Michelle I. Cardel, PhD, MS, RD

Senior Director, Global Clinical Research and Nutrition
Published March 9, 2021

What she does at WeightWatchers®

Michelle is an obesity and nutrition scientist and registered dietitian with a focus on the development and implementation of evidence-based healthy lifestyle strategies for adults and children, particularly those from medically-underserved backgrounds. At WeightWatchers, Michelle oversees the company’s academic research partnerships and clinical trials, nutrition portfolio, and science communication. In collaboration with fellow scientists and teams across the organization, she plans and executes research studies, then implements and disseminates the findings for WeightWatchers members, the scientific community, and the greater community at large. She also leads the company’s nutrition point of view using the latest in nutritional science, and works across the organization to translate the evidence in member content, programs, and beyond.

Her background

Before joining the WW Science team in 2021, Michelle was an assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine. She was also the founder and director of the University of Florida Obesity Research Alliance, and an associate director for the Center for Integrative Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases. She holds a PhD in nutrition sciences and a master’s degree in clinical nutrition from University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Florida State University. She also holds specialized training in motivational interviewing, acceptance and commitment therapy, implementation science, and is a dedicated advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Throughout her career, Michelle has authored over 70 scientific publications and received numerous honors including the Excellence in Emerging Outcomes Research award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Superior Accomplishment Award for Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of Florida Health Sciences Center, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Outstanding Woman Award and Outstanding Young Alumni Award. She was also awarded Fellow Status for The Obesity Society, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of obesity. Michelle is a skilled proponent of science communication and has conducted dozens of media interviews, including a recurring segment on nutrition for Channel 9 News in Denver. She’s also highly active on social media in efforts to translate scientific findings to the public.

What brought her to WW

Michelle has focused her career on the etiology, prevention, and treatment of obesity among diverse populations. She is committed to meeting people where they are and using science-backed practices to help them become their healthiest selves. When given the opportunity to join the WW team, she jumped at the chance to channel this passion into real-world application for 4+ million WW members across the globe.

Most exciting part of the job

According to Michelle, it is all about impact. She loves utilizing her science background and collaborating with others to improve the health and wellness of WW members.

Get to know Michelle:

  • In her free time: Michelle, her husband, and their two young children spend as much time as they can outside. Whether camping, hiking, swimming, skiing, or jumping off a rope swing, they find joy together as a family in the great outdoors.
  • You might be surprised to learn: Michelle is terrified of heights. In an attempt to overcome that fear, she has bungee-jumped at the highest jump in the world (South Africa) and gone skydiving. That said, she still gets nauseous when looking over a third-story balcony.
  • The wellness advice she gives her friends: Find what works for you and aligns with your value system. “Nourishing and moving our bodies, doing things that bring joy, and prioritizing sleep and mental health are all ways that we can become the healthiest version of ourselves,” she adds.