Influence of diet on cardiovascular function and risk

We aim to determine if and how various chemicals found in food can decrease the risk of having a heart attack.

In order to do so, we are conducting dietary intervention studies in healthy individuals and patients, to determine if food elements can reduce chemicals in the blood, or other measurement such as blood pressure, linked to increased risk of heart attack.

We are also conducting test tube experiments to identify how these molecules work.


Research focus

My research interests mainly relate to the influence of various dietary components on cardiovascular function and cardiovascular risk, with particular emphasis being placed on the role of inflammatory processes. My research activities include relatively large as well as pilot intervention studies in healthy individuals and patients, supported by in vitro work for the mechanistic aspects.

Research Team

Dr Lynsey Mills -Research Fellow.


Grant income since 2005: £3.3 millions

2004-2007- PhD scholarship, Food Standard Agency (G Duthie, F Thies)

2005-2007- Effect of n-3 PUFA on platelet activation, markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in patients with peripheral arterial disease, British Heart foundation, (J Brittenden, F. Thies, I. Ford, M. Greaves)

2005-2008- Effect of whole grain food on CVD risk markers, Food Standard Agency,  (F Thies, G. Duthie, J. Brittenden)

2006- Diet, aspirin and platelets aggregation in patients with peripheral arterial disease NHS Grampian Endowments (J Brittenden, F Thies)

2007-2010- Tomato, lycopene, and CVD risk, Food Standard Agency, (F Thies, G. Duthie, L Masson)

2008-2009- Development of a method to measure methylated  derivatives of arginine in plasma , Development Trust, (F. Thies, J. Brittenden, G. Cameron)

2007-2009- Imaging atherosclerotic plaque inflammation with flurodeoxyglucose positron emisson tomography and CT angiography TMRI Ltd (J Brittenden, K Cassar, F Thies)

2008-2011- Effect of 1 year vitamin D intervention on risk of cardiovascular disease: a randomized controlled trial at 57ºN, Food Standard Agency (H MacDonald, F Thies, A Mavroiedi, D Reid)

2008-2009- In Vivo 18-FDG PET Imaging and Atherosclerotic Plaque Inflammatory Biomarkers in Mouse Model of Atherosclerosis- A Randomized Controlled Trial TMRI Ltd (J Brittenden, S Shaikh, G Small, H Wilson , A Welch, F Thies, P Brown)

2009-2012- A comprehensive longitudinal study of diet and chronic low-grade systemic inflammation in a well-characterized population of postmenopausal women Food Standard Agency (H MacDonald, F Thies,  D Reid, G Duthie)

2010- Fish oil supplementation and immune function and inflammatory responses to exercise Tenovus Scotland (S Gray, F Thies)

2011-2015- Strategic partnership on food and drink science, Scottish Government (K Scott, F Thies, M Frenneaux)

  • Thies, F., Mills, LM., Moir, S. & Masson, LF. (2017). 'Cardiovascular benefits of lycopene: fantasy or reality?'. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, vol 76, no. 2, pp. 122-129.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1017/S0029665116000744
    [Online] AURA: FThies_Proc_Nut_Soc_2016_Final.docx
    [Online] AURA: F_Thies_Figure_1.tiff
    [Online] AURA: F_Thies_figure_2_June_16_01.tif
  • Da Boit, M., Sibson, R., Sivasubramaniam, S., Meakin, JR., Greig, CA., Aspden, R., Thies, F., Jeromson, S., Hamilton, DL., Speakman, JR., Hambly, C., Mangoni, AA., Preston, T. & Gray, SR. (2017). 'Sex differences in the effect of fish-oil supplementation on the adaptive response to resistance exercise training in older people: a randomized controlled trial'. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol 105, no. 1, pp. 151-158.
    [Online] DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.140780
    [Online] AURA: Am_J_Clin_Nutr_2017_Da_Boit_151_8.pdf
  • Clark, LF., Thivierge, MC., Kidd, CA., McGeoch, S., Abraham, P., Pearson, DWM., Horgan, GW., Holtrop, G., Thies, F. & Lobley, GE. (2016). 'Fish oil supplied for 9 months does not improve glycaemic control or insulin sensitivity in subjects with impaired glucose regulation: a parallel randomised controlled trial'. British Journal of Nutrition, vol 115, no. 01, pp. 75-86.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1017/S0007114515004274
  • Da Boit, M., Sibson, R., Meakin, JR., Aspden, RM., Thies, F., Mangoni, A. & Gray, SR. (2016). 'Sex differences in the response to resistance exercise training in older people'. Physiological reports, vol 4, no. 12, e12834.
    [Online] DOI: 10.14814/phy2.12834
    [Online] AURA: Boit_et_al_2016_Physiological_Reports.pdf
  • Thies, F., Mills, LM., Moir, S. & Masson, LF. (in press). 'Cardiovascular benefits of lycopene: fantasy or reality'. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.
    [Online] AURA: FThies_Proc_Nut_Soc_2016_Final.docx
    [Online] AURA: F_Thies_Figure_1.tiff
    [Online] AURA: F_Thies_figure_2_June_16_01.tif
  • Staniszewska, A., Rajagopalan, S., Al-Shaheen, A., Thies, F. & Brittenden, J. (2015). 'Increased levels of Symmetric dimethyl-arginine are associated with all-cause mortality in patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease'. Journal of Vascular Surgery, vol 61, no. 5, pp. 1292-1298.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.jvs.2015.01.002
  • Beadle, RM., Williams, LK., Kuehl, M., Bowater, S., Abozguia, K., Leyva, F., Yousef, Z., Wagenmakers, AJM., Thies, F., Horowitz, J. & Frenneaux, MP. (2015). 'Improvement in Cardiac Energetics by Perhexiline in Heart Failure Due to Dilated Cardiomyopathy'. JACC. Heart failure, vol 3, no. 3, pp. 202-211.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.jchf.2014.09.009
  • Chen, CT., Kitson, AP., Hopperton, KE., Domenichiello, AF., Trepanier, MO., Lin, LE., Ermini, L., Post, M., Thies, F. & Bazinet, RP. (2015). 'Plasma non-esterified docosahexaenoic acid is the major pool supplying the brain: Plasma NEFA pool supplies the brain with DHA'. Scientific Reports, vol 5, 15791.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1038/srep15791
    [Online] AURA: srep15791.pdf
Additional activities

Research briefs for the Knowledge Scotland web site

Additional Responsibilities

  • Member, Human Studies Management Committee
  • Member, Rowett Ethics Panel
  • Member, Council, Scottish section of the Nutrition Society
  • Member, postgraduate teaching committee
  • Member, Msc Human nutrition program Committee
  • Guest Editor, The Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
  • External examiner, Queen Margaret University and Caledonian university