Nutrition and Metabolism
Obesity, type 2 diabetes, gut disorders and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's are an increasing challenge to the wellbeing of our communities.
The links between nutrition, metabolism and human health are complex.
What is metabolism?
Put simply, metabolism is a set of chemical reactions that take place in our cells. Our metabolism converts the food we eat into the energy we need for every action we do.
Delivering better health outcomes
Our Nutrition and Metabolism researchers are investigating a range of areas, with the ultimate goal of delivering improved health outcomes to the community. One of our key ares of research involves a new appreciation for the role of the gut in our overall health.
Other areas of research include:
- developing strategies to prevent and manage obesity and type 2 diabetes
- appetite regulation
- how nutrients trigger signals that tell us we're full
- the molecular mechanisms of nutrient detection and signalling by gut hormones
- immune function and pain-sensing in the gut
- how nutrition interacts with sleep patterns and metabolic disorders
- metabolism in liver, muscle and fat tissue
- the role of lysosomes in neurological diseases
The group also manages cohort studies - studies of big groups in the community over a number of years. This gives us a unique opportunity to develop a long-term understanding of the association between diet and sleep, cancer, anaemia, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and mortality. A major goal is to develop and validate innovative diets to promote health and wellbeing.
Unlocking the secret of the 'fat gene'
By discovering how a so-called 'fat gene' works, our researchers are one step closer to developing more effective treatments that could reverse obesity and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Led by Professor Chris Proud, our Nutrition & Metabolism researchers discovered that the MNK gene - a gene everybody has - triggers weight gain when combined with a high fat diet. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are a huge burden, both on individual patients, and on the broader health care system. Research that can help alleviate suffering and reduce the cost to our community is key.