Chris started a Doctoral Prize Fellowship in 2022; a highly-competitive personal award for early-career academics to establish their own ambitious research agenda, develop their skills as independent researchers, and position themselves as future research leaders. Chris’s research expertise is in the field of eating behaviour where he investigates psychological drivers of episodic eating behaviour and interventions to increase the health span of adults. He is also a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Prior to his fellowship, Chris worked as a Research Associate in the Centre for Lifestyle, Medicine and Behaviour at Loughborough University, and was a University Teacher in Psychology where he lectured and supervised students on modules across all Parts of the BPS-accredited Psychology undergraduate programme. Chris completed his PhD in 2020 at Loughborough University which explored the impact of food-to-mealtime associations on expected satiety, eating rate and food intake in adult humans. Chris also completed an MSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition in 2017 at Loughborough University, where he was awarded the GlaxoSmithKline Award for the highest degree mark on the programme, and an undergraduate master’s degree in 2012 at the University of St Andrews.

Chris’s main research interests are in the field of eating behaviour. Specifically, his research explores psychological drivers of episodic eating behaviour and interventions to increase the health span of adults. He is part of The Centre for Lifestyle Medicine and Behaviour (CLiMB) at Loughborough University and receives support from the Leicester Biomedical Research Centre.

Chris’s main research focus during his two-year fellowship is on the Veggie Brek project, a programme of research aiming to increase children’s vegetable intake. He is also designing and delivering other collaborative and interdisciplinary research programmes exploring food choice and portion-size decisions in various cohorts, such as with older adults.

His PhD research focussed on understanding how the association between a food and the mealtime at which it is usually consumed influences perceptions about the fillingness of the food, the portion selected, and the amount of food consumed. Chris’s work was recognised with numerous awards such as the John Guest Phillips Scholarship (2019), best poster presentation at the British Feeding and Drinking Group conference (2019) and the LGBT+ Researchers in STEM conference (2019), best oral presentation at the Loughborough Research conference (2018) and Top 3 in the Loughborough University PhD Overall Impact Award (2019).

Chris has worked with Cambridge University Press and Assessment since 2020 to write articles, design and deliver webinars, and provide content for books in the fields of psychology and eating behaviour. He has also worked with Loughborough University on various projects since 2018, such as being a consultant on a collaborative project with the English Institute of Sport and Imago to design a research-led beneficial eating environment at the Loughborough University Elite Athlete Centre. He was also the lead psychologist on an outreach project which created an online tool for prospective students to discover which areas of university life might suit their skills and preferences, incorporating validated psychometric measures of personality. He has also engaged in enterprise work for the Association of British Insurers and for Everyone Active.

Chris co-founded the British Feeding and Drinking Group (BFDG) Early-Career Researcher Network in 2020 and chaired the organising committee for the 2022 main BFDG conference. He is also an advocate of Open Research and was a committee member of the Loughborough University Open Research Collective in 2021. He has also presented at numerous international conferences and invited talks at various universities and research groups.

Chris has also been heavily involved and recognised for his work promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in Higher Education, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for services to welfare and diversity at Loughborough Students’ Union in 2020. He is currently the Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network at the University and a member of the Institutional Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team.

Featured publications

  • McLeod, C. J., James, L. J. & Witcomb, G. L. (2020). Eating rate and food intake are reduced when a food is presented in an ‘unusual’ meal context. Appetite, 154, 104799.
  • McLeod, C. J., James, L. J., Brunstrom, J. M., & Witcomb, G. L. (2020). The influence of expected satiety on portion size selection is reduced when food is presented in an ‘unusual’ meal context. Appetite, 147, 104550.
  • McLeod, C. J., James, L. J. & Witcomb, G. L. (2020). Food-to-mealtime associations influence food selection in a UK-based sample. Arch Nutri Food Sci, 1(1), 15-19.
  • Barutcu, A., Taylor, S. McLeod, C. J., Witcomb, G. L. & James, L. J. (2019). Planned aerobic exercise increases energy intake at the preceding meal. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 130, 297.