Professor John Blundell

Professor John Blundell


I hold the Research Chair of PsychoBiology. I am a Senior Researcher in the Appetite Control and Energy Balance Research Group (ACEB) former Head of the BioPsychology (Nutrition) Group and the founder Director of the Institute of Psychological Sciences.

I am a highly cited member of the research community with an h-index of 122 (January 2023)

My early study was in Psychology and his later training was in Neuroscience at the Institute of Neurology in London. I have been active in research on the mechanisms of appetite control for more than 40 years.

The early research was concerned with the operation of brain centres then known as the hunger and satiety centres. During the upsurge of pharmacological and neurochemical investigations during the 1970s John Blundell was instrumental in establishing a role for the neurotransmitter serotonin in appetite control. One landmark paper from that period (Blundell JE (1977). "Is there a role for serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) in feeding?" International Journal of Obesity, 1: 15-42) has since become a citation classic.

Brief Curriculum Vitae - Professor John E. Blundell

  • Training in Neuroscience - Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, University of London (1965-1970)
  • PhD - Faculty of Science, University of London (1970)
  • 1974 – Diploma d’Onore. Unione Italiana contro l’Obesita
  • 1975 – Founder member of BFDG
  • 1980-81 - Johananoff International Fellowship for Advanced BioMedical Studies (Istituto di Richerche Farmacologiche `Mario Negri', Milano, Italy
  • 1986 - Visiting Professor - Centre for Nutrition and Food Science, McGill University, Montreal
  • 1986 – Founding Committee member of the European Association for the Study of Obesity
  • 1988 - Paper on Serotonin and Appetite  identified as a Citation Classic by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)
  • 1989 - Reader in Biological Psychology, University of Leeds
  • Fellow of the British Psychological Society (FBPsS)
  • 1992 - Rushton Lecturer in PsychoBiology, University of Florida
  • 1992 - 25th International Prize in Modern Nutrition (Bern, Switzerland)
  • 1994 - Personal Chair in PsychoBiology
  • 1994  The `Gino Bergami' Prize Lecture
  • 2008 – Danone International Professorship andVisiting Professor University of Ghent, Belgium
  • 2009 – British Nutrition Foundation Prize
  • 2010 – Distinguished International Visiting Scholar – University of Rhode Island.
  • I am a scientific governor of the British Nutrition Foundation, amd member of the Scientific Advisory Board
  • Former Trustee and Treasurer of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO).- 2007 - 2017
  • I acted as the  Chair of the Expert Group of the ILSI Task Force on Appetite Regulation and Energy Balance in Europe.(2010)
  • I have served on the UK government DoH committee on Social Marketing approach to obesity prevention in children; and the DSI (Department of Science and Innovation) Foresight investigation into the causes and management of Obesities (a 40 year programme for dealing with the obesity epidemic in the UK).
  • I have served as an expert consultant to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
  • 2019 – I was honoured by a Lifetime Achievement Award from the UK Association for the Study of Obesity
  • 2021 – I was made an Honorary Fellow of the Nutrition Society
  • 2022 – I received the Wertheimer Award from the World Obesity Federation at ICO 2022 
  • Publications: Books – 3; Chapters and Reviews - 110
  • Scientific Communications – 400+
  • Total citations – 40k +, h-index 122 (october 2022)


  • Research Professor
  • Professor Emeritus

Research interests

My current research interests are focussed on a new formulation for understanding the expression of human appetite. This approach uses a multi level system for conducting research and is based upon an energy balance framework. The formulation proposes that the energy expended in the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) acts as a biological marker  for hunger and as a drive for food consumption. This model also incorporates a role for body composition (Fat-free Mass and Fat Mass) in the modulation of Appetite. The evidence has been accumulated during a series of medium term studies, funded by UK Research Councils (manily BBSRC and the European Commission) over the last 10 years. This new formulation is known as the ‘Leeds Model’.

In 1990 JB established the Human Appetite Research Unit (HARU) at the University of Leeds and the history of its development has been recorded.

A fundamental concept is that ‘ Appetite is a biologically driven behaviour expressed in a socio-cultural environment’.

The biological drive arises from the need state generated by the energy requirements of vital organs (heart, brain, kidneys, liver, skeletal muscle etc) to maintain active life. These energy demands are expressed in the Resting Metabolic Rate which in turn drives energy intake..

Recent Invited conference lectures

  • FFM and RMR are strong determinants of the Drive to eat – integration into a theory of appetite. Royal Society conference on’ Obesity: theories hypotheses and conjectures’. London 17 – 19 October 2022.
  • The Drive to Eat in homo sapiens in the control of human appetite – some implications for obesity. International Congress on Obesity 2022; Melbourne 18 – 21 October 2022
  • Energy Expenditure drives Energy Intake: Appetite Control within an energy balance framework. MARS keynote lecture. SSIB conference Utrecht 9 – 14 July 2019
  • Drive and Inhibition in the Control of Human Appetite. European Congress on Obesity, Glasgow, 28 April – 1 May 2019.
  • Physical Activity, Sedentariness, Energy Balance and Appetite Control: implications for body fatness. Obesity Prevention and Control. Ministry of Health, China. Beijing and Shenzen 6 – 8 December, 2017.
  • The Biology of Appetite Control: Body composition, resting metabolism and the Drive to Eat. German Nutrition Society Congress ‘Nutrition and Food Research – do we meet the social challenges?’ Kiel 13 – 15 March, 2017.
  • Energy Balance: A Framework for Appetite Regulation. Keynote Lecture American College of Sports Medicine and World Congress on Basic Science of Energy Balance. Boston May 31 – June 4 2016.
  • Semaglutide Reduces Appetite and Energy Intake, Improves Control of Eating and Provides Weight Loss in Subjects with Obesity. International Diabetes Federation, Western Pacific Region Congress, Taiwan, October 27 – 30 2016.
  • Appetite Control, Exercise and Energy Balance: A new Formulation. 4th Meeting of the Applied Nutrition and Dietetics Postgraduate Program, Harokopio University, Athens, 16 – 17  March 2017
  • PsychoBiology of Appetite Control, Physical Activity and Energy Balance. In ANSISA ‘The Suffering Body: the body’s suffering in Eating Disorders, Bologna 25 – 26 November 2016.
  • Semaglutide Reduces Appetite and Energy Intake, Improves Control of Eating, and Provides Weight Loss in Subjects with Obesity. American Diabetes Association Congress,  New Orleans, June 7 – 11 June  2016.
  • Appetite Control, Sedentariness and Physical Activity. In: Understanding the effect of exercise on future food intake – behavioural, physiological, neural mechanisms. University of Nebraska Medical Centre 25 July 2016.
  • Appetite Control – A Function of Energy Balance: the importance of (not) being sedentary. Joint meeting of the Physiological Society (UK) and the American Physiological Society, Dublin 29 July 2016. ‘Physiological Society Symposium – can you outrun a bad diet?’
  • Re-Thinking Appetite Control: An energy balance framework (the role of energy expenditure and its relationship to energy intake). European Obesity Summit, EASO Congress Gothenburg 6 June 2016.
  • Energy Balance and the PsychoBiology of Appetite Control. NIH Expert Panel on ‘Self-Regulation of Appetite’ Bethesda 9 – 10 July 2015..
  • Energy Balance, Appetite and Obesity: The danger of sedentariness and the power of physical activity. BASEM and FSEM joint congress Cardiff 13 November 2015.
  • Physical Activity, Sedentariness and Energy Balance. In Energy balance Surveys across Europe (Spanish Nutrition Foundation) FENS Berlin 20 – 23 October 2015.
  • Controlling the Drive to Eat: the impact of foods on the satiety cascade. In ‘Mechanisms of weight management: from appetite regulation to energy absorption. FENS Berlin 19 – 23 October 2015.


BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) grants

  • FG24/502  Comparison of the Effects of Intense and Bulk Sweeteners on Appetite and Food Intake in Man (1991)
  • FG24/544 Investigation of the Effect of Dietary fat on the Satiation Power of Food and Food Selection in Man (1994)
  • F00248  An Investigation of High fat Consumers: Personal, Social and Physiological Characteristics (1996) – with Dr Janet Cade
  • D02501  The Effect of Exercise and Diet Composition on the Pattern of Appetite and Energy balance in Man (1997) – with Professor James Stubbs
  • BBS/B/05079   Individual Variability and Characterisation of Compensatory Responses to exercise Interventions (2007) – with Professor Neil King
  • BB/G005524/1 (November 2008 – November 2011). BBSRC (DRINC). Reference – Drivers of eating behaviour during chronic overconsumption. Value: £675,694.53 – with Professor Graham Finlayson
  • BB/G530141/1 (2009 – 2013). BBSRC . Hedonic responsivity in individuals susceptible and resistant to weight gain. Value: £178,827.- with Professor Graham Finlayson
  • BB/H004971/1, (October 2009 – September 2012) BBSRC  . “Increased Propionate Production in The Colon Is Associated With Reduced Apetite, Body Weight And Improved Insulin Sensitivity” Principle Grant Holder – Professor Gary Frost (Imperial College)
  • BB/I022325/1Emulsion structure: a novel mechanism of delivering fatty acids to regulate gut function and satiety’ Reference: (September 2011 till August 2014). Principle Grant Holder Profesor P Wilde – Institute of Food Research Norwich.


EC grants (FP6)

  • FP6-513946 - DiOGenes . (Diet Obesity and Genes). (January 2005 – December 2009) The EU-sponsored project EU Sixth Framework Programme under Priority 5: Food Quality and Safety
  • FP7-KBBE-2010-2-2-01 (01/02 2011 till 31/01/2016).  Large-Scale Integrating Project in response to the call number . Neuroregulation of Food, Gut and Brain. Acronym ‘Full4Health’ (Lead partner University of Aberdeen).
  • FP7-KBBE- 2011-5  (01/09/2011 till 31/08/2015) Programme FP7Cooperation Them 2: Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and technologies. . Call identifier: FP7-KBBE-2011-5. Proposal Acronym: SATIN. - Activity 2.2 Fork to farm: Food (including seafood), health and well being (2.2.3) KBBE.2011.2.3-04 - Satiety control through food structures made by novel processing (Lead a partner University of Liverpool)
  • .ICT-2013-5.1 EU Framework 7  Information and Communication Technologies  (call Grant Agreement number #610440 (2013 -2016).  “Personalised Guidance Services for lifestyle management and disease prevention”.  The DAPHNE Project:  ‘ Data as a Service Platform for Healthy Living and Preventive Medicine’


NIH Grant

  1. R01 DK081714-01 French, S, Jefferys, RW, Blundell JE and Wall M, (2009 – 2014) University of Minneapolis and University of Leeds.
  2. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant . Project Title: Susceptibility to Portion Size Effects on Body Weight: Free Living Setting. 


Recent significant publications

  • Blundell JE, Gibbons C, Beaulieu K, Casanova N, Duarte C, Finlayson G, Stubbs RJ and Hopkins M. The Drive to Eat in Homo Sapiens: Energy Expenditure drives Energy Intake. Physiology and Behaviour, 2022: 219, 112846
  • Blundell JE Behaviour Energy Balance Obesity and Capitalism European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2018: 72, 1305 – 1309
  • Blundell JE, Caudwell P, Gibbons C, Hopkins M, Naslund E, King N and Finlayson G. Role of resting metabolic rate and energy expenditure in hunger and appetite control: a new formulation. Disease Models & Mechanisms, 2012, 5(5), pp.608-613.
  • Caudewell P, Finlayson G, Gibbons C, Hopkins M, King N, Naslund E, and Blundell JE. Resting metabolic rate is associated with hunger, self-determined meal size, and daily energy intake and may represent a marker for appetite. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013, 97(1), pp.7-14.
  • Gibbons C, Caudwell P, Finlayson G, Webb D-L, Hellstrom PM, Naslund E and Blundell JE. Comparison of Postprandial Profiles of Ghrelin, Active GLP-1, and Total PYY to Meals Varying in Fat and Carbohydrate and Their Association With Hunger and the Phases of Satiety. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2013, 98(5), pp.E847-E855
  • Blundell JE (2018) Behaviour, Energy Balance, Obesity and Capitalism. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition  - 72(9):1305-1309 05 Sep 2018
  • Hopkins M,  Duarte C,  Finlayson G,  Beaulieu K,  Gibbons C, Johnstone AM,  Whybrow S, Horgan GW, Blundell JE  and Stubbs RJ (2018) Activity Energy Expenditure as an Independent Predictor of Food Intake in Humans – International Journal of Obesity 43:1466-1474 Jul 2018
  • Hopkins M and Blundell JE (2016) Energy balance, body composition, sedentariness and appetite regulation: pathways to obesity. Clinical Science (2016) 130: 1615 – 1628. doi: 10.1042/CS201/1600D6.
  • Myers Anna, Gibbons C, Finlayson G and Blundell JE (2016 Associations amongst sedentary and active behaviours, body fat and appetite dysregulation: investigating the myth of physical inactivity and obesity. -Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-095640
  • Blundell JE, Finlayson G, Gibbons C, Caudwell P and Hopkins M  (2015) The Biology of Appetite Control: Fat-Free Mass and Fat Mass have Separate and Opposing Influences on Energy Intake. Physiol Behav 2015 152: 473 478
  • Hopkins M,  Finlayson G, Duarte C, Whybrow S, Ritz P, Horgan GW,  Blundell, JE, Stubbs RJ (2015) Modelling the associations between fat-free mass, resting metabolic rate and energy intake in the context of total energy balance. IJO 2015 – doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.155
  • Gibbons C,  Caudwell P,  Finlayson G, Webb D-L, Hellström P,  Näslund  E and Blundell JE (2016) Analysing the role of endogenous postprandial CCK in the control of satiety in obese humans. Peptides (2016)
  • Beaulieu, Kristine, Hopkins M, Blundell JE and Finlayson G  (2016) Does habitual physical activity increase the sensitivity of the appetite control system? A systematic review. Journal of Sports Medicine –DOI 10.1007/s40279-016-0518-9


  • 1965 BSc Psychology - University of Leeds - first class
  • 1970 PhD University of London, Faculty of Science, Institute of Neurology, London

Professional memberships

  • European Association for the Study of Obesity
  • UK Association for the Study of Obesity
  • Nutrition Society

Student education

During the course of my career I have developed and taught  a series of undergraduate courses and modules for levels 1, 2 and 3, in the areas of BioPsychology, Statistics and Research Design.

I have supervised more than 45 PhD students,10 of whom are now full Professors in University departments..

Currently (July 2022) I am employed by the University of Leeds as a Research Professor (0.2 FTE) and I have no UG duties. I supervise  PhD students.

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>