HUMAN NUTRITION – Research Areas

Characterisation of nutritional quality of food 
Characterization of macro and micronutrients of foods, bioactive compounds (in particular carotenoids, polyphenols, prebiotics, glucosinolates, etc.) and glycemic index. Evaluation of the stability of foods and their components under different technological transformation, storage and cooking conditions.

Bioavailability and metabolism of nutrients and bioactive compounds
Study of the absorption and metabolism of nutrients and bioactive compounds of foods and plant extracts, in in vitro and in vivo models. A particular attention is devoted to the study of the factors that can interfere with the bioavailability of these compounds such as the food matrix, the ways of intake and the nutritional status of the subjects.

Development of human intervention protocols
Study of the role of diet and/or single food/food components in the modulation of several markers of functional activity (e.g. oxidative stress, inflammation, endothelial function, etc…) through the use of innovative and consolidated techniques (comet assay, ELISA, finger plethysmography, etc…).Study of the metabolic effects (e.g. SCFA and intestinal biliary acids) and mechanisms of actions of foods rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, by also considering the role of food technologies.

Role of foods in the modulation of eating behaviours
Study of the chemical-physical and sensorial food characteristics able to determine significant changes in eating behavior and satiety. Study on the specific and general satiety. Definition satiating efficiency of foods and / or food products evaluated in humans through the Preloading Paradigm technique.

Exploitation of human intervention studies for the evaluation of the nutritional status and modulation of risk factors for chronic degenerative disease
Study of the role of specific foods and diets in the treatment of metabolic disorders in the general population (e.g. obesity, hyperhomocysteinemia, aging and neurodegenerative diseases).
Relation between exercise, diet and nutritional status of different population groups. Development of methodologies for the study of body composition, metabolic intermediate and energy expenditure.

Exploitation and application of cell models to study the role of food- bioactive compounds in the modulation of biological functions                                                                      Study of the role of food bioactives in the modulation of cellular metabolism and biological functions (e.g. antioxidants, anti-atherogenic and anti-atherosclerotic) in different cell line models (e.g. CaCo2,  THP1, HMEC-1 and HUVEC ).

Innovative approaches for the sustainability of food production
Biotechnological approaches for the revaluation of the  food industry bioproducts.