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Professor

Helen Roche

Full Professor

School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

CONTACT DETAILS

01 716 6845
helen.roche@ucd.ie
University College Dublin, School of Public Health Physiotherapy and Sports Science, Conway Institute Belfield Dublin 4

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BIO

Helen Roche's academic background is in Human Nutrition & Molecular Medicine. Her appointment as Associate Professor of Nutrigenomics bridges disciplines based at the UCD Conway Institute and the UCD Institute of Food & Health within UCD. She is also a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Principal Investigator and a Food for Health Ireland (FHI) Principal Investigator. In 2014 she won significant funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; NUTRIMAL is a large project grant addressing 'Novel Nutritional Solutions to Combat Malnutrition in the Elderly' in collaboration with the HSE, SafeFood and a number of industry partners. In collaboration with UCC APC, another FIRM award ImmunoMet will address the interactions between nutritional status, metabolic health and the gut microbiome. Earlier in her career as Wellcome Trust Fellow & Senior Lecturer in Molecular Nutrition at TCD, Dr Roche established the first Nutrigenomics research group in Ireland, at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at TCD. Prof Roche was recently appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the European Healthy Life Healthy Diet (HDHL) Joint Programming Initiative (JPI). The objective of which is to achieve greater pan-European research integration relating to Food and Health. She as has since been elected chair elect of the HDHL JPI SAB in 2014. Nutrigenomics uses state-of-the-art 'omoics' technologies to investigate the interaction between Nutrition and the Human Genome and gain a greater understanding of the molecular effects of nutrition on health. Whilst it is known that nutrition plays an important role in health and disease, often the cellular and molecular effects of nutrients are not fully understood. In light of the Human Genome Project and the rapid advances in molecular biology, it is essential that these opportunities be applied to nutrition research to progress our understanding of the role of nutrition in health and disease. The potential scope of research within the context of Nutrigenomics is enormous and could include: ' Personalised Nutrition & Health - Genetic determinants of nutrient status, metabolic response and predisposition to diet-related diseases (obesity and insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease (CVD), some chronic pro-inflammatory conditions and some cancers). ' Molecular Nutrition - Nutrient regulation of gene / protein expression, genetic determinant of responsiveness to nutritional therapy and/or diet-related disease progression, and the effects of dietary fatty acids on the expression of the genes involved in metabolic health (T2D, CVD, inflammation and colon cancer).' Targeted Nutrition / Functional Food Development - Identifying novel food derived bioactives which have positive effects on molecular processes related to attenuating risk factors associated with T2D, CVD, sub-acute chronic inflammation and insulin resistance.

ACADEMIC POSITIONS

  • Full Professor Nutrigenomics
    University College Dublin, School of Public Heal th, Physiotherapy, Sports Science, Ireland1 Feb 2017 - present
  • Associate Professor of Nutrigenomics
    University College Dublin, School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, Ireland1 Sep 2007 - 31 Jan 2017
  • Senior Lecturer (Molecular Nutrition)
    Trinity College Dublin1 Oct 2004 - 31 Aug 2007
  • Lecturer in Nutrition & Wellcome Trust Fellow
    Trinity College Dublin1 Nov 1999 - 30 Sep 2004
  • Wellcome Trust Fellow
    University of Cambridge, UK1 Nov 1999 - 31 Dec 2000

DEGREES

  • BSc
    Trinity College Dublin1987 - 1992
  • Diploma
    Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) IRL1987 - 1992
  • MSc
    Trinity College Dublin1997 - 1999
  • PhD
    Trinity College Dublin1992 - 1996