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Garcia Larsen

Associate Professor
Vanessa Garcia Larsen

Departmental Affiliations

Human Nutrition

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street

Research Interests

Diet; nutrition; flavonoids; FFQ; lung function; asthma; obesity; COPD; NAFLD; cardiovascular; systematic reviews; meta-analysis; Africa; Europe; Latin America; non-communicable diseases; cohort studies
Experiences & Accomplishments
Imperial College London
King's College London
University of Chile
University of Chile
Dr Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, BSc MSc MEd PhD FRSPH (UK), is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Human Nutrition, within the Department of International Health, at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, USA, Honorary Lecturer at Imperial College London, UK, and Guest Faculty at Harvard Medical School.

Dr Garcia-Larsen’s extramurally-funded multinational research program is dedicated to investigating the modulating role of diet and other lifestyle-related risk factors, on the primary and secondary prevention of chronic respiratory diseases, and of metabolic conditions associated with early onset of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). She participates as lead/co-investigator or collaborator in several international observational population-based surveys in low- and middle-income countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Dr Garcia-Larsen also collaborates with the EU WHO Office for Nutrition and NCD Prevention as a Diet and NCD Expert, supporting several multilateral projects. Jointly with other international experts, she contributed to the Obesity Report, to be launched in 2022. She is the author or co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications and specialist technical reports.

Dr Garcia-Larsen is a co-investigator in the Burden of Lung Disease (BOLD) Survey, which is generating epidemiological evidence on the distribution and risk factors for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in over 40 centres in Africa, Asia, and Europe. She is Chair of the Diet Working Group within the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS), a multinational study investigating factors associated with accelerated lung function decline and asthma in European cohorts of adults. She is also an International Scientific Expert in the Cartagena Cohort Study, which will generate epidemiological evidence of genetic and environmental risk factors for poor respiratory and cardiovascular health in adults from the Caribbean region. Dr Garcia-Larsen is the original author and developer of the GA2LEN (Global Allergy and Asthma Network of Excellence) Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), which has been translated into 25 languages, and has been used in over 20 surveys as a common, single, and standardised tool to ascertain dietary intake across countries, facilitating international comparisons.

Her work on systematic reviews and evidence-based medicine has shown that diet is associated with asthma, particularly in children, and that maternal and infant diet might influence future risk of respiratory and allergic disease in children. These findings are informing international infant feeding guidelines for the prevention of allergic diseases. Most recently, they have provided the evidence base for recommendations in the NASEM 2020 consensus report, “Feeding Infants and Children from Birth to 24 Months”, which was developed to provide evidence for the extension of the US Dietary Guidelines to children less than two years of age.

With a strong interest in teaching and academic service, Dr Garcia-Larsen served as the Coordinator of the Johns Hopkins’ Human Nutrition Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) between 2018 and 2021. Within the Department of International Health, she serves as Chair of the newly created Strategic Committee in NCDs. In recognition of her role supervising and mentoring graduate students, she received the Johns Hopkins University’s Advisory, Mentoring, Teaching and Research Award (AMTRA) in 2020. Dr Garcia-Larsen regularly hosts international visiting scholars and welcomes enquiries from prospective candidates.
Select Publications
Recent publications
  • Garcia-Larsen V; Ierodiakonou D; Jarrold K; Cunha S; Chivinge J; Robinson Z; Geoghegan N; Ruparelia A; Devani P; Reeves T; Trivella M; Leonardi-Bee J; Boyle RJ. Diet during pregnancy and infancy, and risk of allergic or autoimmune disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Medicine 2018; 15 (2): e1002507. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002507
  • Garcia-Larsen V; Potts JF; Omenaas E; Heinrich J; Svanes C; Garcia-Aymerich J; Burney PG; Jarvis D. Dietary antioxidants and ten-year lung function decline in adults from the ECRHS survey. Eur Resp J 2017; 50: doi: 10.1183/13993003.02286-2016
  • 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
  • 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, 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