Dr Bryant is a nutritionist and methodologist with a particular interest in research that supports the optimisation of obesity and lifestyle interventions and their robust evaluation. She straddles the disciplines of nutrition, applied health research and clinical trials research, whilst providing leadership for the development of evidence based intervention delivery and robust evaluation. She is driven to identify and test approaches to optimise the impact of existing interventions and to provide an evidence of their performance and feasibility from high quality randomised controlled trials.
Dr Bryant’s current research activities are divided between those associated with the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds and work within the Bradford Institute of Health Research. Within the Leeds CTRU, she is the strategic lead of a portfolio of research focused around obesity, dietary intake and lifestyle. This work encompasses establishing key university, national and international strategic partnerships to support grant application activity and project delivery within the areas: (i) outcome measure identification and appraisal (ii) outcome measurement development and (iii) early phase clinical trial design and delivery (iv) definitive trials of effectiveness and (v) implementation research. This is achieved through a multi-disciplinary team, including members of the public.
Dr Bryant has had a strategic role within the Bradford Institute of Health Research for more than ten years, where she is currently the theme lead for implementation evaluation of 22 complex interventions being delivered as part of the Better Start Bradford project. This project aims to improve outcomes in early life within social and emotional wellbeing, language and development, and diet and obesity. It highlights the importance of pragmatic approaches to the design and evaluation of community based interventions; with research co-designed with community members and practitioners.
Dr Bryant is passionate about knowledge transfer, where she proactively seeks collaborative partnerships; supports others in research design, funding applications, trial delivery, teaching, supervision; and provides expertise and evidence for guidance and policy. Beyond her role within the Diet and Obesity portfolio, Maria is a Trustee of the Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO, leading the Early Career Research Network and Awards), a NIHR Research Design Service (RDA) advisor for Yorkshire and the Humber, and a member of the Department of Health, Obesity Advisory Board. She also provides expertise for a number of external projects and bodies, including the National Obesity Observatory, the Born in Bradford cohort study, the ESRC Strategic Network for obesity, NIHR Trial Steering Committees and the Better Start Bradford project.