Associate Professor Amanda Salis

NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders, Sydney Medical School

K25 - Medical Foundation Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

T: +61 423 777 801
F: +61 2 9036 3176

Biographical details

Research interests

Non-surgical obesity treatments are ineffective for most, in part due to adaptive responses to energy restriction that increase appetite and reduce metabolic rate. Not only do these adaptations oppose ongoing weight loss, they may also adversely affect body composition via hormonal changes that favor abdominal fat accretion with loss of muscle mass and bone. Thus, current obesity treatments may inadvertently increase the risk of metabolic complications such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as that of structural diseases such as sarcopenia and osteoporosis. My long-term objective is to find ways to attenuate these adaptive responses so that more people can attain and maintain a healthy body weight and composition. The focus of my recent NHMRC Career Development Award (2008-2011) was to identify brain pathways mediating these adaptive responses to energy restriction and their effects on fat, muscle and bone, predominantly using transgenic mice at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Building on the successful outcomes of this work, in March 2012 I joined The University of Sydney in order to apply this knowledge to clinical practice for more immediate benefit to human health. My team will determine the consequences of adaptive responses to energy restriction on body composition in obese patients, using state-of-the-art sensitive techniques. This project is supported by an NHMRC Project Grant on which I am CIA (APP1026005, 2012-2015). We will additionally test novel ways of attenuating the adaptive responses to energy restriction in humans, using ketogenic diets (APP1026005) and intermittent energy restriction (NHMRC Project Grant APP1030705, 2012-2014). This transformative research offers the potential to aggressively improve human obesity treatments within the ensuing 10 years.

Teaching areas

Would you like to find out what it's like doing obesity research?

Besides Honours, Masters and PhD supervision, I provide short-term part-time or full-time research training opportunities for people wishing to experience clinical obesity research. These opportunities are designed to fit around your work or study commitments.


  • Boost your CV by gaining real-world research experience in an internationally recognised multidisciplinary research environment dedicated to reducing obesity and associated complications.

  • Find out whether you like research before committing to longer-term research activities, such as an Honours degree, Masters, Doctorate or a PhD.

  • Network with professionals in the field of obesity, nutrition, exercise and eating disorders and identify future opportunities (e.g. research projects, scholarships, jobs, collaborations).

  • Participate in the Boden Institute's Research Training Program. This involves weekly Journal Clubs (currently Mondays at 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm), where you can learn to read and critically appraise scientific literature and health claims in the fields of nutrition, physical activity, weight regulation, eating disorders and disease prevention, as well as occasional workshops that teach the skills of writing scientific research reports or applying for scholarships and jobs.

To apply

Please e-mail the following to Associate Professor Amanda Salis (

  • A cover letter outlining why you are interested in this research training opportunity, and the number of hours (between 7.30 am and 6 pm), days (Mon-Fri) and available start and end dates.

  • Your curriculum vitae including the contact details of your referees.

  • Your academic transcript(s), or other document(s) that include grades achieved in your current and / or previous degree(s).

Trainees are selected on the basis of academic merit, motivation for obesity research, clarity about how the research training opportunity will aid future career plans, and availability relative to current project requirements.

Current national competitive grants*


Improving weight loss outcomes
Salis A
NHMRC Research Fellowship ($590,785 over 5 years)

Achieving more effective weight loss with intermittent energy restriction
Byrne N, Salis A, Hickman I, Hills A, King N
National Health and Medical Research Council/Project Grant ($976,175 over 3 years)


Long-term effects of very low energy diet versus conventional diet on adiposity, lean body mass, muscle strength and bone density in obese adults, and mechanisms promoting changes
Salis A, Byrne N, Caterson I
NHMRC Project Grants ($906,044 over 4 years)

* Grants administered through the University of Sydney