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Our Research

Our research serves to investigate the role of nutrition in health and disease and includes molecular, clinical, dietary intervention, epidemiological and public health studies. Areas of active research interest include investigating the role of vitamin D in inflammation and immunity, ageing, malnutrition, obesity, digestive diseases and child and maternal health.  Our research maps to key research themes within the School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin, as well as Nationally and Internationally.
Our principal investigators (PIs) collaborate with national and international colleagues in the UK, Europe, North America, Canada and Ireland as well as commercial and Industry partners.

Our Key Research Themes

  • Nutrition in Inflammation & Immunity:
    • Our body of work investigates the role of vitamin D as an adjunctive anti-inflammatory therapy and mechanisms of action, for example in autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The work encompasses both vitamin D intervention RCTs, as well as mechanistic studies.
    • We are similarly interested in inflammation in ageing (‘inflamaging’) through analysis of RCTs and of epidemiological data sets.
  • Nutrition and Ageing This programme explores diet and lifestyle factors in aging;
    • Epidemiological studies into vitamin D deficiency in populations of older adults (e.g. English Longitudinal Study in Ageing- ELSA);
    • Intervention studies (RCTs) to determine the role of vitamin D supplementation in cognitive health and physical outcomes in older adults. (‘D-activating decline’ study)
    • Further work, focuses on physical activity and nutrition in multimodal approaches to maintain independent living in community dwelling older people.
  • Malnutrition:
    • Our research in malnutrition is related both to disease and public health, with a particular focus on older adults. We are collaborators in the JPI ‘Malnutrition in the Elderly Knowledge Hub’ MaNuEL, which seeks to better define malnutrition and its determinants in older people. This comprises a European consortium of 7 countries and 22 research groups; the Irish group comprises UCD, TCD, UL and UCC.
    • We also collaborate with HSE colleagues in the community, in identifying malnutrition and frailly in large cohorts of community-dwelling older adults. (e.g. the North Dublin Cohort)

Research Funding: Our research is funded by competitive grants from national, international and commercial sources. Current sponsors include the Irish Research Council, the Health Research Board, European COST funding, JPI, non-profit foundations and industry grants.