Human Nutrition Research Centre

Staff Profile

Dr Luisa Wakeling

Senior Lecturer


Key roles:

Director of Engagement

Stage 1 Director BDS programme

Chair of the Board of Examiners for Stage 1 BDS

Faculty Education Journal Club lead



Senior Fellowship of the HEA

National teaching award by completion of CASAP

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



Monash University- Newcastle University PhD Exchange programme. L Wakeling, N Jakubovics and M Piper. The role of nutrition in Drosophila immunity. 2018-2020.

NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) 3 Year PhD Studentship Funding. J Taylor, R Valentine, L Wakeling and P Preshaw. An investigation of the credentials of Sirt2 as an age-related biomarker for periodontitis. 2017-2020.

Rank Prize Vacation Scholarship. Modulation of gustatory receptor gene expression in an inflammatory immune response. L Wakeling. Jul 2015.

University Education Development Fund:

• L Wakeling and J Ellis. Validation by dental students of the alignment of our Educational Strategy to their learning experience. May 2019-Jan 2021

• L Wakeling, M Thomason, G Watkins (NUSU), J Barton (NUSU) and M Lintern (Careers) Development of professional learning through student representation. May 2017-Jun 2018.

• L Wakeling and M Vernon (NUIT). Context Café: course integration sessions to engage Dental Surgery undergraduates with the basic sciences captured by notebook technology. May 2015- Jun 2017

Faculty Education Research Development and Practice Fund:

• L Wakeling and P Waterhouse. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Dental School’s student representation system. Apr 2019-Feb 2020

• L Wakeling, M Harper (Stage 4 BDS UG), H Bateman, P Blaylock, (BDA) and J Barton (NUSU). Pilot and evaluation of an Advanced ncl like workshop ‘Professional Learning through student representation’. Dec 2018- May 2020

• L Wakeling and J Barton (NUSU), Development of professional learning through student representation. Nov 2017- Dec 2018

• E Tullo (SBMS) and L Wakeling Symposium and development of Special Interest Group. Apr 2019

• L Wakeling and A Iannetti (Pharmacy) Tackling the common issues of the Faculty’s Student Academic Representation system in a half-day event. Jul 2018

• L Wakeling and J Ellis. Educating Dental Educators to do Education Research Apr 2018

• L Wakeling, J Brown (SBMS) an J Stewart (SME), Evaluation of Context Café, a session which allows Stage 2 Biochemistry students to contextualise learning in their degree programme and beyond. Apr 2017- Jan 2018

• E Tullo (SBMS), L Wakeling, Laura Greaves (ION) and Rose Gilroy (APL) Inclusive research with students and members of the public: How can we best evaluate innovative teaching about ageing? Aug 2017- Aug 2019

• R Valentine (FMS) L Wakeling, L Ferrie (FMS), C Guilding (FMS), A Schartner (HASS), Student induction into the University- does it work? 2016

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 model organism 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. 

Education research interests:

  • Context Café: course integration session to engage Dental Surgery undergraduates with the basic sciences. 
  • Opportunity for professional learning through student representation: Newcastle University’s Academic Representation System enables its students to feedback on and enhance their learning experience. Many of the skills that students develop as Representatives echo expected General Dental Council professional standards (e.g. dealing with complaints, raising concern, effective management and leadership). The Professional Learning through Representation programme has been developed with NUSU to provide students with an opportunity to build on their Academic Representation experience and develop related professional skills.
  • Involving older people in the design, development and delivery of an innovative module on ageing for undergraduates.


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

Cell Biology course lead (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 (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 in induction week.

Caries café (Stage 3): Development and delivery of an integration method for caries that is taught across the entire BDS programme.

Wider university teaching: 

Seminar leader for Stage 1 Pharmacology, School of Biomedical Sciences

Lecturer: BGM3063 Epigenetics

BGM3063 Context Café 

Student supervision:

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

Supervision and training in research of JobsOC student internships