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Nutrition and Food Research Group

Lead: Dr John Lodge

The Nutrition and Food Research Group is a vibrant group that undertakes research from food science to the interface between food science and nutrition to human dietary interventions to public health. Specifically we have interests in diet and cancer, diet and cardiovascular health, microbiomes and gut health, and use a variety of approaches to study these conditions at both the molecular and whole body level. We also investigate food microbiology, food security and food analysis, and new-product development that encompasses food science and nutrition. Specific detail can be found on individual staff webpages and are summarised below:

The Nutrition and Food Research Group has a strong industrial focus and has collaborations with large multi-nationals to regionally-based small and medium enterprises. We have been successful in obtaining research funding from sources such as UK research councils (BBSRC, NIHR, Innovate UK), government agencies (Food Standards Agency, HEIF), charities and other funding avenues.

Our Nutrition team

Dr Daniel Commane (Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition)

  • Functional foods and cardiovascular health
  • Functional foods and gut health in relation to colon cancer
  • Coordinating human dietary intervention and observational studies
  • Cellular and molecular mechanistic nutrition studies

Dr Jose Lara (Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition)

  • Nutritional epidemiology: dietary patterns in health and disease
  • Public health nutrition: development of interventions to promote health and wellbeing
  • Clinical Nutrition: Nutritional and dietary trials targeting cardiometabolic health
  • Evidence synthesis: Systematic reviews and meta-analysis
  • Biomarkers and outcome measures to characterise the healthy ageing phenotype and the impact of nutritional interventions

  Dr John Lodge (Associate Professor of Metabolic Nutrition)

  • Dietary approaches for health
  • Fruit and vegetables, individual examples of cardioprotective roles in humans
  • Bioavailability of antioxidants and bioactives
  • Diet & metabolism
  • Using metabolomics to investigate the impact of nutrients and supplements on metabolism at the metabolic and protein level
  • Biomarkers of nutritional intake using –omic technologies
  • Nutritional status of food and impact of food spoilage

  Ms Carole Marshall (Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition)

  • Nutritional awareness and provision in the care of the elderly (both free living and in residential care) and the under fives
  • Levels of malnutrition in the elderly population
  • Use of food fortification and nutritional provision and consumption for the under-fives in nursery care.

 

Dr Jill McKay (Senior Lecturer in Nutritional Biochemistry)

  • Improving knowledge of the environmental causes of disease and adverse health
  • Improving understanding of initiating pathways/mechanisms involved in disease
  • Prediction of disease or late health effects associated with exposures
  • Expertise in molecular epidemiology and environmental epigenetics including model systems

  Dr Jose Munoz (VC Research Fellow in Human Nutrition)

  • Kinetics and X-ray Structure of glycoside hydrolases, lyases and polyphenol oxidases.
  • Carbohydrate metabolism by the Human Microbiome
  • Design of new prebiotics/probiotics for Human Microbiota
  • Cross-talk of microbiota in the degradation of dietary carbohydrates/polyphenols
  • Enhancing the health of the Gut-Brain axis through the diet

  Dr Julie Young (Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition)

  • Nutrition for the under-fives
  • Nutrition in vulnerable groups

 Members of our Nutrition team are actively involved in Northumbria’s NUTRAN Human Nutrition Trials group that aims to act as a one-stop shop combining the expertise of the research group with that of researchers in the Department of Sport Exercise and Rehabilitation and the University’s Brain Performance & Nutrition Research Centre

 

Our Food Science team

Dr Ed Fox (Senior Lecturer in Food Microbiology)

  • Population genetics and ecology of food borne microbial pathogens
  • Safety of food production systems

 Dr Georgios Koutsidis (Associate Professor of Food Science)

  • Flavour chemistry and sensory analysis
  • Control of dietary components formed during food processing that may have harmful or beneficial effects

 Dr Maria Maria Benlloch Tinoco (Senior Lecturer in Food Science)

  • Mathematical modelling of growth/inactivation of microorganisms and enzymes
  • Design and optimization of preservation processes and methods
  • Impact of the processing and post-processing steps on quality and safety of food
  • Stability of bioactive compounds in food and study of their bioaccessibility

Facilities

The Nutrition and Food Research Group has benefited from considerable recent strategic investment. Facilities include:

  • 2 x High resolution QExactive MS for detailed metabolomics and proteomics
  • GC-TOF for aroma analysis and metabolomics
  • GC, GC/MS & LC/MS for targeted analysis – LCs equipped with coularray, fluorescent and diode array detection
  • Prep HPLC for isolation/fractionation of food components
  • NO monitor
  • Pulse Wave Velocity and Pulse Wave analysis using a SphygmoCor system
  • 24 h Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
  • Organoleptic analysis laboratory for sensory evaluation
  • New product development food technology laboratory
  • Sample preparation and analysis laboratory
  • Digital imaging equipment for the determination of colour/colour defects in foodstuffs
  • Pilot Plant equipment

 

We also have access to complementary facilities including a human nutrition suite, which houses clinical research facilities (dedicated phlebotomy rooms and a wet lab equipped to quantify a wide range of analytes), Flow Mediated Dilatation (FMD) and whole body markers of endothelial function.

 

Other Departmental facilities include 2 x MiSeq benchtop sequencer and a PacBio sequencing system for detailed next-generation genetic sequencing, 2D gel electrophoresis, RT-PCR, tissue culture, plate readers, microscopy, NMR, and atomic absorption spectrometry

Postgraduate Students

Prospective postgraduate research students are encouraged to enquire with the relevant member of staff. University information on postgraduate studies can be found here.

Consultancy

Members of the research group actively participate in case consultancy work. Please visit the individual staff pages for further details of expertise.

Further Information

For further information on research and consultancy interests, please contact Dr John Lodge: john.lodge@northumbria.ac.uk


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