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John Brameld

Associate Professor in Nutritional Biochemistry, Faculty of Science


  • workRoom A15 The Elms
    Sutton Bonington Campus
    Sutton Bonington
    LE12 5RD
  • work0115 951 6133
  • fax0115 951 6122


Dr John Brameld

Associate Professor in Nutritional Biochemistry

John's research interests fall into three main areas: molecular nutrition, development of body composition and regulation of energy balance. Current research projects include:

  • Effects of vitamin D on cell growth, metabolism and gene expression, as a mechanism for improving human health.
  • Regulation of tissue (muscle, fat and liver) growth and metabolism, combining metabolomics, transcriptomics and systems biology.
  • Novel regulators of energy expenditure and appetite.

Expertise Summary

Skeletal muscle; adipose tissue; hypothalamus; metabolism; growth; energy expenditure; appetite.

Gene expression; microarrays; transcriptomics.

In vitro and in vivo studies.

Teaching Summary

I am the module convenor for the 3rd year undergraduate module, D23BN2 (Animal Nutrition), and the MSc module D24FON (Fundamentals of Nutrition).

I teach on the following modules throughout the 3 years of the undergraduate BSc degree courses:

  1. D21BN1 - Introduction to Nutrition
  2. D224N0 - Nutrition, Metabolism & Disease
  3. D223NA - Nutritional Regulation, Physiology and Endocrinology
  4. D223N8 - Principles of Animal Nutrition
  5. D23BN2 - Animal Nutrition
  6. D23BN3 - Molecular Nutrition

I also teach on the following MSc Nutritional Sciences/ Animal Nutrition modules:

  1. D24FON/ D24AN7 Fundamentals of Nutrition
  2. D24NAM Nutrition and Metabolism
  3. D24MON/ D24AN8 Molecular Nutrition
  4. D24SRN Systematic Review in Nutrition

I was the lead co-ordinator for the development of the E-Learning package, the Vitamin Village (

Research Summary

My Research interests are predominantly the study of interactions between hormones and nutrients in the regulation of growth, development and metabolism, particularly of liver, skeletal muscle and… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

My Research interests are predominantly the study of interactions between hormones and nutrients in the regulation of growth, development and metabolism, particularly of liver, skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. I previously spent some time in the pharmaceutical industry and this has influenced the direction of my studies, which fall into 3 broad areas:

1) Nutrient-gene interactions.

These are all cell culture-based studies investigating the mechanisms by which specific nutrients influence gene expression.

  • Past studies investigated the effects of glucose and amino acids on expression of genes of the growth hormone-insulin like growth factor (GH-IGF) axis. We demonstrated interactions between various hormones (insulin, thyroid hormones, glucocorticoids and growth hormone) and specific nutrients (glucose and individual amino acids) in the regulation of expression of growth hormone receptor (GHR) and IGF-I mRNA using cultured pig hepatocytes.
  • Other studies in this area include i) effects of fatty acids on expression of key fat metabolism genes (e.g. stearoyl coA desaturase, SCD); ii) effects of plant-derived polyphenols (e.g. flavonoids) on vascular endothelial cell growth and gene expression, including microarray analyses; and iii) effects of fatty acids and oxidants/antioxidants on proliferation and differentiation of cultured muscle cells.
  • More recent studies are investigating the effects of nuclear hormones/vitamins (e.g. vitamin A and D) on gene expression in different cell types, as well as effects on differentiation of muscle cells, including the conversion (so called trans-differentiation) to other cell types (e.g. adipose and bone).

2) Development of body composition.

The GH-IGF axis plays a key role in regulating the growth and differentiation of virtually all cell types, but particularly skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. The effects of nutrients on the GH-IGF axis may be particularly important during fetal life when skeletal muscle (myoblast/myofibre) and fat cell (preadipocyte/adipocyte) determination, proliferation and/or differentiation takes place.

  • Previous studies investigated the effects of maternal nutrition on muscle and fat cell growth and development, and the long-term consequences for growth, development and metabolism of the offspring.
  • Of particular interest has been the effect of maternal nutrition on body composition, muscle fibre number and fibre type composition of the offspring, combining molecular and histochemical methodologies in a variety of animal model systems.
  • This has recently been extended to investigate the regulation of skeletal muscle fibre type transitions during postnatal development, using a combined transcriptomic and metabolomic approach. This work has been in collaboration with a major pharmaceutical company.

3) Energy balance and efficiency.

The regulation of energy balance (intake vs expenditure) and nutrient partitioning is important both in terms of body composition and efficiency of growth in farmed animals, but also humans developing obesity and associated co-morbidities (insulin resistance, hypertension, etc).

  • In vitro studies include the effects of hormones and nutrients (e.g. glucose and polyphenols) on fat breakdown (lipolysis) using cultured fat explants from pigs, rats and humans.
  • In vivo studies are investigating the regulation of appetite (via hypothalamic neuropeptides such as TRH, AgRP and VGF) and whole body energy expenditure (oxygen consumption) using closed- and open-circuit calorimeters (e.g. CLAMS), including the effects of dietary polyphenols and plant extracts. The role of skeletal muscle characteristics (e.g. fibre number and type) in whole body energy expenditure is of particular interest, including the peripheral and central effects of nuclear hormone receptors and associated ligands (e.g. thyroid hormone, vitamin A and D and PPARs).

School of Biosciences

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough
LE12 5RD, UK

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