Dr Silvia Gratz

Dr Silvia Gratz

Research Fellow


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 438675


I have obtained my MSc in Human Nutrition from the University of Vienna, Austria (2002) and my PhD in Food Toxicology from the University of Kuopio, Finland (2007). I have joined the Rowett Institute as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and am now a Principal Investigator in the Gut Health group.


Research Interests

Impact of diet on intestinal metabolism and gut toxicity

There is strong evidence that our diet influences the healthy function of our intestinal tract. Besides the healthy nutrients, some toxins and carcinogens may also be present in the food we eat and additional toxic compounds can be formed or released by intestinal microbiota.

In my research group we look at how carcinogenic compounds are formed in the gut following high consumption of red meat, and how dietary fibre and Vitamin C can prevent their formation.

Furthermore we study mycotoxins, which are toxins produced by some specific moulds growing on agricultural crops. We assess the levels of mycotoxins in foods and human exposure to these dietary toxins.

This work directly benefits consumers by providing evidence on healthy and safe diets. Read more here

Current Research

My research investigates the role of the gut microbiota and microbial metabolites derived from dietary components on the health and function of the intestinal epithelium.

In one project we study the role of gut microbiota in the degradation of masked mycotoxins and the detoxification of mycotoxins. This activity of microbiota is important as it releases additional bound mycotoxins into the large intestine. Furthermore we assess human exposure to mycotoxins using urinary mycotoxin excretion as biomarker in humans.

Another project assesses the effect of diet composition on microbial metabolites derived from carbohydrate and protein metabolism (e.g. butyrate, ammonia, nitrosamines) and their effects on the intestine. In human intervention studies our volunteers consume diets with different levels of carbohydrate, protein and meat and we measure microbial metabolites in human faecal samples.

Research Team

Ms Valerie Stevens – Research Assistant

Ms Noshin Daud – PhD student (Elphinstone scholarship)

Mr Edward Devlin – PhD student

Research Grants

  • MRC funded research grant (2019-2020): Mycotoxin exposure, intestinal inflammation and childhood stunting in India.
  • NC3Rs funded PhD studentship grant (2019-2022): Modelling Candida albicans infection of the human gut using human intestinal organoid cultures. 
  • Interface Multiparty funded research grant (2019-2020): Investigating the risk of mycotoxin contamination as an emerging issue for Scottish oat production. 
  • TENOVUS funded research grant (2018-2012): Application of human intestinal organoids to study food-derived risk factors for inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Scottish Government themed programme (2016–2021).
  • Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance funded Early career X-change grant (2016).
  • Food Standards Agency funded research grant (2014-2015): Evaluation of masked mycotoxins in foods and their release and uptake in the gut. Joint with FERA ltd, York, UK.
  • Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board funded PhD studentship grant (2013-2016): Application of association mapping and genomic sequencing to starch and GI in potato. Joint with The James Hutton Institute, Dundee, UK.
  • EU FP7 collaborative project SATIN - Satiety Innovation (2012–2016).
  • Scottish Government themed programme (2011–2016).

Teaching Responsibilities

Course coordinator for MSc courses

  • Clinical Nutrition, 2018-present
  • Foundations of Human Nutrition, 2016-2018

Lecturing in several courses within the MSc Programme Human Nutrition

Tutor in Research Skills for Medical Sciences (BSc)

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Editorial board member Frontiers in Predictive Toxicity (since 2010)

Admin Responsibilities

Member of the Rowett Internal Ethics Review Panel (Human studies)

Member of the Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team (Rowett)