of individual participant data from five United Kingdom birth cohorts. Plos Med 12: e1001828.
  • Johnson W. 2015. Analytical strategies in human growth research. Am J Hum Biol 27(1): 69-83.
  • Charakida M, Khan T, Johnson W, Finer N, Woodside J, Whincup P, Sattar N, Kuh D, Hardy R, Deanfield JE; on behalf of the NSHD scientific and data collection teams. 2014. Lifelong patterns of BMI and cardiovascular phenotype at 60-64 years: The 1946 British birth cohort. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2: 648-54.