Human Nutrition Research Centre

Staff Profile

Dr Kirsten Brandt

Senior Lecturer

Background

Background

My interests focus on links between food quality, plant chemistry, and health of humans and animals, and how knowledge of these links can be implemented to improve practical outcomes.
In particular I am interested in the multidisciplinary aspects, where information from one subject area can be used to improve the understanding of processes and mechanisms in another area.
Originally I was trained in plant biochemistry, but today most of my research and teaching relates to human health, food quality or food security. See the Research tab for details.

Google Scholar profile (List of all publications, citations etc.)

Roles and Responsibilities

In addition to my research and teaching (see separate tabs), I supervise postgraduate research students from various backgrounds to acquire advanced degrees (PhD or MPhil). Each of these carry out a research project, which provides training in experimental design and practice, as well as in-depth knowledge of the science of the studied topic. This education aims to equip the research student with the skills and knowledge required for an independent research career.

I'm member of the main panel for 'Food Production' in the Swedish Research Council Formas (on Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning).

Previous Positions

Between 2004 and 2017 the topic Food Quality and Health was located in the then School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, and many of my activities were focused on the interface of the above-mentioned topics with agricultural practice such as organic farming and plant physiology.

In 2017, the Food Quality and Health group moved to Faculty of Medical Sciences. This has strengthened the 'health' aspect of our own activities, however our experience and contacts from the previous configuration also strengthens the 'food' aspect of the Population Health Sciences Institute, particularly supporting multidisciplinary initiatives.

Until the end of 2003 I worked as senior scientist in the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, where I initiated several multi-disciplinary research programmes in the areas mentioned above.


Research

Research Interests

General research area: Links between food quality, plant chemistry, and health of humans and animals, in particular:

Research methods to definitively establish cause and effect documentation for foods or food supplements in relation to human health (human and animal intervention trials).

Effects of plant secondary metabolites (natural pesticides) on humans, in order to improve the beneficial impact of vegetables and other herbs on human health.

The feedback mechanisms (conditioned taste aversion, nutrient sensing) that ensure innate preference for nutritious, non-toxic food, dependent on the present needs, in humans and other animals.

Plant adaptation to low-input conditions regarding product quality and susceptibility to pests and diseases, in order to improve the balance of environmental and economic sustainability in agriculture and horticulture.

Specific topics currently in focus (where new PhD or MPhil students will be considered)

  • Investigations of mechanisms and quantification of cancer-reducing effects of polyacetylenes from carrots and related vegetables

  • Flavour-Nutrient Learning for micronutrients, quantification of effect on food choice.

Current Work

My research is in the research themes Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism, Behavioral Science and Psychology and Applied Cancer Therapeutics and Outcomes of the Population Health Sciences Institute and I am a member of the Human Nutrition Research Centre and Centre for Healthier Lives.

I am involved in several publicly or commercially funded human intervention studies to investigate a wide range of different potential health outcomes caused by specific foods or diets.

Each intervention trial is done using Newcastle University's state of the art facilitis and in collaboration with relevant specialists and statisticians to ensure stringent quality standards as well as efficient and cost-effective delivery.

My research also involves animal trials to investigate hypotheses about health effects of controlled dietary aspects, such as how consumption of carrots affect developement of tumours in a mouse model.

Postgraduate Supervision

Ongoing PhD projects:

Miss Ruyuf Alfurayhi, 'Understanding the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects of polyacetylene compound from carrots and the mechanisms of action in the APCMin mouse colon cancer model'. Co-supervisor Dr Lei Huang. Self-funded.

Mr Charles Chijoke Ojobor, 'Investigating the impacts of carrot consumption on relevant cancer biomarkers', co-supervisor Dr Gerard O'Brien. Funded by TETFUND, Nigeria.

Miss Albatul Almushayti, 'Determination of glucosinolates and relevant metabolites in vegetable and human tissues'. Co-supervisor Dr Michael Carroll. Funded by Saudi Arabian Government Scholarship.

Ms Duaa Altuwairki, 'An investigation into the acute effects of treatments created and developed from either date fruit or date seeds on mood and cognitive performance in healthy young volunteers'. Co-supervisor Prof Chris Seal. Funded by Saudi Arabian Government Scholarship.

Mr Mohammed Almqbel, 'Effects of carrot feeding on tumours in APCMin mice'. Co-supervisor Prof Chris Seal. Funded by Saudi Arabian Government Scholarship.

Completed PhD projects:

Dr Sarah Warner, 'The consumption of carrots and other polyacetylene-rich vegetables on the effect on biomarkers of cancer risk'. Co-supervisor Prof Chris Seal. Funded by AHDB, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Awarded 2019.

Dr Othman Qadir, 'Growth of lettuce with different content of inorganic nitrate as a feeding strategy for placebo-controlled nutritional interventions to test the effect of inorganic nitrate on human health'. Co-supervisor Dr Mario Siervo. Funded by the Iraqi Government. Awarded 2017.

Dr Humphrey Garti, 'Effects of carrot consumption on intestinal cancer risk'. Co-supervisors Dr Georg Lietz and Dr Jill McKay. Funded by the Ghanaian 'GET-Fund'. Awarded 2016.

Dr Rosemary Dew, 'Improvement of Product Quality and Shelf Life of Fruit by Optimisation of Conditions during Transport and Storage'. Co-supervisor Prof Chris Seal. Funded by a donation from ASDA plc. Awarded 2016.

Dr Huda Saleh, 'Effect of carrot feeding to APCMin mouse on intestinal tumours'. Main supervisor Dr Michael Carroll. Libyan Government funded. Awarded 2015.

Dr Safiya Mohammed Othoman, 'Amendments using silicate minerals and rocks as potassium fertilisers for plant nutrition in sandy soil'. Co-supervisors Prof David Manning and Dr Neil Gray. Libyan Government funded. Awarded 2015.

Dr Najia Shwerif, 'Effects of temperature regimes under low light conditions on growth rate and phytochemical composition of lettuce and carrot plants'. Co-supervisors Dr Ed Okello and Dr Stephen Wilcockson. Libyan Government funded. Awarded 2014.

Dr Salah Al-Hebeil, 'Quantification of bread crust crispness including the effects of selected additives'. Co-supervisor Prof Chris Seal. Libyan Government funded. Awarded 2013.

Dr Graciela Donald (née Silva Rocha), 'Evaluation of the Antinociceptive Properties of Hyptis crenata Pohl (Brazilian Mint)'. Co-supervisor Prof Colin Ingram. Alban scholarship. Awarded 2013.

Dr Dimitra Chormova, 'Effect of sustainable fertigation on greenhouse tomatoes in relation to plant growth, yield and fruit quality'. Co-supervisors Dr Ed Okello and Dr Robert Shiel. Greek Government scholarship. Awarded 2010.

Dr Ahlam Rashed, 'Variation of bioactive constituents, sensory qualities and yield in carrots grown with different types of crop management'. Co-supervisors Dr Julia Cooper and Prof Carlo Leifert. Libyan Government funded. Awarded 2009.

Ongoing MPhil projects:

Mr Mohammed Salman: 'Investigating flavour-nutrient learning in humans using novel-flavoured, selenium-fortified biscuits: a systematic review and human trial'. Co-supervisor Prof Melissa Bateson.

Completed MPhil projects:

Ms Katie Harrison: 'Development of enriched foods to enhance flavour-nutrient learning'. Co-supervisor Graham Bonwick. Awarded 2020.

Ms Ailsa Marsh: 'Exploring Flavour-Nutrient Learning by Investigating the Sensory Effect of Selenium-Enriched Parsnips'. Co-supervisor Paul Brereton. Awarded 2020

Miss Amy Bilton, 'Elucidating the biological mode of action of the Citrox plant protection product using optimised laboratory testing'. Co-supervisors Karl Christensen and Ed Okello. Awarded 2011.

Mr Taro Murao, 'Effect of Soil Characteristics and Nitrogen Levels on Relative Competitive Ability of the Wheat and Chenopodium album'. Co-supervisor Carlo Leifert. Awarded 2007.

Patents

Larsen, E, Kharazmi, A, Christensen SB, Christensen LP & Brandt, K (2006). Use of glycosides of mono- and diacylglycerol as anti-inflammatory agents. US patent 7,084,122 B2


Teaching

Undergraduate Teaching

Admssions tutor for Food & Human Nutrition BSc Honours programmes (B4D6, B46D, BD46, BD64).

Module leader for NUT2003 Food Science and Technology.

Subject area advisor for Nutrition for Joint Honours Psychology and Nutrition BSc (C8B4).

Contribution to other modules such as NUT3004 and NUT2004.

Supervision of undergraduate dissertation projects (e.g. NUT3002).