Dr. Offringa’s postdoctoral research focuses on plant-based foods and remedies to prevent disease. Whether to treat specific issues, or to improve general health, incorporating wellness-building phytochemicals into the diet is a primary goal of Lisa’s work at Stanford. Her projects include measuring the physiological effects of diet and plant intake in a large clinical weight -loss trial, investigating the health benefits of traditional diets around the globe to impact international nutrition policies and coordinating a study on the effect of diet on the human intestinal microbiota. As part of her NIH sponsored Institutional Research and Development Award, she is teaching Plant Morphology and Physiological Ecology at San Jose State University this year. Lisa is also active in public outreach, from instructing middle school students about plant-based medicines to guiding Stanford employees in ways to eat more plant foods. Dr. Offringa’s dissertation research through The New York Botanical Garden investigated medicinal plants from Northern Thailand used by traditional healers to treat memory disorders in the elderly by applying a combination of anthropological, botanical, phytochemical and pharmacological methods. She was trained as a plant organic chemist and field botanist at San Francisco State University. At the core of her career as a researcher and educator is the preservation of biocultural diversity by emphasizing the importance of plants used for food and medicine, and raising awareness of the connection between our food systems, our personal health and the environment.

Honors & Awards

  • Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award, National Institutes of Health (2013-2016)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Advisory Board, Stanford Food Summit (2013 - Present)
  • Ethics Committee, Society for Economic Botany (2013 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate School and University Center (2013)

Stanford Advisors

Community and International Work

  • Food and Health, Stanford Hospital


    Harnessing the Power of Food

    Populations Served

    Medical doctors and clinicians


    Bay Area

    Ongoing Project


    Opportunities for Student Involvement


Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Ethnobotany, evolution of the uses of medicinal and food plants, food plants as medicine, plant based diets, shifting protein in the diet, co-evolution of people and plants, traditional food ways and culture, plant-based foods and the intestinal microbiota, ethnoecology, biocultural diversity and innovative education practices

All Publications

  • Weight loss on low-fat vs. low-carbohydrate diets by insulin resistance status among overweight adults and adults with obesity: A randomized pilot trial OBESITY Gardner, C. D., Offringa, L. C., Hartle, J. C., Kapphahn, K., Cherin, R. 2016; 24 (1): 79-86

    View details for DOI 10.1002/oby.21331

    View details for Web of Science ID 000367189800014