Human Nutrition Research Centre

Staff Profile

Dr Luisa Wakeling



Key roles:

Stage 1 Director BDS programme

Chair of the Board of Examiners for Stage 1 BDS

Dental School Student-Staff Committee staff facilitator

Dental Education Research Group lead

Area of expertise

Nutritional epigenetics and ageing


Fellowship of the HEA (UKPSF D2) by completion of CASAP module, APP

National teaching award by completion of CASAP module, DST

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.

BSc Hons Pharmacology, Newcastle University

Introduction to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (part A and B) 


FMS Education Research Development and Practice grants:

Student induction to the University- does it work? December 2015 with L Ferrie, C Guilding, R Valentine and A Schartner

Participatory research with students and members of the public: How can we best evaluate innovative teaching about ageing? June 2016 with R Gilroy and E Tullo.

Evaluation of Context Café, a session which allows Stage 2 Biochemistry/ Genetics students to contextualise learning in the Degree Programme and beyond. June 2017 with J Brown and J Stewart.

ULTSEC Innovation awards:

Context Café: course integration sessions to engage Dental Surgery undergraduates with the basic sciences captured by notebook technology. May 2015 with M Vernon

Development of professional learning through student representation. May 2017 with M Thomason, G Watkins, J Barton and M Lintern

RANK prize vacation studentship February 2015 Modulation of gustatory receptor gene expression by an inflammatory immune response.

BRC- NIHR PhD Studentship September 2017. An investigation of the credentials of a novel, age-related biomarker for periodontitis. J Taylor, R Valentine, L Wakeling and P Preshaw.

Google scholar: Click here. 


Research Interests

My main research interest is in the effect of nutrition on epigenetics (modifications to the genome such as DNA methylation) and ultimately the effect this has in healthy ageing and lifespan.

My research focuses on dietary polyphenols; from studying genetic differences that may influence variation in polyphenol metabolism, to investigating the ability of these polyphenols to mimic the beneficial effects seen with dietary restriction on ageing in endothelial and epithelial cell models.

A recent model organism 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 bee’s life can dramatically alter the life outcome of the bee (lifespan and reproductive capacity are hugely altered); changes in DNA methylation also coincide with these dietary effects. We have shown that a protein, Sir2, which is involved in the lifespan response to dietary restriction, is also affected in the honeybee by diet. I am also interested in the taste receptor expression in the honeybee and bumble bee and the response to dietary interventions. 

Arriving in the Dental School my research has also expanded to investigation the effect of inflammation on taste receptor gene expression using cell line models and the honeybee. I also investigate the effect of nutritional compounds such as resveratrol and gensitein on the expression and methylation of negative regulators of inflammatory processes.

I have also contributed to work investigating the ability of the dietary polyphenol, genistein to convert white adipocyte to beige adipocytes.

My work has also included the development of an accurate model for renal drug toxicity by applying flow across a proximal tubule epithelial cell model and assessing the regulation of monolayer formation, drug transporter expression and the uptake and flux of potential nephrotoxic drugs. 

Member of Human Nutrition Research Centre ( and Epithelial Research Group (, Member of the Royal Society of Biology, Member of the British Society for Research in to Ageing, Member of the European Nutrigenomics Organisation.

Education Research interests:

Context Café: course integration session to engage Dental Surgery undergraduates with the basic sciences captured by notebook technology. L Wakeling and M Vernon (NUIT).

Students on student induction: a cross-disciplinary case study. EQUATE. with L Ferrie, C Guilding, A Schartner, R Valentine.

Opportunity for professional learning through student representation. L Wakeling, M Thomason and G Watkins (SU).

Involving older people in the design, development and delivery of an innovative module on ageing for undergraduates. E Tullo (SME), L Wakeling (Dental Sciences) and L Greaves (ICM).

Member of FMS Education Research Development and Practice

Member of the Dental Education Research Group

Member of Equal Acclaim for Teaching Excellence


Stage 1 and 2 Dental Surgery BDS programme, School of Dental Sciences: 

Major contributor Cell Biology (Stage 1) and Blood theme-lead for Dental Physiology. I also teach across Cell Physiology (Stage 1), Metabolism and Homeostasis (Stage 1), Microbiology for Dentists, leading the Clinical Trial project (Stage 2), Pharmacology (Stage 2) and Nutrition and Diet (Stage 2).

Course lead for Orientation and Study Skills (Stage 1).

Including development and delivery of Context café – a basic sciences integration method.

Wider university teaching: 

Seminar leader for Stage 1 Pharmacology, School of Biomedical Sciences

Lecturer: BGM3063 Epigenetics

BGM3063 Context café

Assessment lead and teacher for Newcastle University Ageing Generation Module (NUAGE) AGE2000

Student supervision:

Supervision and training in research of undergraduate, MSci, MRes and PhD students

Supervision and training in education research of NWE student internships