Our research comprises a multidisciplinary team with skills in modern molecular techniques, biochemistry, physiology, dietetics and health psychology. Our research is divided into the following three themes.
Diet & health
Current work investigates nutrition-related factors that contribute to healthy ageing. Principal interests cover the relationships between diet in pregnancy and the risk of disease in later life (Nutrition in early life), obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Laboratory-based research in these areas enables us to investigate mechanisms behind human disease processes. Expertise in qualitative research methods facilitates studies on the impact of dietetic intervention on behaviour change and the nutritional status of patients with cancer.
Food allergy & protein expression
Our general aim is to understand why common food proteins are recognized by the immune system as "foreign" whilst other proteins with similar structures are tolerated? Current in vitro work suggests that NKT cells and the presence of endogenous natural lipids are essential for the allergenicity of common food plant albumin proteins. Novel diagnostic tools have also been developed (Visit Food Allergy website).
Metabolism ageing & disease
As the global prevalence of metabolic disease (type-2 diabetes, obesity) increases, we are investigating the relationships between nutritional status and the processes which control gene and protein expression (Nutrient-gene interactions). Our primary interests lie in the area of transcriptional regulation of lipid metabolism and the factors which promote the trans-differentiation of lipid-storing white adipose to lipid-oxidizing brown adipose tissue. Increasing knowledge of these processes, and how they might be modified by aging or early life events, contributes to our mechanistic understanding of the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
Global food security
Food production is an essential element of the world we live in today and is now of great significance. Climate change, growing population and scarcity of resources demands novel approaches to growth of both plant- and animal-based foodstuffs (Nutrition and global food security) . Our interests utilize expertise in molecular biology to optimize the nutritional quality of plant foods and their use as a bioenergy source. Our knowledge of muscle and adipose tissue biology is directed towards enhancing the growth of livestock and controlling factors such as meat tenderness.
- Quantitative PCR laboratory
- Energy balance studies
- Tissue culture suite
- Clinical Skills Unit
- Dietetics Laboratory
Kathy Lawson (Divisional Administrator)
Division of Nutritional Sciences
School of Biosciences
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough, LE12 5RD
Tel: +44 (0) 115 95 16061
Fax: +44 (0) 115 9516122