Senior Research Fellow
Diet and metabolic health
The group’s research interests are in the mechanisms involved in the regulation of energy balance and body weight, and to determine how dysregulation leads to obesity and its associated pathologies. In particular we study the endocrine and physiological role of factors secreted by adipose tissue. A combination of in vivo and cell culture approaches is employed, integrating molecular and protein techniques into whole-organism physiology.
In particular we are interested in dietary strategies for alleviating the metabolic complications such as type 2 diabetes associated with obesity as alternatives to pharmaceutical interventions.
The genus Vaccinium (e.g. blueberry, blaeberry), has been used traditionally as a source of folk remedies for established diabetic symptoms. Berries from this family such as blueberries and blaeberries are enriched in polyphenolics recognized for their ability to provide cellular antioxidant protection, inhibit inflammatory genes, and consequently protect against oxidant-induced and inflammatory cell damage and cytotoxicity. The association of obesity with the expression of genes in the fat which cause a low level of inflammation in this tissue suggests that eating edible berries from this genus might provide a supplementary intervention to reduce this obesity- associated inflammation and the associated insulin resistance which this low level of inflammation may be causing.
I am investigating the idea that there are foods, or components of foods, which could be used as an alternative to drugs to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes (T2D) associated with obesity.
The research we are doing could help the food industry to make their products healthier and encourage people to eat a healthier diet.
Programme coordinator for the MSc in clinical nutrition:
Coordinator of the sixth century course SX3012 An Appetite for Food and Health