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Christopher Gardner

Academic Appointments

  • Professor (Research) of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center)

Contact Information

  • Academic Offices
    Personal Information
    Email Tel (650) 725-2751
    Alternate Contact
    Alana Koehler Administrative Associate Tel Work 650-723-7822

Bio

For the past 20 years most of my research has been focused on investigating the potential health benefits of various dietary components or food patterns, which have been explored in the context of randomized controlled trials in free-living adult populations. Some of the interventions have involved vegetarian diets, soy foods and soy food components, garlic, omega-3 fats/fish oil/flax oil, antioxidants, Ginkgo biloba, and popular weight loss diets. These trials have ranged in duration from 8 weeks to a year, with study outcomes that have included weight, blood lipids and lipoproteins, inflammatory markers, glucose, insulin, blood pressure and body composition. Most of these trials have been NIH-funded. In 2013 we are just finishing one trial investigating the effects of antioxidants on inflammatory markers in ~80 adults with metabolic syndrome. In 2013 we are also near to completing another study that is a weight loss trial among 60 overweight and obese adults that were assigned to either a very low carbohydrate vs. a very low fat diet (both of them emphasizing and maximizing nutritional quality) after being stratified by their insulin resistance status. In that trial we are investigating the possibility that certain individuals are predisposed to be more successful with a particular diet (in this case low-carb or low-fat) based on their insulin resistance status. We were recently funded by NIH to conduct a 5-year low-carb vs. low-fat weight loss study among 400 overweight and obese adults after genotyping them and trying to assign them to a diet that we believe they are more vs. less likely to succeed on. Again, in this case we are trying to find characteristics that would help determine differential response to weight loss diets.

In the past few years my long-term research interests have shifted to include a second line of inquiry that falls more under the umbrella of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). This shift came from the recent realization and appreciation that focusing on "health" as a motivator for changing and improving human food behaviors can drastically limit the potential impact for change. This realization led me to initiate the first annual Stanford Food Summit in 2010, and now continue that in 2011 and 2012. The first Stanford Food Summit in 2010 was attended by hundreds of scholars from across all seven of Stanford's undergraduate and graduate schools (Medicine, Earth Sciences, Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, Law, Business and Education). The subsequent two Stanford Food Summit (2011 and 2012) have provided forums to present the work and findings of several new community-academic partnerships (e.g., Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale, CA, and Second Harvest Food Bank in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties) that have been formed through CBPR pilot project funding we were able to provide due to several generous donors who attended our Food Summits and were inspired by our vision for solution-oriented approaches to food system problems. My long-term vision in this area is to create a world-class Stanford Center for Education and Research in Food Systems, and build on the idea that Stanford is uniquely positioned geographically, culturally, and academically, to address national and global crises in the areas of obesity and diabetes that are directly related to our broken food systems.

Administrative Appointments

  • Scientific Advisory Committee, Culinary Institute of America (2012 - 2015)
  • Nutrition Committee, American Heart Association (2009 - 2013)

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Faculty Advisor, Program in Human Biology (2011-2012)
  • Teaching Award, Stanford Prevention Research Center (2011)
  • Teaching Award, Stanford Prevention Research Center (2005)
  • Distinguished Honorary Award, San Jose State University Department of Nutrition (2003)
  • Regents Fellowship, Univ. Cal. Berkeley (1988)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Scientific Advisory Board Member, Culinary Institute of America (2012 - present)
  • Member, American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention (1994 - present)
  • Member, American Heart Association Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism (2003 - present)
  • Member, Obesity Society (2008 - present)
  • Member, American Society of Nutrition (2011 - present)
  • Member, American Heart Association: Nutrition Committee (2008 - 2012)

Professional Education

B.A.: Colgate University, Philosophy (1981)
PhD: Univ Cal Berkeley, Nutrition Science (1993)

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

For the past 20 years most of my research has been focused on investigating the potential health benefits of various dietary components or food patterns, which have been explored in the context of randomized controlled trials in free-living adult populations. Some of the interventions have involved vegetarian diets, soy foods and soy food components, garlic, omega-3 fats/fish oil/flax oil, antioxidants, Ginkgo biloba, and popular weight loss diets. These trials have ranged in duration from 8 weeks to a year, with study outcomes that have included weight, blood lipids and lipoproteins, inflammatory markers, glucose, insulin, blood pressure and body composition. Most of these trials have been NIH-funded. In 2013 we are just finishing one trial investigating the effects of antioxidants on inflammatory markers in ~80 adults with metabolic syndrome. In 2013 we are also near to completing another study that is a weight loss trial among 60 overweight and obese adults that were assigned to either a very low carbohydrate vs. a very low fat diet (both of them emphasizing and maximizing nutritional quality) after being stratified by their insulin resistance status. In that trial we are investigating the possibility that certain individuals are predisposed to be more successful with a particular diet (in this case low-carb or low-fat) based on their insulin resistance status. We were recently funded by NIH to conduct a 5-year low-carb vs. low-fat weight loss study among 400 overweight and obese adults after genotyping them and trying to assign them to a diet that we believe they are more vs. less likely to succeed on. Again, in this case we are trying to find characteristics that would help determine differential response to weight loss diets.

In the past few years my long-term research interests have shifted to include a second line of inquiry that falls more under the umbrella of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). This shift came from the recent realization and appreciation that focusing on "health" as a motivator for changing and improving human food behaviors can drastically limit the potential impact for change. This realization led me to initiate the first annual Stanford Food Summit in 2010, and now continue that in 2011 and 2012. The first Stanford Food Summit in 2010 was attended by hundreds of scholars from across all seven of Stanford's undergraduate and graduate schools (Medicine, Earth Sciences, Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, Law, Business and Education). The subsequent two Stanford Food Summit (2011 and 2012) have provided forums to present the work and findings of several new community-academic partnerships (e.g., Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale, CA, and Second Harvest Food Bank in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties) that have been formed through CBPR pilot project funding we were able to provide due to several generous donors who attended our Food Summits and were inspired by our vision for solution-oriented approaches to food system problems. My long-term vision in this area is to create a world-class Stanford Center for Education and Research in Food Systems, and build on the idea that Stanford is uniquely positioned geographically, culturally, and academically, to address national and global crises in the areas of obesity and diabetes that are directly related to our broken food systems.

Teaching

Courses

2013-14

Prior Year Coursescourses of Christopher Gardner

Publications

Publications

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Publication Topics

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