Team Member: Brendan Molloy
Position at Nuritas™: Lab and Clinical Trials Manager
Tell us about what you do at Nuritas™:
I look after the ingredients, bioactivity testing labs and clinical trials.
Why did you want to become a scientist?
I have always been curious about things, as a child I asked my parents for a microscope for Christmas (I wanted to examine some yellow algae growing in a river near where we lived). This curiosity about the natural world attracted me to science and biology and later I found my direction which was research into nutrition and disease. I guess you could say that I did what I enjoyed and ended up working in science.
What do you think is the best scientific innovation?
There are so many amazing innovations, the wheel, the internet, DNA technology, bio-printed human tissue.
Who is your favourite scientist and why?
My favourite scientist must be Dr Dickon Hovell, I had the good fortune of working with (annoying) him in past. Dr Hovell and Professor Orskov pioneered research into the digestive system. Their inclusive nature and boundless energy and enthusiasm encouraged many people to become scientists.
What interests you the most right now in the health and/or food arena?
The link between intestinal health and disease in seemingly unrelated areas of the body is fascinating i.e. the relationship between the intestinal microbial population and Alzheimer’s disease, Obesity or Diabetes.
Recent studies into neurological disease have shown that altering the microbial population in the intestine induced changes in brain chemistry and brain function. One study carried out in mice demonstrated that mice fed a diet enriched in protein had a significantly more diverse intestinal microbial population than mice fed a standard diet and exhibited improved cognitive performance when challenged.
Another study demonstrated that mice with sterile intestines fed a high-fat “western diet” did not develop obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes but when genetically bred lean mice received a faecal microbiota transplant from a genetically bred obese mice they turned into obese mice. Other studies in humans have shown that rebalancing the gut population can improve insulin sensitivity in patients with insulin resistance.
This area of research has the potential to prevent many diseases, in the future the intestinal microbial population or microbiome will be considered and treated as another organ in the body.
What do you like most about working at Nuritas™?
I really like the open, creative and adaptive environment at Nuritas. Individual thinking is encouraged, if an idea is good enough it can be realised.
If you could be a peptide which peptide would you be and what disease would you target?
I would be a happy peptide with the ability to reduce stress, anxiety and eliminate depression.