Professor Dianne Ford
Professor of Molecular Nutrition
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5986
- Address: Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences
University of Newcastle
Newcastle Upon Tyne
BSc Biochemistry, University of Bristol, 1988
PhD Biochemistry, University of Bristol, 1991
Funded by a Wellcome Prize Studentship
Roles and responsibilities
Director of PhD Studies, Faculty of Medical Sciences
Degree Programme Director, MRes, Faculty of Medical Sciences
Memberships and appointments
The Physiological Society
The Nutrition Society
The Biochemical Society
The British Society of Cell Biology
Society of Biology (Fellow)
International Society for Zinc Biology (Chair of meetings committee)
Editorial Board, Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
Understanding how diet interacts with cellular and whole organism function at the molecular level underpins nutritional advice aimed to maintain lifelong health. Our research in molecular nutrition focuses in two areas. Cellular and systemic zinc homeostasis: Zinc is an essential dietary micronutrient whose fundamental importance in normal cell function is highlighted by the fact that an estimated 10% of all human genes code for proteins that contain zinc. Our research examines the role and regulation of specific cellular proteins - primarily zinc transporters - in delivering zinc to the cell and organism, with the aim to understand how the cell and whole organism maintains zinc homeostasis. A current focus in this area is to identify and characterise novel mechanisms through which gene expression is regulated by zinc. A second major theme is to study the role in cellular zinc (and other metal) homeostasis of the COBW family of proteins whose likely involvement in these processes we have recently uncovered.
Epigenetic effects of diet: Epigenetic modifications of the genome are chemical “marks” that are passed on as cells divide and include methylation of the DNA and acetylation and methylation of the histone protein core around which DNA is wound. We are particularly interested in how epigenetic marking may be a mechanism for recording effects of dietary exposures and how these “records” may than affect health across the whole life course. Specific areas of current research include examining effects of the sirtuin proteins on DNA methylation, predicated on the observation that these proteins play a key role in increasing lifespan and/or protecting against ageing-related diseases in response to the practice of dietary restriction and based on the notion that DNA methylation patterns change as tissues age. We are also examining how dietary polyphenols, such as resveratrol and isoflavones, affect DNA methylation and other epigenetic features.
Member of Human Nutrition Research Centre (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/hnrc/) and Epithelial Research Group (http://research.ncl.ac.uk/epithelia/)
BBSRC, October 2008-September 2011, £437,977, Characterisation of a novel transcriptional mechanism for the regulation of mammalian gene expression by zinc (Principal Investigator: D Ford)
D. Ford. The contribution of genetic factors to inter-individual variability in dietary isoflavone absorption and metabolism. £379,953, BBSRC, July 2007 - June 2010
BBSRC, December 2008-November 2011, £602,142, DNA Methylation, Developmental Programming and Cellular Memory: The Molecular Consequences of Folate Depletion In Utero (Co-investigator: D Ford; Principal Investigator JC Mathers)
D. Ford. The molecular basis of the beneficial effects of calorie restrictiion on ageing: DNA methylation influenced by Sirt1-mediated histone deacetylation. £43,888, EPSRC/BBSRC (SPARC), November 2006 – June 2007
S. Kury, D. Ford et al. Molecular investigation of the pathogenesis of acrodermatitis enteropathica. 160,000 Euros (8,000 Euros to DF). Groupement d’Interet Scientifique, October 2003 – September 2005
B. H. Hirst, D. Ford. Differential regulation of GLYT1 glycine transporter isoforms in the intestine. £238,211, The Wellcome Trust, March 2003 – February 2006
D. Ford, J. C. Mathers. The molecular basis of the differential intestinal and placental response to zinc nutrition. £240,708, BBSRC, December 2002 – November 2005
D. Ford. The role of polymorphic xenobiotic-metabolising enzymes in isoflavone metabolism. £99,000, World Cancer Research Fund, November 2001 – June 2004
D. Ford, J.C. Mathers, F.C. Campbell. The regulation of intestinal zinc transporters. £200,000, BBSRC, April 2000 – March 2003
- Hardyman J, Tyson J, Jackson K, Aldridge C, Cockell S, Wakeling L, Valentine RA, Ford D. Zinc sensing by metal-responsive transcription factor 1 (MTF1) controls metallothionein and ZnT1 expression to buffer the sensitivity of the transcriptome response to zinc. Metallomics 2016. In Press.
- Ogo OA, Tyson J, Cockell SJ, Howard A, Valentine RA, Ford D. The zinc finger protein ZNF658 regulates the transcription of genes involved in zinc homeostasis and affects ribosome biogenesis through the zinc transcriptional regulatory element (ZTRE). Molecular and Cell Biology 2015, 35(6), 977-987.
- McKay JA, Xie L, Manus C, Langie SAS, Maxwell RJ, Ford D, Mathers JC. Metabolic effects of a high-fat diet post-weaning after low maternal dietary folate during pregnancy and lactation. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2014, 58(5), 1087-1097.
- Paoli PP, Wakeling LA, Wright GA, Ford D. The dietary proportion of essential amino acids and Sir2 influence lifespan in the honeybee. AGE 2014, 36, 1239-1247.
- Bosomworth HJ, Adlard PA, Ford D, Valentine RA. Altered Expression of ZnT10 in Alzheimer's Disease Brain. PLoS One 2013, 8(5), e65475.
- Hardyman JEJ, Ogo OA, Tyson J, Wakeling LA, Valentine RA, Ford D. DNA methylation of the zinc transcriptional regulatory element and its potential contribution to zinc dyshomeostasis in ageing. In: Nutrition Society Annual Summer Meeting. 2013, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge University Press.
- Wong YK, McKay JA, Xie L, Ford D, Mathers JC. Effects of folate depletion in utero and a high fat diet post-weaning on DNA methylation in the adult mouse small intestine. In: Nutrition Society Annual Summer Meeting. 2013, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge University Press.
- Ions LJ, Wakeling LA, Bosomworth HJ, Hardyman JEJ, Escolme SM, Swan DC, Valentine RA, Mathers JC, Ford D. Effects of Sirt1 on DNA methylation and expression of genes affected by dietary restriction. Age 2013, 35(5), 1835-1849.
- Ford D. Honeybees and cell lines as models of DNA methylation and aging in response to diet. Experimental Gerontology 2013, 48(7), 614-619.
- Potter C, McKay J, Groom A, Ford D, Coneyworth L, Mathers JC, Relton CL. Influence of DNMT Genotype on Global and Site Specific DNA Methylation Patterns in Neonates and Pregnant Women. PLoS ONE 2013, 8(10), e76506.
- Dang TS, Walker M, Ford D, Valentine R. Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics; the role of nutrition in gene expression. Periodontology 2000 2013. In Press.
- Maciel-Dominguez A, Swan D, Ford D, Hesketh J. Selenium alters miRNA profile in an intestinal cell line: Evidence that miR-185 regulates expression of GPX2 and SEPSH2. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2013, 57(12), 2195-2205.
- Bosomworth HJ, Thornton JK, Coneyworth LJ, Ford D, Valentine RA. Efflux function, tissue-specific expression and intracellular trafficking of the Zn transporter ZnT10 indicate roles in adult Zn homeostasis. Metallomics 2012, 4(8), 771-779.
- McKay JA, Groom A, Potter C, Coneyworth LJ, Ford D, Mathers JC, Relton CL. Genetic and Non-Genetic Influences during Pregnancy on Infant Global and Site Specific DNA Methylation: Role for Folate Gene Variants and Vitamin B12. PLoS One 2012, 7(3), e33290.
- Coneyworth LJ, Jackson KA, Tyson J, Bosomworth HJ, vanderHagen E, Hann GM, Ogo OA, Swann DC, Mathers JC, Valentine RA, Ford D. Identification of the human zinc transcriptional regulatory element (ZTRE): a palindromic protein-binding DNA sequence responsible for zinc-induced transcriptional repression. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2012, 287(43), 36567-36581.
- Wakeling LA, Ford D. Polymorphisms in genes involved in the metabolism and transport of soy isoflavones affect the urinary metabolite profile in premenopausal women following consumption of a commercial soy supplement as a single bolus dose. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2012, 56(12), 1794-1802.
- McKay JA, Xie L, Harris S, Wong YK, Ford D, Mathers JC. Blood as a surrogate marker for tissue-specific DNA methylation and changes due to folate depletion in post-partum female mice. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2011, 55(7), 1026-1035.
- Mckay JA, Adriaens M, Xie L, Manus C, Evelo CT, Ford D, Mathers JC. Consequences of Folate Depletion during Development and High Fat Intake from Weaning on Adiposity, Gene Expression and DNA Methylation in Adult Mice. In: Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease: 7th World Congress on Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 2011, Portland, Oregon, USA: Cambridge University Press.
- McKay JA, Ford D, Relton CL, Evelo CT, Adriaens M, Mathers JC. Consequences of Folate Depletion during Development for DNA Methylation and Gene Expression in the Fetal Mouse. In: Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease: 7th World Congress on Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 2011, Portland, Oregon, USA: Cambridge University Press.
- Thornton JK, Taylor KM, Ford D, Valentine RA. Differential Subcellular Localization of the Splice Variants of the Zinc Transporter ZnT5 Is Dictated by the Different C-Terminal Regions. PLoS One 2011, 6(8), e23878.
- McKay JA, Adriaens M, Xie L, Evelo CT, Relton CL, Ford D, Mathers JC. Folate Depletion during Development Causes Gene Expression Changes in Fetal and Adult Mouse Liver. In: Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease: 7th World Congress on Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 2011, Portland, Oregon, USA: Cambridge University Press.
- McKay JA, Wong YK, Relton CL, Ford D, Mathers JC. Maternal folate supply and sex influence gene-specific DNA methylation in the fetal gut. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2011, 55(11), 1717-1723.
- Fairweather-Tait SJ, Bao YP, Broadley MR, Collings R, Ford D, Hesketh JE, Hurst R. Selenium in Human Health and Disease. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling 2011, 14(7), 1337-1383.
- Ford D, Ions LJ, Alatawi F, Wakeling LA. The potential role of epigenetic responses to diet in ageing. In: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society: A joint meeting of the Nutrition Society and the UK Molecular Epidemiology Group. 2011, London: Cambridge University Press.
- Howard A, Tahir I, Javed S, Waring SM, Ford D, Hirst BH. Glycine transporter GLYT1 is essential for glycine-mediated protection human intestinal epithelial cells against oxidative damage. Journal of Physiology 2010, 588(6), 995–1009.
- Jackson KA, Valentine RA, Mckay JA, Swan DC, Mathers JC, Ford D. Analysis of differential gene-regulatory responses to zinc in human intestinal and placental cell lines. British Journal of Nutrition 2009, 101(10), 1474-1483.
- Ions L, Wakeling L, Ford D. Can soyabean isoflavones mimic the effects of energy restriction on healthy ageing?. Nutrition Bulletin 2009, 34(3), 303-308.
- Wakeling LA, Ions LJ, Ford D. Could Sirt1-mediated epigenetic effects contribute to the longevity response to dietary restriction and be mimicked by other dietary interventions?. Age 2009, 31(4), 327-341.
- Coneyworth LJ, Mathers JC, Ford D. Does promoter methylation of the SLC30A5 (ZnT5) zinc transporter gene contribute to the ageing-related decline in zinc status?. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 2009, 68(2), 142-147.
- Coneyworth L, Mathers J, Ford D. Does promoter methylation of the SLC30A5 (ZnT5) zinc transporter gene contribute to the ageing-related decline in zinc status?. In: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society: Conference on ‘Multidisciplinary approaches to nutritional problems’. 2009, University of Nottingham, UK: Cambridge University Press.
- Waldron KJ, Rutherford JC, Ford D, Robinson NJ. Metalloproteins and metal sensing. Nature 2009, 460(7257), 823-830.
- Mckay JA, Adriaens ME, Ford D, Relton CL, Evelo CTA, Mathers JC. Bioinformatic interrogation of expression array data to identify nutritionally regulated genes potentially modulated by DNA methylation. Genes & Nutrition 2008, 3(3-4), 167-171.
- Fairweather-Tait SJ, Harvey LJ, Ford D. Does ageing affect zinc homeostasis and dietary requirements?. Experimental Gerontology 2008, 43(5), 382-388.
- Pritchett LE, Atherton KM, Mutch E, Ford D. Glucuronidation of the soyabean isoflavones genistein and daidzein by human liver is related to levels of UGT1A1 and UGT1A9 activity and alters isoflavone response in the MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2008, 19(11), 739-745.
- Overbeck S, Uciechowski P, Ackland ML, Ford D, Rink L. Intracellular zinc homeostasis in leukocyte subsets is regulated by different expression of zinc exporters ZnT-1 to ZnT-9. Journal of Leukocyte Biology 2008, 83(2), 368-380.
- Jackson KA, Valentine RA, Coneyworth LJ, Mathers JC, Ford D. Mechanisms of mammalian zinc-regulated gene expression. Biochemical Society Transactions 2008, 36(6), 1262-1266.
- Pedder CM, Ford D, Hesketh JE. Targeting of transcripts encoding membrane proteins in polarized epithelia: RNA-protein binding studies of the SGLT1 3′-UTR. Biochemical Society Transactions 2008, 36(3), 525-527.
- Jackson KA, Helston RM, McKay JA, O'Neill ED, Mathers JC, Ford D. Splice variants of the human zinc transporter ZnT5 (SLC30A5) are differentially localized and regulated by zinc through transcription and mRNA stability. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2007, 282(14), 10423-10431.
- Helston RM, Phillips SR, McKay JA, Jackson KA, Mathers JC, Ford D. Zinc Transporters in the Mouse Placenta Show a Coordinated Regulatory Response to Changes in Dietary Zinc Intake. Placenta 2007, 28(5-6), 437-444.
- Valentine RA, Jackson KA, Christie GR, Mathers JC, Taylor PM, Ford D. ZnT5 variant B is a bidirectional zinc transporter and mediates zinc uptake in human intestinal Caco-2 cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2007, 282(19), 14389-14393.
- Atherton KM, Mutch E, Ford D. Metabolism of the soyabean isoflavone daidzein by CYP1A2 and the extra-hepatic CYPs 1A1 and 1B1 affects biological activity. Biochemical Pharmacology 2006, 72(5), 624-631.
- Cragg RA, Phillips SR, Piper JM, Varma JS, Campbell FC, Mathers JC, Ford D. Homeostatic regulation of zinc transporters in the human small intestine by dietary zinc supplementation. Gut 2005, 54(4), 469-478.
- Willits, I., Price, L., Parry, A. P., Tilby, M. J., Ford, D., Cholerton, S., Pearson, A. D. J., Boddy, A. V. Pharmacokinetics and metabolism of ifosfamide in relation to DNA damage assessed by the COMET assay in children with cancer. British Journal of Cancer 2005, 92(9), 1626-1635.
- Howard A, Goodlad RA, Walters JRF, Ford D, Hirst BH. Increased expression of specific intestinal amino acid and peptide transporter mRNA in rats fed by TPN is reversed by GLP-2. Journal of Nutrition 2004, 134(11), 2957-2964.
- Ford D. Intestinal and placental zinc transport pathways. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 2004, 63(1), 21-29.
- Chan LMS, Cooper AE, Dudley ALJ, Ford D, Hirst BH. P-glycoprotein potentiates CYP3A4-mediated drug disappearance during Caco-2 intestinal secretory detoxification. Journal of Drug Targeting 2004, 12(7), 405-413.
- Ford D, Howard A, Hirst BH. Expression of the peptide transporter hPepT1 in human colon: A potential route for colonic protein nitrogen and drug absorption. Histochemistry and Cell Biology 2003, 119(1), 37-43.
- Cragg RA, Christie GR, Phillips SR, Russi RM, Kury S, Mathers JC, Taylor PM, Ford D. A novel zinc-regulated human zinc transporter, hZTL1, is localized to the enterocyte apical membrane. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2002, 277(25), 22789-22797.
- Cragg RA, Christie GR, Taylor PM, Ford D. Cloning and intestinal localisation of hZTL1, a novel zinc transporter. Journal of Physiology 2002, 539(supplement), 5P.
- Wilson V, Howard A, Ford D, Hirst BH. EGF enhanced transcription of the amino acid transporter hATB(0) in COS-7 cells. In: Journal of Physiology: Conference of the Physiological Society. 2002, Liverpool: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Ford D. Mechanistic explanations for the chemopreventive action of soyabean isoflavones: Reducing the possibilities. British Journal of Nutrition 2002, 88(5), 439-441.
- Phillips SR, Russi RM, Cragg RA, Mathers JC, Ford D. The effect of zinc on expression of the novel zinc transporter hZTL1 in human intestinal and placental cell lines. Journal of Physiology 2002, 539(supplement), 18P-19P.
- Christie GR, Ford D, Howard A, Clark M Ann, Hirst BH. Glycine supply to human enterocytes mediated by high-affinity basolateral GLYT1. Gastroenterology 2001, 120(2), 439-448.
- Chan L, Dudley A, Keating K, Cooper AE, Ford D, Hirst BH. Interactions of testosterone with cytochrome P450 3A4 and P-glycoprotein in human intestinal Caco-2 cells. In: Meeting of the Physiological Society. 2001, Sheffield, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Howard A, Rugg-Gunn P, Goodlad RL, Walters JRF, Ford D, Hirst BH. Regional differences in small intestinal nutrient transporter transcript expression during total parenteral nutrition. In: FASEB Journal. 2001, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
- Howard A, Jordinson M, Goodlad RA, Walters JR, Ford D, Hirst BH. Changes in expression of intestinal peptide and amino acid transporters in rats fed by total parenteral nutrition. In: GASTROENTEROLOGY. 2000.
- Gray PA, Ford D, Hirst BH. Regulation of the amino acid transporter hEAAC1 in human intestinal Caco-2 cells. In: FASEB JOURNAL. 2000.
- Howard A, Gray PA, Ford D, Hirst BH. System ASC activity and expression of the amino acid transporter ASCT1 in human intestinal Caco-2 cells. In: JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LONDON. 2000.
- Matthews CJ, Ford D, Hirst BH. Expression of GLYT1 in human endometrial epithelium. In: FASEB Journal. 1999, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
- Thwaites DT, Ford D, Glanville M, Simmons NL. H+/solute-induced intracellular acidification leads to selective activation of apical Na+/H+ exchange in human intestinal epithelial cells. Journal of Clinical Investigation 1999, 104(5), 629-635.
- Ford D, Thwaites D, Simmons N, Gilbert H, Hirst B. Substrate upregulation of the human small intestinal peptide transporter, hPepT1. Journal of Physiology 1998, 507(3), 697-706.
- Walker D and Hirst BH. Intestinal peptide transport and its regulation. Nutrition Abstracts and Reviews, series A 1997, 67, 801-805.
- Sardas S, Walker D, Akyol D and Karakaya AE. Assessment of DNA damage in the lymphocytes of newborn infants of smoking mothers using the alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis technique. Mutation Research 1995, 335, 213-217.
- Walker D, Chia WN and Muirhead H. Key residues in the allosteric transition of Bacillus stearothermophilus pyruvate kinase identified by site-directed mutagenesis. Journal of Molecular Biology 1992, 228, 265-276.