Immunity and inflammation
Our approach employs a combination of in vitro model systems and human dietary intervention studies to identify which types of foods and nutrients influence immune function and inflammation.
The influence of diet on immunity and inflammation is studied at the whole body, cellular and molecular level. There is particular interest in dietary lipids, including omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and in pre- and probiotics with respect to their potential influence on immune function and inflammation.
Human intervention studies are combined with ex vivo assessment of immune function, mainly by flow cytometric techniques. Alongside this, in vitro studies examine the mechanisms by which dietary components influence immune function and inflammation.
“Appropriate nutrition is required to maintain adequate immunity against bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites; poor nutrition leads to increased risk of infection. Our research aims to better understand the mechanisms by which individual nutrients or dietary components influence specific aspects of immunity and inflammation.”
The research has been funded by research councils, charities and industry and the team collaborate with the University of Southampton, King's College London and Imperial College London.