Frank Hu

Professor of Nutrition and 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 Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Director, Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center (BNORC) 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 cardio-metabolic diseases through diet and lifestyle.
  2. Gene-environment interactions and risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  3. Nutritional metabolomics in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  4. Obesity, metabolic phenotypes, and cardiovascular disease in Chinese populations.

Dr. Hu’s research has focused on diet/lifestyle, metabolic, and genetic determinants of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). He is the Principal Investigator of the diabetes component of the Nurses’ Health Study. He also leads two NIH-funded projects to study Mediterranean dietary interventions, plasma metabolites, and risk of diabetes and CVD in the PREDIMED trial. Dr. Hu’s group has conducted detailed analyses of many dietary and lifestyle factors and risk of diabetes and CVD, including sugar-sweetened beverages, coffee, red meat, saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, iron, and dietary patterns. These findings have contributed to current public health recommendations and policies for prevention of chronic diseases.  Dr. Hu’s group has also identified novel biomarkers (e.g., adipokines and nutrient metabolites) and gene-environment interactions in relation to risk of obesity and diabetes by integrating cutting-edge omics technologies into epidemiological studies (Systems Epidemiology approach). In addition, Dr. Hu has been collaborating with researchers from China to study nutrition transition, metabolic phenotypes, and cardiovascular disease in Chinese populations.

Dr. Hu served on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, USDA/HHS. He is currently on the editorial board of Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Diabetes Care, and Clinical Chemistry. Dr. Hu was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the IOM) in 2015.


Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, Rimm E, Colditz GA, Rosner BA, Hennekens CH, Willett WC. Dietary fat intake and the risk of coronary heart disease in women. N Engl J Med. 1997;337(21):1491-1499.

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.

Hu FB, Meigs JB, Li TY, Rifai N, Manson JE. Inflammatory markers and risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes. 2004;53(3):693-700.

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.

Hu FB, Willett WC, Li T, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Manson JE. Adiposity as compared with physical activity in predicting mortality among women. N Engl J Med. 2004;351(26):2694-2703.

Schulze MB, Manson JE, Ludwig DS, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. JAMA. 2004;292(8):927-934.

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.

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.

Hu FB. Globalization of diabetes: The role of diet, lifestyle, and genes (The Kelly West Lecture). Diabetes Care. Jun 2011;34(6):1249-1257.

Qi Q, Chu AY, Kang JH, Jensen MK, Curhan GC, Pasquale LR, Ridker PM, Hunter DJ, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Chasman DI, Hu FB, Qi L. Sugar-sweetened beverages and genetic risk of obesity. N Engl J Med. 2012;367(15):1387-1396.

Malik VS, Willett WC, Hu FB. Global obesity: trends, risk factors and policy implications. Nature Reviews Endocrinology. 2013;9(1):13-27.

Tobias DK, Pan A, Jackson C, O’Reilly E, Ding E, Willett W, Manson J, Hu FB. Body mass index and mortality among adults with incident type 2 diabetes: results from two prospective cohort studies in U.S. N Engl J Med. 2014; 370(3):233-244.