Dr Christian Thoma

Lecturer, Interprofessional Health Studies

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 7989

Email: christian.thoma@aut.ac.nz

Physical Address:
North Shore Campus
90 Akoranga Drive
North Shore City

Postal Address:
Mail No. A-25
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142
New Zealand

Address for blogs:

Links to relevant web pages:


BSc (Microbiology & Immunology, University of Otago) 1998
MSc (Human Nutrition, University of Otago) 2001
PhD (Newcastle University) 2013
ACSM – Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist 2010-2016


I’ve had an intense interest in exercise and nutrition for health and performance since my early teens, and my passion for teaching and coaching goes back almost as far. My tertiary education and career have taken me from benchtop, as a nutrition laboratory technician, to bedside, or rather bike-side, as a clinical exercise physiologist. In-between I’ve also worked as a senior government nutritionist. This multi-disciplinary and multi-country career has taken me from Dunedin in the far South of New Zealand, to Newcastle in the far North of England. I enjoy applying that broad experience to my teaching and research.

Teaching Areas:

Case Management and Integrated Care

Research Areas:

Physical activity, exercise, and nutrition for the primary and secondary prevention of metabolic disease, notably type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver. I also have an interest in the application of yoga therapy for the treatment and management of chronic conditions.

Research Summary:

My research to date has spanned broadly across nutrition and exercise, with a shift in focus from the former to the latter in recent years. As a nutrition risk assessor for Food Standards Australia New Zealand I was project manager of mandatory fortification with iodine, among other projects. As an academic, my research has included nutrition interventions for dyslipidemia, exercise interventions for people with non-alcoholic fatty liver, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and type 2 diabetes, and  cross-sectional work exploring the role of physical activity in chronic disease as well as healthy ageing.

Current Research Projects:

Assessing the acute metabolic effects of fasted moderate intensity aerobic exercise in people with common metabolic diseases.


Chen DL, Liess C, Poljak A, Xu A, Zhang J, C Thoma, et al. Phenotypic characterization of insulin-resistant and insulin-sensitive obesity. J Clin Endocrinol Metab jc20152712 (2015). doi:10.1210/jc.2015-2712

Cassidy S, Thoma C, Hallsworth K, Parikh K, Hollingsworth KG, Taylor R, Jakovljevic, Trenell, MI. High intensity intermittent exercise improves cardiac structure and function and reduces liver fat in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial. Diabetologia (2015). doi:10.1007/s00125-015-3741-2

Hallsworth K, Thoma C, Hollingsworth KG, Cassidy S, Anstee QM, Day CP, Trenell MI. Modified high-intensity interval training reduces liver fat and improves cardiac function in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A randomised controlled trial. Clin Sci (2015). doi:10.1042/CS20150308

Cassidy S, Hallsworth K, Thoma C, MacGowan GA, Hollingsworth KG, Day CP, Taylor R, Jakovljevic DG, Trenell MI. Cardiac structure and function are altered in type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and associate with glycemic control. 2015; 14(1): 1-11.
High intensity intermittent exercise improves cardiac structure and function and reduces liver fat in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial.

Hallsworth K, Thoma C, Moore S, Ploetz T, Anstee QM, Taylor R, Day CP, Trenell MI. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with higher levels of objectively measured sedentary behaviour and lower levels of physical activity than matched healthy controls. Frontline Gastroenrerol 2015; 6(1): 44-51.

Thelwall PE, Smith FE, Leavitt MC, Canty D, Hu W, Hollingsworth KG, Thoma C, Trenell MI, Taylor R, Rutkowski JV, Blamire AM, Quinn AG. Hepatic Cholesteryl Ester Accumulation in Lysosomal Acid Lipase Deficiency: Non-invasive Identification and Treatment Monitoring by Magnetic Resonance. J Hepatol 2013; 59(3): 543-549.

Jakovljevic DG, Hallsworth K, Zalewski P, Thoma C, Klawe JJ, Day CP, Newton J, and Trenell MI. Resistance exercise improves autonomic regulation at rest and haemodynamic response to exercise in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Clin Sci 2013; 125:143-149.

Hallsworth K, Hollingsworth KG, Thoma C, Jakovljevic D, Macgowan GA, Anstee QM, Taylor R, Day CP, and Trenell MI. Cardiac structure and function are altered in adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. J Hepatol 2013; 58(4):757-762.

Jakovljevic DG, Moore S, Hallsworth K, Fattakhova G, Thoma C, and Trenell MI. Comparison of cardiac output determined by bioimpedance and bioreactance methods at rest and during exercise. J Clin Monit Comput 2012; 26(2):63-68.

Thoma C, Day C, Trenell MI. Lifestyle interventions for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adults: A systematic review. J Hepatol 2011; 56(1):255-266.

Hallsworth K, Fattakhova G, Hollingsworth KG, Thoma C, Moore S, Taylor R, Day C, Trenell MI. Resistance exercise reduces liver fat and its mediators in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease independent of weight loss. Gut 2011; 60(9):1278-1283.

Reuss R, McKague E, Webb T, Cunningham J, Joseph B, Thoma C, Venn B, Mackerras D. Trans Fatty Acids in Australia and New Zealand. Australasian Epidemiologist 2009; 16(1):20-22.

Skeaff CM, Thoma C, Mann J.I., Chisholm A., Shiela W., Richmond K. Isocaloric substitution of plant sterol-enriched fat spread for carbohydrate-rich foods in a low-fat, fibre-rich diet decreases plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increases high-density lipoprotein concentrations. Nutr Metab Cardio Dis 2005;15(5):337-344. 

Thoma C., Green T.J., Ferguson L.R. Citrus Pectin and Oligofructose Improve Folate Status and Lower Serum Total Homocysteine in Rats. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2003; 73(6): 403-9.


Diabetes UK PhD Studentship 2009-2012
University of Otago Division of Sciences Award, 2004
J Cowie Nichols Prize in Nutrition, 2003