Phytochemicals and gut microbiota in health and disease

Fruit & vegetable consumption reduces incidence and mortality for a range of chronic diseases.

Consequently, dietary bioactive phytochemicals present in many foods (including berries, olives, soya, cocoa and crucifer species) are an area of intense scientific interest in relation to gastro-intestinal disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cognition.

Compounds must be both bio-available and bioactive to effect human health. When consumed they undergo digestion and microbiota-mediated alterations in their structure and function which effects their bioactivity. These dietary phytochemicals are studied using combinations of in vitro, animal and human interventions studies including ileostomy studies.

We investigate physiologically relevant compounds at biologically relevant concentrations to better understand the role  phytochemicals have in reducing risk of chronic diseases. We also investigate the interactions between dietary components and the intestinal pathogenicity and virulence of key gut pathogens including C. difficile and H pylori.

Much of our research is cross-disciplinary and we work closely with other research areas within NICHE, as well as colleagues across UK, Europe and beyond.