Strategic Research Programme coordination and identifying health bioactive components of foods.

Building links between academic disciplines and achieving effective science interaction with governmental policy, industry and communities is critical to tackling issues such as food security and delivering to the health and economic wellbeing of Scotland.

As Advisor for Food Land and People component of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme, I have responsibility for developing such interactions and ensuring their impact within the Strategic Programme’s priority areas of policy and practice and support for economy and innovation.

My personal research is eclectic but predominantly centres on the effect of plant compounds, found in the diet, on human health and how such effects may help plant breeding, food processing and contribute to individual and public health.

Research focus

My research spans prokaryotic and eukaryotic biology with an emphasis on cellular and organism response and adaptation to stressors. Research encompasses dietary human interventions; phytochemical-cell interactions; natural product drug development, plant pathology, microbiology and in vitro plant culture.  Current core-research focuses on understanding the influence of cereals, fruits and vegetable crops and their constituents on human health, in particular their modification of apoptotic responses.  The overall aim is to establish optimal but individually and environmentally sustainable dietary regimes for health maintenance. This research is also linked to identification of bioactivity traits relevant to human health within crop and underutilised species. The research is multidisciplinary and is highly collaborative.

 As Strategic Research Programme Advisor (reporting to the Main Research Providers (MRP) Directors' Executive Committee and Strategic Research programme Board) to the Land Food & People Programme (2011-2016) of the Rural Environment Science and Analytical Services of the Scottish Government, I am directly responsible for co-ordinating and advising on progress and development of  the  Food, Health and Welfare, Diet and Health and Rural Communities Themes (c £20million p/a funding) being conducted across Scotland's main research providers. A key role is representing and developing the Strategic Programme’s impact, including its Food Security agenda, at a Scotland and UK and International level.

Research team

Lesley Milne - Research Assistant

Michael Graham - PhD Student

  • Tenovus (2012-2014), Do synthetic folic acid and natural methylated foaltes at concentrations found in blood post-fortification, influence genomic stability and malignant transformation differently in human colon cells in vitro? (Led by Dr. S.Duthie)
  • University of Aberdeen CLSM (2012-2015) Diet, DNA Stability and Cancer: Do Folic Acid and Natural Methylated Folates Influence Genomic Stability, Apoptosis and Malignant Transformation Differently in Human Colon Cells? (Led by Dr. S. Duthie)
  • Rank Prize Funds (2010-2013), Diet, DNA Stability and colon cancer; how phytophenols in the human diet prevent malignant transformation (Led by Dr. S.Duthie)
  • Rowett Institute (RESAS-Underpinning Capacity; 2013-2017) University of Aberdeen: PhD studentship- Identification and characterisation of bioactivity traits relative to phytochemical metabolite composition within underutilised, edible Northern Scotland flora (Led by C.Bestwick)
  • Duthie, SJ., Duthie, GG., Russell, WR., Kyle, JAM., Macdiarmid, JI., Rungapamestry, V., Stephen, S., Megias-Baeza, C., Kaniewska, JJ., Shaw, L., Milne, L., Bremner, D., Ross, K., Morrice, P., Pirie, LP., Horgan, G. & Bestwick, CS. 'Effect of increasing fruit and vegetable intake by dietary intervention on nutritional biomarkers and attitudes to dietary change: a randomised trial'. European Journal of Nutrition, pp. 1-18.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1007/s00394-017-1469-0
    [Online] AURA: art_3A10.1007_2Fs00394_017_1469_0.pdf
  • Ranawana, V., Campbell, F., Bestwick, C., Nicol, P., Milne, L., Duthie, G. & Raikos, V. (2016). 'Breads Fortified with Freeze-Dried Vegetables: Quality and Nutritional Attributes. Part II: Breads Not Containing Oil as an Ingredient'. Foods, vol 5, no. 3, 62, pp. 1-14.
    [Online] DOI: 10.3390/foods5030062
    [Online] AURA: foods_05_00062.pdf
  • Ranawana, V., Raikos, V., Campbell, F., Bestwick, C., Nicol, P., Milne, L. & Duthie, G. (2016). 'Breads fortified with freeze-dried vegetables: quality and nutritional attributes. Part 1: Breads containing oil as an ingredient'. Foods, vol 5, no. 1, 19.
    [Online] DOI: 10.3390/foods5010019
    [Online] AURA: foods_05_00019.pdf
  • Ranawana, V., Campbell, F., Bestwick, C., Nicol, P., Milne, L., Duthie, G. & Raikos, V. (2016). 'Breads Fortified with Freeze-Dried Vegetables: Quality and Nutritional Attributes. Part II: Breads Not Containing Oil as an Ingredient'. Foods, vol 5, no. 3, 62.
    [Online] DOI: 10.3390/foods5030062
    [Online] AURA: foods_05_00062.pdf
  • Bestwick, CS., Douglas, FCG., Allan, JL., MacDiarmid, JI., Ludbrook, A. & Carlisle, S. (2013). 'A perspective on the strategic approach to the complexity and challenges of behaviour change in relation to dietary health'. Nutrition Bulletin, vol 38, no. 1, pp. 50-56.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1111/nbu.12007
  • Duthie, G., Campbell, F., Bestwick, C., Stephen, S. & Russell, W. (2013). 'Antioxidant effectiveness of vegetable powders on the lipid and protein oxidative stability of cooked Turkey meat patties: implications for health'. Nutrients, vol 5, no. 4, pp. 1241-1252.
    [Online] DOI: 10.3390/nu5041241
    [Online] AURA: nutrients_05_01241_v2.pdf
  • Hoggard, N., Cruickshank, M., Moar, K-M, Bestwick, C., Holst, JJ., Russell, W. & Horgan, G. (2013). 'A single supplement of a standardised bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) extract (36 % wet weight anthocyanins) modifies glycaemic response in individuals with type 2 diabetes controlled by diet and lifestyle'. Journal of Nutritional Science, vol 2, e22.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1017/jns.2013.16
    [Online] AURA: JONS.pdf
  • Ingram, JSI., Wright, HL., Foster, L., Aldred, T., Barling, D., Benton, TG., Berryman, PM., Bestwick, CS., Bows-Larkin, A., Brocklehurst, TF., Buttriss, J., Casey, J., Collins, H., Crossley, DS., Dolan, CS., Dowler, E., Edwards, R., Finney, KJ., Fitzpatrick, JL., Fowler, M., Garrett, DA., Godfrey, JE., Godley, A., Griffiths, W., Houlston, EJ., Kaiser, MJ., Kennard, R., Knox, JW., Kuyk, A., Linter, BR., Macdiarmid, JI., Martindale, W., Mathers, JC., McGonigle, DF., Mead, A., Millar, SJ., Miller, A., Murray, C., Norton, IT., Parry, S., Pollicino, M., Quested, TE., Tassou, S., Terry, LA., Tiffin, R., van de Graaf, P., Vorley, W., Westby, A. & Sutherland, WJ. (2013). 'Priority research questions for the UK food system'. Food Security, vol 5, no. 5, pp. 617-636.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1007/s12571-013-0294-4
    [Online] AURA: Priority_Research_Questions_for_the_UK.pdf
Additional activities

Dr. Bestwick is the Advisor, reporting to the MRP Directors, for the Food Land and People Programme which is one of the two five year multidisciplinary programmes within the Scottish Government's Strategic Research Programmes (2011-16). Using the co-ordinated cross-disciplinary expertise of Scotland’s Main Research Providers, the Strategic Research Programmes address major policy agenda issues within climate change, land use and food security.

Other roles include:

  • 2011-present:   Honorary (Visiting) Professor, School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.
  • 2013-present:   Co-Chair, Knowledge Exchange Committee, Scottish Government (RESAS) Strategic Research Programme
  • 2012-2013:       Member (Commissioner) of the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education, Scottish Government.
  • 2006-present:   Member of Cross-Party Group on Food, Scottish Parliament
  • 2010-present:   Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator for Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen
  • Member of The Impact of National Agency Science working group.
  • DNR "Do Not Resuscitate" : member of a panel of artists and scientists working on a Project supported by Crichton Carbon Centre, Creative Scotland & Dumfries & Galloway Council to examine contemporary issues posed by environmental change, human-environment interactions and behaviours. 
  • "Nil by mouth" : member of core committee for developing and supporting a programme of artists residencies with food producing communities as led through Crichton Carbon Centre with Creative Scotland funding and managed and curated by 'Wide Open'.

Recent Presentations

Megías Baeza C, Russell W.R., Duthie S.J., Bestwick C.S 2010. The effect of faecal water phenolics and phenyl metabolites derived from non starch polysaccharide and resistant starch ‘fibre’ diets on DNA damage in HT29 cells. 7th Joint Rowett-INRA Symposium 2010: Gut Microbiology – new insights into gut microbial ecosystems, June 23-25 2010, Aberdeen, Scotland.