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Vanessa Garcia Larsen, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


Collaboration with Imperial College London

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PhD, King's College London, 2006
MSc, University of Chile, 2001
BSc, University of Chile, 1997


Dr Vanessa Garcia Larsen is Assistant Professor in Human Nutrition at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Guest Faculty at Harvard Medical School, and Honorary Lecturer at Imperial College London. Dr Garcia Larsen's main research focus is the role of diet in the primary and secondary prevention of allergies, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She is particularly interested in producing evidence from low and middle income countries, where the COPD burden is greater. She has active research collaborations in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and South East Asia, investigating dietary habits and nutritional bio-compounds (e.g. flavonoids) that could benefit lung health at population level. She is a Co-Investigator in the Burden of Lung Disease (BOLD) Study, which aims to establish the prevalence and risk factors for COPD in lower- and middle- income countries, and leads the nutritional studies of the Global Asthma and Allergy Network of Excellence (GA2LEN) and of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS).

She is an original author and developer of the GA2LEN Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), a single, standardised instrument to assess dietary intake across countries, facilitating international comparisons. The GA2LEN FFQ (validated in a sample of European adults) is available in 19 languages, and is being used in several international studies.

Dr Garcia Larsen was commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency to undertake a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence that maternal (pregnancy) or infant dietary intakes influence the risk of respiratory or autoimmune diseases later in life, and the results have influenced infant feeding guidelines in the UK and internationally. This work showed that there is no evidence to support the use of hydrolysed formula for the prevention of allergies (BMJ, 2016), and that early introduction of peanut and egg reduces the risk of allergy to these foods in high risk infants (JAMA, 2016).

Dr Garcia Larsen served as Warden at Imperial College between 2007 and 2016, and is a recipient of the Imperial College Rector's (2011) and President's (2016) Awards for Excellence in Pastoral Care for her role supporting higher education students. During her residency as PhD scholar at International Students House (London, 2003-2006) she received a British Council Award for Outstanding Service. At present, she coordinates the Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where she also supervises postgraduate students. Additional educational collaborations include the Harvard Shanghai Research Centre and the Dubai Harvard Foundation. In 2016, she was conferred a Postgraduate Diploma in University Teaching and Learning at Imperial College London, and is currently pursuing a Master of Education (Medicine).

  • Diet
  • nutrition
  • early life
  • dietary patterns
  • flavonoids
  • FFQ
  • lung function
  • asthma
  • allergy
  • COPD
  • systematic reviews
  • meta-analysis
  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Latin America

Recent publications in the field of diet and respiratory diseases

  • Ierodiakonou D, Garcia-Larsen V, Logan A, Groome A, Cunha S, Chivinge J, Robinson Z, Geoghegan N, Jarrold K, Reeves T, Tagiyeva-Milne N, Nurmatov U, Trivella M, Leonardi-Bee J, Boyle RJ. Timing of Allergenic Food Introduction to the Infant Diet and Risk of Allergic or Autoimmune Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA 2016;316: 1181-92
  • Boyle RJ, Ierodiakonou D, Khan T, Chivinge J, Robinson Z, Geoghegan N, Jarrold K, Afxentiou T, Reeves T, Cunha S, Trivella M, Garcia-Larsen V, Leonardi-Bee J. Hydrolysed formula and risk of allergic or autoimmune disease: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2016; 352: i974
  • El Rhazi K, Nejjari C, BenJelloun MC, El Biaze M, Attassi M, Garcia-Larsen V. Prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Fez, Morocco: results from the BOLD study. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 2016; 20: 136-41
  • Garcia-Larsen V, Del Giacco SR, Moreira A, Bonini M, Charles D, Reeves T, Carlsen KH, Haahtela T, Bonini S, Fonseca J, Agache I, Papadopoulos NG, Delgado L. Asthma and dietary intake: an overview of systematic reviews. Allergy 2016; 71: 433-42
  • Garcia-Larsen V, Luczynska M, Kowalski ML, Voutilainen H, Ahlström M, Haahtela T, Toskala E, Bockelbrink A, Lee HH, Vassilopoulou E, Papadopoulos NG, Ramalho R, Moreira A, Delgado L, Castel-Branco MG, Calder PC, Childs CE, Bakolis I, Hooper R, Burney PG; GA2LEN-WP 1.2 ‘Epidemiological and Clinical Studies’. Use of a common food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to assess dietary patterns and their relation to allergy and asthma in Europe: pilot study of the GA2LEN FFQ. Eur J Clin Nutr 2011; 65: 750-56