Dr Oliver Canfell

Adjunct Senior Fellow

School of Public Health
Faculty of Medicine

Adjunct Senior Fellow

School of Public Health
Faculty of Medicine


I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Digital Health and Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) interested in the prevention and management of noncommunicable diseases, especially obesity, across the lifecourse.

Through research, I aim to add health to life and equity to health by changing policies and practices to reduce the impact of obesity.

My research program aims to forge a new nexus across dietetics, digital health and public health to improve healthy weight. In my Postdoctoral Fellowship, I have established a new evidence base that supports precision public health approaches to the prevention and management of obesity, including innovate methods of public health surveillance that can use data from sources such as electronic medical records. I trained as a Paediatric Dietitian and have experience as a clinician-researcher working in Queensland's healthcare system, specifically in preventing and managing childhood obesity via clinical, community, and public health programs.

I have used epidemiology, public health informatics, action research, co-design, and ethnographic methods to generate new knowledge in obesity and digital health. I was awarded my PhD (UQ) in November 2020, which developed and validated i-PATHWAY, a clinical model to predict childhood obesity from the first 1,000 days to help guide its prevention. This research was the first of its kind in Australia and uncovered new evidence for risk factors for childhood obesity that are evident from the early years.

At The University of Queensland (UQ), I am a member of the Queensland Digital Health Centre, located within the Centre for Health Services Research (Faculty of Medicine). I established and currently Co-Chair the UQ Digital Health HDR Cohort, which provides research mentorship and support to ~20 PhD, MPhil and Honours research students.

Our team partners closely with multiple healthcare and research organisations across Australia to innovate and translate obesity research into practice, including Health and Wellbeing Queensland (public health and prevention of chronic diseases), Queensland Health (healthcare system) and the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (digital health research). I hold an Honorary Appointment with Health and Wellbeing Queensland, and an Affiliate Research Fellow position with the Faculty of Medicine (UQ) to help bridge the gap between obesity research and practice.

Research Interests

  • Obesity
    Clinical prevention, health promotion
  • Digital health
    Artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, digital hospitals, digital transformation
  • Precision public health
    Public health surveillance of noncommunicable diseases


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Masters (Coursework) of Dietetics Studies, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Woods, Leanna, Canfell, Oliver and Sullivan, Clair (2024). Applied clinical informatics. Digital health: a transformative approach. (pp. 143-176) edited by Helen Almond and Carey Mather. Sydney, NSW, Australia: Elsevier.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision