Frank Hu

Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology

Department of Nutrition
Department of Epidemiology

Department of Nutrition

Department of Epidemiology

655 Huntington Avenue
Building II 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 617.432.0113


M.D., 1988, Tongji Medical University, China
M.P.H., 1994, University of Illinois at Chicago
Ph.D., 1996, University of Illinois at Chicago

Other Affiliations

Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Channing Lab, BWH

Director, Boston Obesity Nutrition Research Center Epidemiology and Genetics Core

Co-Director, Program in Obesity Epidemiology and Prevention, HSPH

Director, Harvard Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics and Cancer Center TREC


Dr. Hu’s major research interests include:

  1. Epidemiology and prevention of type 2 diabetes and metabolic diseases through diet and lifestyle.
  2. Gene-environment interactions in relation to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications.
  3. Methodological development (especially dietary pattern analyses) in nutritional epidemiology.
  4. Obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease in Chinese populations.

Dr. Hu’s research has focused on diet and lifestyle determinants of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He is the Principal Investigator of the diabetes component of the Nurses’ Health Study, and leads two NIH-funded projects to study biochemical and genetic risk factors for cardiovascular complications among patients with diabetes in the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study. Dr. Hu’s research has demonstrated that the vast majority of type 2 diabetes is preventable through diet and lifestyle modifications. His group has conducted detailed analyses of many dietary and lifestyle factors and risk of diabetes, including sugar-sweetened beverages, caffeine, iron, magnesium, and dietary patterns. These findings have contributed to current public health recommendations and policies for prevention of chronic disease. His group has also examined the link between pre-diabetes and cardiovascular disease and the relationship between inflammatory markers, iron overload, and risk of type 2 diabetes.

His current research has expanded to investigate complex interactions among nutrition, biomarkers, and genetic factors in the development of diabetes and cardiovascular complications. Dr. Hu is also collaborating with researchers from China to study obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease in Chinese populations.


Hu FB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Liu S, Solomon CG, Willett WC. Diet and lifestyle and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. New Engl J Med. 2001;345:790-7.

Hu FB. The Mediterranean diet and mortality–olive oil and beyond. N Engl J Med. 2003;348(26):2595-2596.

Jiang R, Manson JE, Meigs JB, Ma J, Rifai N, Hu FB. Body iron stores in relation to risk of type 2 diabetes in apparently healthy women. JAMA. 2004;291:711-717.

Schulze MB, Shai I, Manson JE, Li T, Rifai N, Jiang R, Hu FB. Joint role of non-HDL cholesterol and glycated haemoglobin in predicting future coronary heart disease events among women with type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2004 Dec;47(12):2129-36.

Qi L, Li T, Rimm E, Zhang C, Rifai N, Hunter D, Doria A, and Hu FB. The +276 polymorphism of the APM1 gene and plasma adiponectin concentration and cardiovascular risk in diabetic men. Diabetes, 2005;54(5):1607-10.

Qi L, van Dam RM, Meigs JB, Manson JE, Hunter D, Hu FB. Genetic variation in IL6 gene and type 2 diabetes: Tagging-SNP haplotype analysis in large-scale case-control study and meta-analysis. Hum Mol Genet. 2006; 15(11): 1914-20.

Halton TL, Willett WC, Liu S, Manson JE, Albert CM, Rexrode K, Hu FB. Low-carbohydrate-diet score and the risk of coronary heart disease in women. New Engl J Med 2006;355:1991-2002.



Heidemann C, Sun Q, van Dam RM, Meigs JB, Zhang C, Tworoger SS, Mantzoros CS, Hu FB. Total and high-molecular-weight adiponectin and resistin in relation to the risk for type 2 diabetes in women. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008;149(5):307-16.


Cornelis MC, Qi L, Zhang C, Kraft P, Manson J, Cai T, Hunter DJ, Hu FB. Joint effects of common genetic variants on the risk for type 2 diabetes in U.S. men and women of European ancestry. Ann Intern Med. 2009 Apr 21;150(8):541-50.

Chan JC, Malik V, Jia W, Kadowaki T, Yajnik CS, Yoon KH, Hu FB. Diabetes in Asia: epidemiology, risk factors, and pathophysiology. JAMA. 2009 May 27;301(20):2129-40.

Sun Q, van Dam RM, Meigs JB, Franco OH, Mantzoros CS, Hu FB. Leptin and soluble leptin receptor levels in plasma and risk of type 2 diabetes in U.S. Women: a prospective study. Diabetes. 2010 Mar;59(3):611-8.

Li Y, He Y, Qi L, Jaddoe VW, Feskens EJ, Yang X, Ma G, Hu FB. Exposure to the Chinese famine in early life and the risk of hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes in adulthood. Diabetes. 2010 59(10):2400-6.

Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Després JP, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease risk. Circulation. 2010 Mar 23;121(11):1356-64.