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Get to know...

Shawn traces his interest in public health back to primary school, where biographies of scientists such as Jenner, Pasteur, Lister, and Fleming captured his imagination. His professional qualifications combine two cornerstones of public health science: infectious disease and nutrition, from the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney, respectively.

Shawn says: I started my professional life in an immunology laboratory, but progressed to conduct a range of clinical, community-based and epidemiological studies on relationships between diet and health. My community-based research has investigated the impact of community gardens, food security and acquisition in a range of populations including refugee groups.

I have a long-standing professional connection with France, both as a visiting Professor at Agrocampus Ouest in Rennes, and as a visiting Research Fellow with INSERM in Toulouse. Closer to home, I have worked on development projects in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. In Australia, I have occupied Senior Scientific Advisory roles with the Department of Primary Industries and Queensland Health prior to joining the University sector about 12 years ago.

My most recent international project is based in a very poor regional community in Northern Samar, The Philippines, looking at relationships between food security, nutrition status and risk of infectious disease.

My general field of interest relates to how the world is fed, the various controls and vested interests involved, and how the expanding world population will find food into the future. Answers to these issues span a range of research contexts, from clinical investigations into the impact of various diets on cardiovascular risk, through to how people acquire the food they consume รข€“ issues that are central across the world, in countries both rich and poor.

I was attracted to ACU by its commitment to addressing disparity and disadvantage, which are key determinants of public health. The Faculty of Health Sciences already has a strong record of public health research impact. I am particularly excited to be part of the continuing development of Public Health as a discipline at ACU.


Dr Shawn Somerset

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