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Professor David Dunstan

Professor David Dunstan

Head: Physical Activity


Australian Catholic University supervisor

Monash University supervisor

The University of Western Australia supervisor

Baker Fellow and NHMRC Senior Research Fellow

+61 3 8532 1873

Professor David Dunstan is Head of the Physical Activity Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne and an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. He is also a Professor within the Centre for Exercise and Nutrition, Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, an Adjunct Professor in the School of Sports Science, Exercise and Health at the University of WA, an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, an Adjunct Associate Professor the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at Deakin University and an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine at Monash University.

His research focuses on the role of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the prevention and management of chronic diseases. His research program has attracted considerable external funding from the NHMRC, VicHealth and the National Heart Foundation. He has published 175 peer-reviewed papers, including publications in high impact journals such as Circulation, Diabetes Care, Diabetologia, Obesity Reviews, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Over the past 15 years, David has established an extensive media profile including interviews with National Public Radio, Wall Street Journal, CNN, the New York Times and the LA Times.


  • Top Ranked Vanguard Grant, National Heart Foundation (2014)
  • Identification of the therapeutic benefits of progressive resistance training in people with type 2 diabetes (Diabetes Care 2002; 2005; 2006)
  • Identification of detrimental associations between sedentary behaviour (including television viewing) and premature mortality (Circulation 2010) and cardio-metabolic biomarkers in adults (Diabetes Care 2004); first experimental evidence demonstrating an attenuation in postprandial glucose and insulin levels through the introduction of short activity breaks during prolonged sitting in overweight adults (Diabetes Care 2012).
  • Creator of the Lift for Life community-based strength program for Australians with or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes — research to practice initiative providing access to strength training throughout more than 60 facilities across Australia.
  • Highly cited epidemiological research reporting that sedentary behaviour is detrimentally associated with premature mortality and cardio-metabolic biomarkers has informed new guidelines/position stands of the UK Health Department, the American College of Sports Medicine, the Heart Foundation and the Preventative Health Task Force recommendations on the likely importance of reducing sedentary behaviour.
  • More than 60 invitations to speak and chair in international and national forums including: presentations at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions (2008), and presentations in Denmark, Slovenia, Finland and New Zealand. He also receives regular invitations to speak and chair nationally in the scientific meetings of Exercise Sports Science Australia, the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association, the Heart Foundation and the Australian Diabetes Society.


  • 2007, Young Tall Poppy Science Award (Victoria) from the Australian Institute of Policy and Science which recognises the achievements of Australia's outstanding young scientific researchers.

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