20042024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Biography

I am a Professor in Clinical Nutrition and Microbiome working in the field of Nutrition at the University of Roehampton.
​I graduated in Food microbiology and my PhD in Food Science at the University of Naples, Italy. Between 2005 and 2014 I trained as a Senior Research Associate at the University of Reading, at the Food and Nutritional Sciences Department with Professor Glenn R Gibson. In 2015, I was appointed Lecturer in Nutrition and Health at the Life Science Department at the University of Roehampton.
I am an Associate Editor at the Journal of Functional Foods.
My publication record includes over 60 international peer reviewed articles and book chapters in the areas of food chain microbiomes, nutrition, gut microbiology and diet:microbiome interactions.  I am recognised by Web of Science as a very well cited researcher- for production of multiple highly cited articles that ranked in the top 1% for the field, “cross-field” and year.

 

Qualifications

  • 2023: International Qualification Professor in Endocrinology, Nephrology and Nutritional Sciences
    2017: SEDA certificate in Supervising Postgraduate Research
    2016: Registered Nutritionist, RNutr, Nutrition Science, UKVRN 11073
    2016: Fellow of The Higher Education Academy, UK
    2004: PhD in Food Science, Microbiological Safety, Genetic Improvement of Farm Animal and Immunology, University of Naples Federico II, Veterinary, Italy.

    2000: Degree in Food Science (5 years, BSc and M.Sc. equivalent), University of Naples Federico II, Italy.

Teaching

DOCTORAL AND POST-DOCTORAL SUPERVISION AND CONSULTANCY WORK

PhD-DoS (University of Reading) – completed within 4 years.

  • 2009-2012

Mr Simone Maccaferri - European International PhD in Cellular, Molecular and Industrial Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Life Sciences University of Bologna (Italy)- ‘Characterization of the human gut microbiota in health and disease, and study of the suitability of novel functional foods with potential health-promoting effects for the gut microbiota’.

  • 2009-2013

Ms Sandra Martin Pelaez- PhD in Animal Production, Nutrition of monogastric Animals University of Barcelona (Spain)-'Prebiotics fibre as alternative strategies to antibiotics in pigs'.

  • 2014-2017

Ms Roberta Grimaldi – ‘Evaluating the effect of a prebiotic B-GOS in autism spectrum disorders (ADS)’.

PhD – Co- supervisor (University of Reading) completed within 4 years.

  • 2009-2012

Mrs Sandra Tejero PhD in Microbiology- ‘In vitro studies on the mechanisms of action of probiotic strains against selected pathogens’. Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, the University of Reading (UK).

  • 2009-2015

Mr Tippesh Sannasidappa PhD in Animal and Microbial Sciences University of Reading Department of Biomedical Sciences –‘The influence of Staphylococcus aureus on gut microbial ecology’.

PhD – DoS (University of Roehampton) – completed within 4 years

  • 2017-2020

Ms Kittiwadee Sarnsamark PhD Biosciences –‘The potential beneficial effect of coffee on diabetes'.

  • 2019-2023

Mr Enver Keleszade PhD Biosciences – ‘Double blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled investigation into the effects of supplementing Digestica®, on gut health, immunity and metabolic disorders’.

PhD – Co- supervisor (University of Roehampton) completed within 4 years

  • 2018-2022

Ms Oghenerukevwe Anne Obayiuwana PhD in Nutrition- ‘The health benefits of polyphenols in Nigerian grains: gastrointestinal modifications, bioavailability and mechanisms of actions’. DoS Dr Giulia Corona.

PhD –DoS (University of Roehampton) on going

  • 2022 to date

Miss Lorretta Olu Fagbemi PhD Biosciences 'Diet management and alternative therapeutic strategies in Coeliac Disease (CD).'

  • 2023-to date

Mr Mohammad AlShehab PhD Biosciences- ‘Ethnic differences in the role of adipose tissue dysfunction in the development of type 2 diabetes’.

PhD –CoSupervisor (University of Roehampton) on going

  • 2021-to date

Ms Halimah Hustum PhD in Nutrition- 'Investigating the regulation of Liver Expressed Antimicrobial Peptide 2 (LEAP2)'. DoS Dr Michael Patterson

  • 2022-to date

Ms Olga Wojciechowska PhD in Nutrition 'lmpact of graphene-based nano-materials     microbiota after intranasal administration for Parkinson’s’ at the University of Medical Sciences, Department of Toxicology, Poznan, Poland. DoS Prof Malgorzata Kujawska.

Post-doctoral Researchers and Research Assistants (University of Roehampton)-completed

  • Dr Drinalda Cela- UR5 Research Assistant (01/02/16 to 01/08/17) working at Roehampton on selected prebiotic properties and immune response funded Research Agreement (LSC/2016/63) with Clasado, Ltd (UK) Role: Co-I, Departmental Collaboration with Dr Busch, Value: £28K
  • Enver Keleszade -UR5 Research Assistant (11/02/2019 to 31/05/2019) working at Roehampton on selected probiotic properties selected probiotic and cholesterol pathways Role: Lead-PI, funded Research Agreement (LSC/2018/64 - Roehampton University and Optibiotix Life Sciences, UK) Value: £50K
  • Dr Natalia Santano Bravo- UR6- Post-Doctoral Researcher (February-March 2019) working at Roehampton on selected probiotic properties and immune response in MTX-16E cells - Role: Lead-PI, Value: 4K funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark 2018-2019

Interim Reserach Assistant Fixed term contracts at the University of Roehampton- current

  • Ms Maryame Kadiri Hassani -UR5 Research Assistant (11/04/2022 to 12/12/2022) working at Roehampton on selected prebiotic supplements Role: Lead-PI, funded Research Agreement (LSC/2022 - Roehampton University and Optibiotix Life Sciences, UK) Value: £40K
  • Ms Diana Elena Motei -UR5 Research Assistant (11/07/2022 to 12/09/2023) working at Roehampton on YMETA study (Double blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel investigation into the effects of supplementing Y META, on gut health, immunity and metabolism in pre-diabetic adult population) Role: Lead-PI, funded Research Agreement (LSC/2022 - Roehampton University and Vemico Limited, UK) Value: £30K
  • Ms Oana Ancu -UR5 Research Assistant (11/07/2022 to 12/11/2022) working at Roehampton on glycemic response study Role: Lead-PI, funded Research Agreement (LSC/2022 - Roehampton University and Optibiotix Life Sciences, UK) Value: £12K
  • Ms Beyda Beteri -UR5 Research Assistant (01/02/2023 to 01/10/2024) working at Roehampton 
  • MRC-UKRI NUTRIMMUNE’ Grant of the Joint Programming Initiative a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI-HDHL) (Awarded 2023). “PreVegDiet: Prevention in prediabetic patients of infection’s morbidity following a high fiber and vegetal protein diet’ Role: PI UK Lead. Value: € 858.170.

Visiting PhD students and Post-Doctoral researchers

  • Jessica Baldini (Visiting PhD Student) (11/01/2016 to 01/09/2017) DoS Prof Patrizia Brigidi (University of Bologna, Italy) working on microbiota analysis via next generation analysis in IBS patients.
  • Marine Letertre (Visiting PhD student since October 2018) DoS Prof Ian Wilson (Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Chair in Drug Metabolism and Molecular Toxicology, Imperial College, London) and Co-I Dr Dr Jonathan Swann (Reader in Microbiomics and Human Development, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College, London). Leading the setting up of novel in vitromodel at Roehampton University towards the development of novel gut techniques and their application to problems in drug metabolism, toxicology, microbiology and metabonomics.
  • Douglas Rees (Visiting PhD student) (Department of Women and Children’s Health, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, Kings College London) working on 'Synbiotic Modulation of the Microbiota in Obese Pregnancy, and its Influence on Developmental Programming of Obesity’. Leading the analysis of metabolites at Roehampton University.
  • A total of 12 Abroad Erasmus and Traineeships students from Italy, Spain and France for 6-8 months (since 2016 to date). Supervising and training in professional skills underpinning clinical practice.
  • Dr Tomasz Cieplak (Visiting Post-Doctoral researcher) (01/01/19 to 01/02/19) in collaboration with Prof Dennis Sandris Nielsen (University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Food Science, Food Microbiology, Denmark) working on the development and application of a low volume, increased throughput in vitro pig model.
  • Dr Erik Juncker Boll (Visiting Research Scientist) – (10/03/19 to 20/03/19) (LSC-2018-104 MTA) in collaboration with Animal Health Innovation, Hansen A/S (Denmark) as part of knowledge transfer skills between Academia and Industrial Partner funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark 2018-2019.
  • Miss Carolina Saori Ishii Mauro (Visiting PhD researcher) (10/09/21 to 20/04/22-CAPES-Brazilian Scholarship to visit Roehampton University) on a Project entitled ‘AN IN VITRO PILOT FERMENTATION STUDY ON THE IMPACT OF CERRADO AND PANTANAL PLANT FLOURS ON GUT MICROBIOME COMPOSITION AND METABOLITES IN HEALTHY INDIVIDUALS’.
  • Miss Zicheng Zhang (10.07.22 to date) Collaboration with Dr Ana Rodriguez-Mateos (Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Life Course Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, Kings College London) contributing to the microbiota analysis of blueberries (poly)phenols after in vivo challenge.
  • Dr Eric Banan-Mwine Daliri (Visiting Research Scientist, from 15th March 2023 until 30th April 2023)Collaboration with the Department of Biological models, Vilnius University, Lithuania on a research project entitled ‘the impact of fermented beetroot on human gut microbiota using an in vitro gut model system’.

Research interests

I am a microbiologist working in the field of nutrition, food science and biotechnology. My research focuses on how microbiomes both within the gut and along the food chain impact on human/animal nutrition, health and disease risk. I have a particular interest in host:microbe interactions and the inter-Kingdom molecular communication channels via bile acids and other microbiota related metabolites, which respond to diet and influence host health. My recent work has been focusing on the gut microbiota as a therapeutic target for nutritional interventions. I have been researching within the field of gut microbiology for a total of 14 years and I can now offer a 'scientific bridge' between Academia and industrial partners that look for expertise in the field of nutrition. This unique role has given me the opportunity to widen my horizons and appreciate the importance of certain types of analysis for the successful transition of a research discovery into a commercial product (the most popular from bench to bedside). I have developed a fascination for the microbial world of the intestine and how dietary changes can alter this world and hence impact on health. Results of my scientific research have shown great potential for translation into therapy.
Currently, with my independent research identity and leadership in research, I am in the position of capitalising on these experiences to move forward my scientific research into investigation of nutritional influences.

Links

Teaching

TEACHING EXPERIENCE AND CONTRIBUTION

I am currently support with the development of any necessary emergency procedures for activities/areas involving the performance of clinical procedures.

I am collaborating with a team of academics and administrators in planning and delivering the undergraduate BSc Nutrition and Biomedical Sciences and Academic Degree programmes. I am overseeing quality assurance processes to ensure that programme standards are maintained, including regular evaluation of teaching and assessment methods and integration of employability skills. I am liaising with other departments and professional services (timetabling, registry, communications, recruitment) to coordinate programme delivery. I am working on incorporate innovative approaches to placements, in addition to the newly established placement year, and I am investigating courses for the wider workforce such as health coaching practical nutrition diploma and short courses; in fact, the MSc Clinical Nutrition modules lend themselves to be taken as individual courses. As a part of Nutrition and Health Team already I lead CPD for the professional organisations such as the Association for Nutrition, British Dietetics Association and MyNutriWeb, since CPD is essential for all Registered Nutritionists and Dietitians. Moreover, I have been working with the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) to not only offer student internships but to create links with their funders who are food producers and manufacturers, retailers, and food service companies, for research, Knowledge Exchange and to further the dissemination of research findings.

As well, I managed different modules for PG and MRes students providing me with the opportunity of deepening my knowledge and understanding of clinical sciences and nutrition in a social or behavioural context, as well as behavioural and multilevel strategies to implement overall health within the population. I engaged in planning both teaching and assessment across the curricula and I used module evaluations and feedback to improve the student experience, but not at the expense of dropping standards. I ensured that module development is effective and appropriate to the needs of the students and the required learning outcomes.

Till now I am convener of two MSc modules in Clinical Nutrition (Dissertation HEP060L004Y and HEP060LD04Y and Body Composition Practical HEP020L035Y for 60 MSc in Clinical Nutrition students). I also the Module Convener for Food Science - HEA020N223Y for a total of 40, 2nd year BSc Nutrition and Health.

Contribution to other Modules: Nutrition in Acute and Chronic Illness HEP020L037A & HEP020LD37A, Advances in Nutrition and Health - HEA020X339Y, Nutrition through the Lifespan - HEA020N212Y, Public Health and Health Promotion - HEA020N213Y, Public Health Approach to Cardio-Metabolic Diseases - HEP020L076S, Integrated Approach to Obesity - HEP020L114Y, Communication HEP020L002Y, Research Methods - HEP020L001A.

I as well supervising and lead MRes Research Projects in the field of microbiome and clinical nutrition. Over the past 20 years, I have developed my experience through supervising undergraduate, MSc and PhD students (including experienced researchers) in the laboratory. I have provided support during study conception, data analysis, offered feedback and assessed students’ understanding and knowledge through formative presentations.

I have successfully planned and designed teaching and learning activities (e.g. lectures, seminars and laboratory/field practical sessions across all years (2nd year undergraduates, MSc and MRes students) ranging from modifying/updating previously delivered material through to the design and delivery of completely new contents and sessions as appropriate.

Thus, I revised module descriptions as a part of our programme revalidation process and I also contributed to the curriculum review in Health Sciences.

I regularly present my work at group meetings, seminars, project meetings, dissemination events and conferences informing my research knowledge and provide pedagogical thinking on how to link research and teaching. I always endeavour to create for my students an inclusive learning environment where they can benefit from a variety of support and guidance. I give individual supervision and mentoring sessions as well as run meetings in groups of peers using similar methods to conduct their research. I encourage them to work together sharing their laboratory’s work on projects that are of a similar nature. I think this enriches the teaching and learning environment where students can find common ideas and perhaps extend their academic interactions to a social setting, which is especially important for international students who are away from their home. In my experience with a varied student population in the Nutrition, Biomed and Health programmes, group and team approaches in student supervision can be extremely beneficial, particularly with international students to help them to fully integrate in the new academic and social environment.

I am conducted impactful independent research projects utilising key modelling and analysis techniques, effectively communicating research findings through publications, presentations, and participation in conferences. I am successfully supervised PhD students and mentored younger colleagues, fostering their professional growth and development in a computational research environment. I was also a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, London for the Nutrition and Health (NH2; year 2 food science students) from 2015 to date, and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Surrey-MSc in Nutritional Medicine.

Notable Achievements

Significant learning and development activities undertaken in previous 5 years

Setting up (2015-2016) and leading a brand-new gut microbiome laboratory at the Department of Life Sciences, University of Roehampton. Gut microbiota research is a rapidly developing area within life sciences and my expertise and experience were instrumental in establishing this new laboratory and opening it for internal and external collaborations. To date, I conduct the innovative research linking diet to microbes throughout the human lifespan and its impact on health and disease that remain fruitful areas of new research investment by industry as evidenced by the priorities of biotech companies with whom I collaborate and who are already funding my ongoing research. I brought with me the unique equipment for in vitro glass colon fermentation systems purchased with my grants from Reading University. Several successful external grants have been attracted to Roehampton thanks to this new laboratory and a group of researchers formed that I supervise; it includes PGRs, visiting researchers and post-doctoral fellows.

Since that I joined the University of Roehampton, I gained experience in teaching in higher education and within a healthcare setting.

I have contributed to improve the Clinical trial’s setting at the Life Sciences. Since 2020, my expertise and experience were instrumental in creating suitable suites and a designated area in our laboratory for all work involving venepuncture procedures (phlebotomy/cannulation/infusion). I am stepping up with my expertise continued to provide support with the development of risk assessments and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for clinical human intervention procedures that are performed by University ‘employees, to ensure the risk assessments and the SOPs are reflect the standards expected in professional clinical settings.

I also been advice and arrange the Good Research Practice as a part of the Research and Knowledge Exchange workshop series in collaboration with medical consultants at Imperial College Hospital in London.

Up till now, I have demonstrated expertise in grant writing, securing funding for research projects, and actively collaborating with multidisciplinary teams on scientific advancements.

Since last April 2023, I have been involved in the BIG Health Innovation Network (HIN) - Recruitment Events with the aim to Improve health and well-being in South Londoners. The BIG Health Innovation Network is a free networking programme for SMEs in South London. In joining this network, SMEs will have the opportunity to grow and development their business and/ or entrepreneurial potential while at the same time improving the health of South Londoners and benefiting from a networking platform made up of similar business partners and relevant academics.

External positions

•Honorary Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Reading, 2015 to date

Keywords

  • QM Human anatomy
  • Q Science (General)

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or