The CIRCLES / Blueberry Study are looking for the final 50 volunteers!


The CIRCLES study team are looking for the final 50 participants to take part in a research study investigating how blueberries affect our metabolic, heart, lung and cognitive health. If you are a generally healthy, non-smoking 50-75 year old with a Body Mass Index of at least 25 kg/m2, we need your help! If you would like to find out more information, or to contact a member of our team, please visit our study website (link opens in new window).

Blueberry study: we need you!

We are taking POSITIVe Action

Members of our nutrition department are involved in a new and ongoing action of the European Co-operation in Science and Technology (COST). This COST Food and Agriculture action sets out to better understand "Interindividual variation in response to consumption of plant food bioactives and determinants involved (POSITIVe)", with the view to ease the burden of cardio-metabolic disease.

Scientific knowledge from researchers across Europe will be drawn upon to bring together cutting-edge advances in this area of research. The opening meeting for POSITIVe took place in Belgrade, Serbia, in March 2015. You can read the first issue of the newsletter to find out more (note, this PDF opens in a new window). 

Addition to CANN Team

We have just welcomed a new member to the Nutrition Department: Michael Irvine.

Michael completed his PhD in Experimental Psychology, concerned with satiety expectations for a range of common foods and part-sponsored by Cadbury-Schweppes, at the University of Bristol approximately 3 years ago.

He has recently been working within the Addenbrooke's Hospital site of the Psychiatry Department of the University of Cambridge, on a project concerned with impulsivity and compulsivity, as assessed by a range of neuropsychological and functional MRI paradigms, where cohorts included obese persons with and without binge eating disorder. Subsequent to these assignments, he also completed an MSc in Substance Misuse and a BSc in Psychology; both at the University of Sussex.

He will be working with Anne Marie and David on ‘The Cognitive Aging Nutrition and Neurogenesis (CANN)' trial, which is concerned with investigation into the cognitive benefits of a combined flavonoid/fatty acid intervention, and with establishing the underlying mechanisms of action for any such benefits.

We welcome Michael and wish him the best of luck in his new post.


New Research Associate joins the Nutrition Team

We are pleased to announce that we have just welcomed a new Research Associate to the Department - Vera van der Velpen. Vera has just finished her PhD thesis at the Department of Nutrition at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, where she also obtained a BSc degree in Nutrition and Health and a MSc degree in Food Safety. Vera's PhD thesis was about molecular effects of isoflavones, for which she performed two human intervention studies with postmenopausal women. She says, "I really enjoyed running these studies and working with flavonoids, so I'm quite excited to be involved in the Circles study here at UEA for the coming few years".


News from the Institute of Food Research

(Speakers at the ISP Symposium shown above. Anne Marie Minihane shown centre in white scarf).

Anne Marie Minihane, Professor of Nutrigenetics, spoke yesterday at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) 'Food and Health ISP 2nd Annual Symposium'. Professor Minihane spoke on one of her specialist areas - n3 fatty acids cardiometabolic and cognitive health. The event generated a great deal of enthusiasm and was attended by key leads in the area of health and nutrition.


A Good Egg

As Easter approaches and the shops start stacking row upon row of chocolate filled delights, let's remind ourselves why indulging in a bit of chocolate chomping might not be such a bad thing as our research has shown
Chocolate and Diabetes Prevention


New Research Associate Joins the Nutrition Team

We are delighted to welcome our latest recruit, Dr Damon Bevan. Damon has been working for a number of years with Dr Jelena Gavrilovic (BIO).  His main role in Nutrition Group will be as an investigator on the COB trial, which aims to identify the determinants of flavonoid (plant bioactive) absorption and metabolism in n=240 healthy participants.  

We look forward to having Damon on the team - welcome!


Professor Jimmy Bell - Fat Chat

Later today, our Nutrition Team will be going to attend a seminar given by Professor Jimmy Bell - Lead Researcher and Professor of Molecular Imaging at Imperial College, London - who has been using MRI technology to map fat in the body. 

Professor Bell is visiting Norwich Medical School to give a talk entitled 'Body Fat: a journey from bench to bedside and back'.

On a public note, Professor Bell was involved in the BBC's programme 'The Men Who Made Us Fat' (which you can see via the link below). 

Should be a fat-cinating afternoon!


CIRCLES Screening Begins


Screening for the 'CIRCLES' study began at Norwich Medical School yesterday. We've had a great response from people wanting to participate in the study trials. 'CIRCLES' is a 6-month study to see if blueberry intake might protect us against heart disease and diabetes as well as improving our lung function and cognition.

It's not too late to participate in this study, so if you would like to apply, please see the flyer below for more details.



On the Radio

Professor Aedin Cassidy carried out a range of interviews this month to showcase the Department's findings on diabetes prevention. You can listen to Professor Cassidy appearing on the 'People's Pharmacy' US radio show and providing further information on our research findings via the following link. /documents/541243/0/USDA.xspf/dacd3450-6733-4a0c-bc94-3f6e8b3049e8


Bag some blueberries and better your health

Our team of researchers are beginning the trial to prove that blueberries are even better for us than we thought.

If you're interested in taking part, contact Dr Peter Curtis on 01603 591873 or email


Huffington Post

The Huffington Post are one of the latest to feature our diabetes prevention story.

Hot on Huffington's heels are:

The Financial Times (

NHS Choices (

Fox News US (


Watch this space for more news coverage...


Berry Berry Good

Science Daily, American news website for topical science articles, has picked up on our latest study about ingredients in chocolate, tea, berries potentially protecting us against diabetes. 

Last night Aedin Cassidy talked to the presenters on BBC Look East about the research findings and the need for volunteers for the latest berry study.


Press Coverage 

News of our chocolate and berry study has travelled far and wide as the media results show below:

Saturday January 18 - Monday January 20, 2014


Chocolate and red wine may help to prevent diabetes
Daily Express

Flavanoids found in chocolate, red wine, tea and berries may have beneficial health effects in women according to research by Prof Aedin Cassidy (MED). These food groups are associated with lower insulin and better blood glucose regulation and could offer protection from type 2 diabetes.


The Daily Telegraph, The Herald, Press and Journal, The Daily Mirror, Western Mail, Western Morning News (Devon) and the

Articles have been included in:
Daily Express (Scotland)*, The Scotsman, Metro, Mail Online UK and the Scottish Daily Express.

News feature has made it to:

ITV 1, Sky News, BBC Radio Manchester, Daily Record, Consumer Affairs, The Sun Online, Metro Herald, Classic FM, Yahoo! UK and Ireland.

Further afield, media coverage landed in the following far-flung destinations.

On the Web: News Track India, News-Medical.Net, Medical Xpress, Business Standard, New Indian Express,, O Globo, Health Hub – MSN, Truth Dive, Medical Observer, Sky News Australia and the Herald Sun.


UEA Nutrition in the news Down Under

Scientists test food and drink that may help cut diabetes 

The Nutrition Department's study into researching how plant compounds in herbs, berries and red wine could protect against diabetes has made the news on a global scale. Sky News, Australia, broadcast the report just this morning so those from Antipodean climes could digest the story over their Vegemite and billy tea.

All the way over in Dallas, people are talking about our study.

More closer to home, Sky News UK published this story and video, filmed in the UEA's Biomedical Research Centre, this morning at six o' clock.

Sky News

Daily Express

As media interest intensifies, more links will follow...


News of the blues spreads....

Click on the link above to hear our Nutrition specialists talk about the Blueberry study.


We've got the blues....   

Our nutrition experts have launched a new research study to investigate whether eating blueberries can improve heart health and reduce the risk of diabetes.

For more information please read the EDP Newspaper report:

We are now calling for volunteers to take part in the study. Those who are interested in taking part in the study will be invited to come to the UEA to hear more about the study before attending a screening visit to assess whether they have metabolic syndrome.

Suitable individuals will then be invited to take part, which involves consuming freeze-dried blueberries, or a placebo powder (containing no blueberries), for six months. A variety of health tests will take place at intervals during the study, with all participants reimbursed for travel, their time and level of involvement. Some dietary restrictions will be required, such as avoiding blueberries, during the study, but full instructions will be provided. The study cannot recruit people with a history of heart disease, cancer or diabetes.


A Special Visitor

The Department of Nutrition hosted a special guest early this week. Professor Eric Rimm, from the Department of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, made a special visit to UEA to meet the team and offer an insight into their research in the States.

For more information about Professor Rimm and his current studies, go to


Happy New Year from the Nutrition Department!

May 2014 bring you health, wealth and happy times. 

FoodBank News

Many thanks to everyone in the Nutrition Department, who kindly donated to the Food Bank collection. Between us all, we accumulated a varied and plentiful store for those who really need it.

Thanks to each of you for your generosity; top marks all round!



Norwich Foodbank

One venture we're keen to promote within the UEA Nutrition Department is Norwich Foodbank.

Norwich Foodbank supports local families and individuals; both young and old, who find themselves on the edge of disaster, through the provision of emergency food supplies. These supplies take the form of nutritionally balanced emergency food boxes to cover an individual or family's food needs for 72 hours.

With Christmas around the corner, it is a critical time of year for some people out there and the need for donations is greater than ever.

For more information, you can go to the Network Norwich website.

We'll be doing our bit. Let's all combine our efforts and support the people that need our help.



To the award winners from the recent International Conference on Polyphenols & Health in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Oct 16-19).

(Left to right; Hiren Amin, Jessica di Gessa, Aedin Cassidy and Peter Curtis)


Nutrition Department welcome new member of staff......


The Nutrition Team welcome another new member of staff to the department - Ildefonso Rodriguez-Ramiro. From Spain, Ilde boasts an impressive academic background; a PhD from the University Complutense of Madrid, a Diploma of Advanced Studies, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and a Bachelor degree in Biological Sciences all from the University of Extremadura.

Ilde's key research interests include Nutrition, Polyphenols, Oxidative Stress, Inflammatory Response and Molecular Mechanisms of Action.

With regard to his professional goal, Ilde remarks, "The main goal of my research is to study the molecular mechanisms through which polyphenols can prevent diseases related to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Currently, I am focus on the chemopreventive effects of flavonoids on cardiovascular disease. To this purpose, I am using different vascular cell culture models in order to investigate how these flavonoids and their degradation products can modulate the protein expression and other variations involved in the development of this disease."  

Wishing Ilde the best of luck and looking forward to having him as part of the team!


Chocolate, Orange, Blackberries

Roll up, Roll up; Volunteers needed for Nutrition study


We're looking for participants to take part in a research study investigating why people obtain different benefits from compounds found in fruits and vegetables. We are looking to enrol 240 participants between 18 - 30 years or between 65 - 77 years, who are non-smokers and who are caucasian and of European ancestry.

We will be asking people to attend our trial unit at the UEA and on the main study day to eat chocolate and drink juice containing orange and berries. What could be worse than a day spent eating chocolate!

If you might be interested and for more information, go to our 'COB' study website at:


Nutrition Department take part in 50th Anniversary celebrations

The UEA celebrated its 50th year this summer in September. To mark the occasion, UEA threw open it's doors and welcomed staff and students, alumni and the local community to join in the merriment.

As part of the celebrations, UEA organised a whole range of exciting programmes for the event. On the agenda were a series of interactive panel discussions and presentations on tackling society's grand challenges. UEA and Norwich Research Park has one of Europe's largest single-site concentrations of research in Health, Food and Nutrition. Our very own Professor Anne Marie Minihan, captivated crowds with her presentation surrounding Genetics and Health entitled 'Choose Your Parents Carefully'; a presentation which looked at the science behind the 'personalisation' of healthy living guidelines and which questioned if such science is practical or ethical.

Some of our research associates represented the Nutrition Department in fine form by hosting fun-filled food information stalls, which engaged visitors and tested their food knowledge. Luisa Ostertag and Noemi Tejera Hernandez put on a great show with winners taking home a luscious fruit hamper.  p put on a great show with t put on a great 


New member of staff joins Nutrition Team

The UEA Nutrition Team this week welcome a new Research Associate: Lindsey Berends.

Before starting at UEA, Lindsey completed her PhD at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge. She was a member of Sue Ozanne's group studying "developmental programming" - that is how the early-life (nutritional) environment influences susceptibility to later-life disease. Using a well-established rodent model, the aim of Lindsey's PhD project was to determine the effects of rapid postnatal growth following intra-uterine growth restriction on peripheral and central insulin resistance in young and old adulthood.

Before this, Lindsey completed her MPhil in Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease (also at Cambridge) and her undergraduate BSc(Hons) degree in Physiology at the University of Glasgow.

Lindsey has just joined us as a Research Associate in Human Nutrition at UEA. A main research area of interest to Lindsey is dietary nutrition and exercise, and its effects on cardiometabolic health and well-being of individuals. She is particularly interested in the implementation of plant-based dietary interventions and the development of preventative approaches to better the health of the general and 'at-risk' populations. Understanding the mechanisms – at both the molecular and physiological level – underlying the interaction between dietary components, such as flavonoids, and health and how these differ between individuals is of great interest to Lindsey.

Welcome Lindsey!