The Nutrition Innovation Centre for food and HEalth (NICHE) is a centre of excellence, set up to provide greater understanding of diet related health issues. NICHE is now amongst the largest university based nutrition research units in Europe and comprises 40 academic staff (academic, research, technical and support staff) and 35 postgraduate research students. Researchers in NICHE are located within the Centre for Molecular Biosciences (which focuses on degenerative diseases, especially their interaction with nutritional factors) as well as multidisciplinary research in more fundamental areas such as Cancer and Ageing, Biomedical Genomics, Stem Cells and Epigenetics and Systems Biology.
NICHE has attracted a research income of over £50 million in the past 30 years from national and international sources. It has been the top-ranked university centre for human nutrition in the UK since the mid-1990s, as evidenced by our high performance in all UK-wide research assessment exercises (RAE) to date. In the most recently published Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), the research environment was awarded an unprecedented 100% 4* (world-leading), 95% of our research impact was scored world leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) and 81% of research published papers were judged to be world leading and internationally excellent (4* and 3*).
NICHE resources include a state-of-the-art Human Intervention Studies Unit (HISU), which houses cutting-edge equipment and specialised facilities for metabolic studies, allowing highly controlled human studies to be performed. The emphasis on diet and chronic diseases of ageing led to the establishment of the Centre of Excellence in Nutrition and Ageing (CENA) within NICHE. A bespoke Nutrition and Vascular Studies Laboratory enables significant strengths and capability in vascular health research offering significant potential to cater for the high levels of demand for clinical trials in this area. Additional facilities and infrastructure include a Mass Spectrometry Suite with Chromatography (HPLC, GC) and Mass Spectrometry equipment.
Equipment is also available for assessment of routine clinical assessments, including an iLab and Daytona RX clinical chemistry analysers and a Category II laboratory for blood sampling and analysis. Furthermore, NICHE has a reputation for the undertaking and monitoring of dietary assessment projects including previous international research in developing and third world countries as well as North/South collaborative projects in Ireland examining dietary intake and patterns in children and adults.
NICHE is internationally renowned for its impactful and translational research in the following research themes:
Folate and B Vitamins in Health & Disease
Phytochemicals & Gut Microbiome
Nutrition, Toxicology & Child Development
Obesity, Energy Balance and Food Choice
Vitamin D in Health and Disease
Marine Bioactives in Health & Disease