Paul Franks

Adjunct Professor in Nutrition

Department of Nutrition

Building 2, Room 305
655 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115


B.S. (Hons), 1996, Brunel University, UK
M.S., 1998, Exeter University, UK
M.Phil., 2000, Cambridge University, U.K.
Ph.D., 2003, Cambridge University, U.K.

Other Affiliations

Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, Lund University, Sweden
Head, Genetic & Molecular Epidemiology Unit, Lund University, Sweden
Professor of Molecular Epidemiology (guest), Umeå University, Sweden


Dr. Franks’ major research interests include:

  • Epidemiology and prevention of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases through diet and lifestyle
  • Gene x environment interactions in relation to obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Gene x treatment interactions in intervention studies
  • Early-life determinants of obesity and type 2 diabetes

Dr. Franks’ research has focused on elucidating the interactions of genetic and lifestyle factors in the etiology of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and translating this information into the preventive setting. He is the Principal Investigator of the GLACIER Study, a prospective cohort study of around 20,000 adults from northern Sweden designed to explore hypotheses of gene x lifestyle interactions in complex disease. Dr. Franks is also a co-investigator on the Diabetes Prevention Program Genetics Working Group. He has led research on early-life programming and cardiovascular and metabolic risk later in life. His research has also expanded our understanding of how genetic and lifestyle exposures interact in childhood and adulthood to impact obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular risk.

Selected key publications

  • Renström F, Payne F, Nordström A, Brito EC, Rolandsson O, Hallmans G, Barosso I, Nordström P, Franks PW: the GIANT consortium. Replication and extension of genome-wide association study results for obesity in 4,923 adults from Northern Sweden. Hum Mol Genet.18(8):1489-96. 2009
  • Franks PW, Hanson RL, Knowler WC, Sievers ML, Bennett PH, Looker HC. Childhood obesity, other cardiovascular risk factors and premature death. N Eng J Med. 362: 485-93. 2010
  • Renström F, Shungin D, Johansson I, the MAGIC investigators, Florez JC, Hallmans G, Hu FB, Franks PW. Genetic predisposition to long-term non-diabetic deteriorations in glucose homeostasis: ten-year follow-up of the GLACIER Study. Diabetes. 60(1): 345-54. 2011
  • Kilpeläinen TO, Qi L, Brage S, Sharp SJ, SonestedtE, Demerath E, Ahmad T,… …Franks PW¶, Loos RJ¶. Physical activity attenuates the influence of FTO variants on obesity risk: a meta-analysis of 218,166 adults and 19,268 children. PLoS Medicine. 8(11): e1001116. 2011. ¶ Shared senior authorship
  • Pollin TI, Isakova T,Jablonski KA, de Bakker PIW,Taylor A, McAteer J, Pan Q,Horton ES, Delahanty LM, Altshuler D, Shuldiner AR,Goldberg RB, Florez JC, Franks PW. Genetic modulation of lipid profiles following lifestyle modification or metformin treatment: the Diabetes Prevention Program. PLoS Genetics. 8(8): e1002895. 2012
  • Franks PW, Pearson E, Florez JC. Gene-environment and gene-treatment interactions in type 2 diabetes: progress, pitfalls, and prospects. Diabetes Care. 2013