Dr VIREN RANAWANA

Dr VIREN RANAWANA
BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, FHEA

Research Fellow

Overview

Contact Details

Telephone
work +44 (0)1224 438764
Fax
fax +44(0) 1224 438 699
Email
Address
The University of Aberdeen Metabolic Health Group,
Rowett Institute,
Foresterhill,
Aberdeen, Scotland AB25 2ZD, UK

Biography

Academic and related background

 

  • PhD Human Nutrition,Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK.  2008-2011

     Thesis: Factors affecting the glycaemic response- physical state and particle size

     Supervised by Prof C. Jeya. K. Henry

 

  • MSc Applied Human Nutrition (Distinction and best student), Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK. 2006-2007

      Dissertation- Glycaemic index of commonly consumed rice and rice products in the UK

 

  • BSc (Special) Food Science and Technology (2:1), Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka. 1999-2004

 

  • I am also a trained chef having undergone formal training at the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (1998-99), and have worked at hotels and restaurants in the UK and Sri Lanka

 

Research experience

  • Principle Investigator and Research Fellow. Metabolic Health theme, Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, UK. 2014-Present
  • Research Fellow, Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences, Singapore. 2011-2014
  • Research Assistant, Functional Food Centre, Oxford Brookes University, UK. 2011
Research

Research Interests

Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are rapidly escalating around the world and are the largest contributors to global mortality and morbidity. It is well recognised that diet forms a cornerstone in the prevention and management of NCDs, and perhaps the most effective, economical and sustainable approach for improving the health of a population.  Having trained in both nutrition and food science my research interests lie in the food science-nutrition interface and focuses on the impact of food, its composition, preparation and processing on human nutrition and health. I am particularly interested in looking at how modern foods and diets could be reformulated to optimise their health and nutritional effects in humans.    

As a human Nutritionist specialising in intervention studies my work involves the execution of randomised controlled trials for elucidating the health effects of foods in humans. I am particularly interested in the effects of diet on blood glucose and diabetes risk.

Current Research

My current research focuses on;

  • Reformulating processed for improving health:

A recent review showed that processed foods contributed over 70% to purchased dietary energy in the UK, making it the highest in Europe. Trends suggest that processed food consumption is rising, therefore advocacy to reduce their intake is not seen as a sustainable long term strategy for improving diet quality. Rather, a more realistic approach for improving public health is to improve the health properties of processed foods. Our work is looking at how natural products could be used for reformulating processed foods for improving their nutritional, health and physico-chemical properties. Furthermore we are investigating how they could be used to replace synthetic additives in processed foods and for designing 'clean-label' products. Natural products being studied include fruits and vegetables, processing byproducts such as fruit pomace, crop secondary products such as broad bean hull, and underutilised novel foods such as salal berries and honeyberries.

 

  • Effect of diet on blood glucose and diabetes risk.

This research  looks at two specific aspects;

       1. Effect of vegetables on hyperglycaemia and hyperglycaemia induced cardiovascular risk. We are investigating how the co-ingestion of vegetables with carbohydrates impact on blood glucose and blood glucose induced cardiovascular risk pathways. The work is also studying interindividual variations in related metabolic responses and factors contributing to it such as gene expression, environment and metabolic state.

        2. Identification of functional foods for diabetes control. This work is looking at natural products that could be used for reducing diabetes risk. Examples include crop byproducts such as broad bean hull, spices such as cinnamon, and food processing byproducts such as raspberry pomace. Our studies include in vitro experiments for investigating mechanistic pathways, and in vivo work for investigating effects in humans. Furthermore this work combines with our reformulation work above to develop novel foods for preventing diabetes and related comorbidities.  

 

Collaborations

James Hutton Institute

Oxford Brookes University

Singapore institute for Clinical Sciences

Abertay University

Research Grants

Interface Food and Drink, Feasibility Grant 10k

Teaching

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Co-Coordinator MSc Human Nutrition Programme- University of Aberdeen
  • Course coordinator for the Clinical Nutrition Specialism- MSc Human Nutrition course (University of Aberdeen)
  • Teaching within MSc Human Nutrition programme
  • PhD student supervision

 

Further Info

External Responsibilities

  • Nutrition Society, Scottish Section- Committee member
  • Proceedings of the Nutrition Society- Editorial Board

Admin Responsibilities

  • Member of the Rowett Human Studies Management committee
  • Member Rowett Research Ethics Committee
Publications

Publications 

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