Faculty and Academic Staff

Professor Christopher Gardner, PhD

CHRISTOPHER D. GARDNER, PhD, is the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, and the Director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. He received his PhD in Nutritional Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. His postgraduate training included a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular disease epidemiology at Stanford; for the past decade he has been the director of that program.

Dr. Gardner is passionate about two central questions that keep him up at night and get him to jump out of bed most mornings. The first of these is: What can people eat and drink (or avoid/limit) to optimize their health? Most of his past ~30 years of research and teaching have been dedicated to finding solutions to current controversies about such topics as garlic, soy, antioxidants, omega-3 fats from fish or flax, vegetarian diets, artificial sweeteners, and low-fat vs. low-carb weight loss diets. A special emphasis of his current research involves the connections between diet, the microbiome, and immune function. His rigorously designed and conducted human nutrition trials and publications on these topics have made him a nationally recognized leader in nutrition science. He currently serves as vice-chair of the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Gardner has recently shifted much of his energies to a second and more challenging question: What forces and factors can successfully motivate people to improve their food and beverage choice behaviors? To address this question he has collaborated with scholars and researchers from across all seven of Stanford’s undergraduate and graduate schools – Medicine, Business, Law, Earth Sciences, Humanities and Sciences, Education, and Engineering. He is also currently collaborating with chefs and dining operators from Stanford’s Residential and Dining Enterprises, and the Culinary Institute of America, with an emphasis on elevating the unapologetic deliciousness of food. Two of the undergraduate classes he teaches address his interests in the intersection of Taste, Health, and the Environment: Food and Society, and Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems. He has been teaching Human Nutrition through the program in Human Biology for 20 years.