BSc Hons Pharmacology, Newcastle University
BBSRC funded Ph.D. in Molecular Nutrition and Biochemistry, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences. Supervisor: Professor Dianne Ford.
Title of thesis: Genetic influences on inter-individual variation in soyabean isoflavone absorption and metabolism.
My research focuses on dietary polyphenols, from genetic differences that may influence variation in polyphenol metabolism to the ability of these polyphenols to mimic the beneficial effects seen with dietary restriction on ageing.
Consumption of soyabean isoflavones may have a number of health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Intervention studies with the supplementation of isoflavones have revealed inconsistent results on clinical effectiveness. There is large inter-individual variation in isoflavone bioavailability which cannot be explained fully by studies investigating soya matrix, microbial action, gender or age alone. The overall aim of the study was to establish if genotype influences the metabolism of a single, bolus, oral dose of soyabean isoflavones. To achieve this I have conducted a pilot human nutrition study, involving over 200 women in the Clinical Research Facility, RVI.
Another area of my research is to investigate if dietary polyphenols can alter epigenetic modifications on histones and DNA, alterations that may be benefical in the ageing process.
A recent model I have been exploring to assess the effect of diet on DNA methylation and lifespan is the Honeybee. Honeybees have similar methylation machinery to humans and it has been shown that a change in diet early in a bees life can dramatically alter the life outcome of the bee (lifespan and reproductive capcacity are hugely altered); changes in DNA methylation also coincide with these dietary effects.
Member of Human Nutrition Research Centre (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/hnrc/) and Epithelial Research Group (http://research.ncl.ac.uk/epithelia/)
Part-time Lecturer Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Nutritional Studies Module CH0384
Jan 2011- present
Undergraduate seminars Newcastle University
Supervision and training of PhD students