Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Clinical Reader in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry







Commonwealth BuildingHammersmith Campus





I lead the Child and Adolescent Mental Health research team in the Division of Psychiatry. My research aims to improve understanding and interventions for children and young people (CYP) with feeding and eating disorders and obesity. In particular my research focuses on risk factors and early intervention for disordered eating behaviour, and seeks practical and scale-able solutions, from parent training to policy change, that directly influence outcomes. I am also a practising Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in CNWL Children and Young People's Eating Disorders Service.

I am past chair of the Eating Disorders Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) and was a member of the RCPsych Board of Trustees and the International Advisory Committee. I led development of the Junior MARSIPAN guidelines for the management of seriously ill patients with anorexia nervosa. 

I served on the NICE guideline committee for eating disorders, the NICE quality standards committee, the NHS England Expert Reference Group developing the commissioning guidance for children and young people‚Äôs eating disorders services (CYP EDS), and helped develop the Quality Standards for CYP EDS. In partnership with the South London and Maudsley team, I co-led the National Whole Team training for CYP EDS. 

I am Past President of the Academy of Eating Disorders, the largest international eating disorders professional association, and instigated development of the British Eating Disorders Society. I was co-founder of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Surveillance System (CAPSS) for research into rare disorders and events in child mental health.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Nicholls D, Becker A, 2020, Food for thought: bringing eating disorders out of the shadows, British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol:216, ISSN:0007-1250, Pages:67-68

Viner R, Ward J, Hudson L, et al., 2019, Roles of cyberbullying, sleep and physical activity in mediating the impact of social media use on mental health and wellbeing: findings from a national cohort of English young people, The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, Vol:3, ISSN:2352-4642, Pages:685-696

Mitrofan O, Petkova H, Janssens A, et al., 2019, Care experiences of young people with eating disorders and their parents: qualitative study, Bjpsych Open, Vol:5, ISSN:2056-4724

Viner RM, Kinra S, Nicholls D, et al., 2018, Burden of child and adolescent obesity on health services in England, Archives of Disease in Childhood, Vol:103, ISSN:0003-9888, Pages:247-254

Pinhas L, Nicholls D, Crosby RD, et al., 2017, Classification of childhood onset eating disorders: A latent class analysis, International Journal of Eating Disorders, Vol:50, ISSN:0276-3478, Pages:657-664

O'Connor G, Nicholls D, Hudson L, et al., 2016, Refeeding Low Weight Hospitalized Adolescents With Anorexia Nervosa: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial, Nutrition in Clinical Practice, Vol:31, ISSN:0884-5336, Pages:681-689

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