Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast


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Technical Summary

Coronary heart disease (CHD), the leading cause of deaths in the U.S., is a preventable disease. Largely through smoking cessation promotion and improved control of hypertension and dyslipidemia through diet and medications, the U.S. has witnessed a decline of CHD incidence and mortality in the past decades,1 although such a decline has plateaued.2 The role of diet in the prevention of CHD has become more critical for a further reduction in CHD incidence and mortality. The current dietary guidelines recommend eating higher-quality diets, especially those enriched with plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in animal products, such as red meats, for lowering the risk of CHD,3, 4 although research is needed to further characterize healthful diets tailored toward individuals’ preference and dietary habits.
Objective biomarkers that can reliably capture intakes are needed to further substantiate the link between healthful dietary patterns and CHD risk, monitor compliance. In addition, food biomarkers can be used to characterize an individual’s dietary pattern5 and to develop personalized dietary advice. In this regard, metabolomic profiling techniques are instrumental in identifying novel molecules that can serve as highlyspecific, objective biomarkers of food intake. We and others have recently identified several novel markers of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), citrus fruits, chicken, red meats, and other foods, using metabolomics approaches.7-10 Despite these advances, few studies have attempted to demonstrate doseresponse relationships with food intake, discover markers for other important foods, systematically examined biomarkers that jointly can capture overall diet quality, evaluated associations of food biomarkers with CHD risk, or tailored dietary interventions toward specific food biomarkers to improve overall diet quality.
To fill these knowledge gaps, we propose to conduct multiple, complementary, inter-connected projects that bridge novel food biomarker discovery, examination of dietary biomarkers in relation to CHD risk, and evaluation of the efficacy of using biomarker-based personalized advice to improve diet quality. This grant is highly responsive to the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme that encourages “tri-partite” collaborations among investigators in U.S., Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland. We have assembled a strong and interdisciplinary investigator team with expertise in metabolomics profiling, nutritional and cardiovascular epidemiology, bioinformatics, public health nutrition, and clinical research.


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Description Presentation at a biomarkers workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation on use of biomarkers in public health; considering the practical and logistical issues involved in widespread use and incorporation. To occur April 2020
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020