About the unit – University of Copenhagen

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Preventive and Clinical Nutrition > About the unit

Preventive and Clinical Nutrition

Who are we?

The section for Preventive and Clinical Nutrition has a full professor, a professor with special duties in teaching, and adjunct professor, three associate professors, a tenure-track assistant professor, four post docs, five PhD students, six bio-analysts and a nutritionist assistant, however this varies over time, depending on projects, see the current list of employees.

How do we work?

In the section, Preventive and Clinical Nutrition, we have particular expertice in

  1. documentation of health effects of foods (human trials),
  2. clinical nutrition, and
  3. development and use of biomarkers.

We carry out meal studies and longer-term dietary intervention trials with healthy as well as health-compromised human volunteers. The studies may focus on single foods or food components or they may target effects of whole diets in order to document their specific physiological or health effects or to find optimal diets for patients as a part of their treatment. We also collaborate on observational studies related to assessment of dietary intake or risk of disease.

To investigate the effects of diets, foods or dietary components we make use of a range of clinical, physiological and immunological methods and biomarkers. We continuously strive to improve these methodologies and to develop new biomarkers to assess food intake, life style factors, and disease risk, including metabolomics.

Together with others we have established Copenhagen University Biobank for Experimental research (www.cube.ku.dk) with samples from a number of human and animal trials. The aim is to be able to explore further mechanisms and secondary hypotheses based on existing materials and to facilitate and expand collaboration with other research groups.

For metabolomics (metabolite profiling of biological samples) we are particularly using liquid chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry to search for new biomarkers of food intake, life style factors, individual susceptibility, healthiness and disease risk, see Metabolomics Research Cluster or Metabolomics core facility. We are also setting up targeted analyses for measurement of a range of metabolites, e.g. bile acids, isoprostanes, advanced glycation endproducts, alcohol intake markers and markers of recent food intake.

Collaboration

The researchers in the section has a large number of collaborators in Denmark and across the world, including other university research groups, private research foundations, and companies. We have nationally and internationally public as well as industrially funded projects targeted on specific research projects, method development, multi-centre trials and clinical methodologies see the outline paragraph on our research profile below and in the menu point, research.

Research profile

Bioavailability of nutrients and non-nutrients and health effects of diet, specific foods, food components, and biofortified foods. Our primary focus is on the short- and long-term effects of these components in the prevention of selected diet-related diseases, e.g. cancer, coronary heart diseases, osteoporosis and dietary deficiency disorders.

We conduct research on minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and a range of bioactive compounds found in meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, herbs and cereals, which are important for optimal nutrition or for prevention of diseases and disorders.

Scientific methods include Human single meal and long-term intervention studies, and biomarker analyses, including biomarker research and metabolomics (see Metabolomics Researh Cluster and Metabolomics core facility). The section has been instrumental in establishing the experimental biobank, CUBE for Copenhagen University.