Dr Desley White

Dr Desley White

Lecturer in Dietetics

School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health and Human Sciences)


Lecturer in Dietetics. 

Programme Lead MSc Human Nutrition.
Year 1 Dietetics Lead.
Module Lead for the Dietetics Year 3 honours Project Studies II research module, Year 2 Dietetics and Pharmacology, and Year 1 Nutritional Epidemiology. Also contributing to bioscience, and quantitative methods topics throughout the programme. Other teaching includes on the Human Nutrition MSc, and general nutrition lectures to other health professions students. 


PhD Health Studies, awarded a Dean's Studentship to study.
BSc (Hons) Dietetics, First class.
Prior to coming to Plymouth to study Dietetics in 2005, I had been a potter for 20 years, the latter 15 years as a self-employed potter and teacher.

Professional membership

Registered Dietitian Health Professions Council
Member UK Genetic Haemochromatosis Society

Roles on external bodies

Teaching interests

My specialist teaching area is research, and I enjoy exploring and sharing the creative process of research with others. I am particularly interested in the development of teaching methods for supporting students with statistical analysis, and the use of Excel and SPSS software. 

Teaching interests include quantitative research methods, and basic epidemiological statistics such as frequency measures, and the concepts of odds and risk. These are relevant to the understanding of the dietetics literature, and the reporting of key nutritional research such as the Mediterranean diet studies, and the long-running American National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Understanding the statistics behind large, and small, scale studies informs the student's understanding of the evidence behind their practice, and thus is key to becoming and remaining evidence-based practitioners of their profession. I also teach Evidence Based Practice to Year 1 students, including critical analysis skills for reading published research.

Additional roles include the delivery of profession-specific "Dietetics in a Nutshell" lectures. These are one-off sessions aimed at Year 1 students of Health Professions such as Midwifery and Dentistry, which are designed to cover areas of dietetics key to their work, and equip them with the pathways needed to access up-to-date and accurate dietetic information throughout their careers. 


Research interests

PhD Health Studies, thesis title: Non-transferrin-bound iron and protein glycation in type 2 diabetes, explored the effects of high plasma glucose levels on the iron-binding protein transferrin in type 2 diabetes. Laboratory-based work identified fragmentation of transferrin resulting from oxidative damage when exposed to glucose incubation, but subsequent comparison with human samples suggested this effect may have little physiological impact. Further work with human samples found previously unreported links between non-transferrin-bound plasma iron, cholesterol, and haemoglobin, suggesting the increasing fragility of red blood cells in type 2 diabetes.

Other research

Other research activity has included working as a Research Dietitian, advising participants on a dietary sodium restriction study investigating blood pressure in overweight, marginally hypertensive adults.