Nestlé partners with King’s College London on food and gene research

Jun 10, 2011
Nutrition research at the Nestlé Research Center STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY: A scientist at work at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland will collaborate with King’s College London on a joint research project into the relationship between food and genes.

Due to begin later this year, the six-month project will examine the interactions between genes and food ingredients, and how they can affect human health.

It will look at how our genes and their encoded proteins determine important bodily functions; including how efficiently we metabolise food, respond to the environment and detoxify our bodies from potentially harmful agents.

The partnership is the result of an Interchange Award given to King’s College by the United Kingdom’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), to encourage knowledge transfer between academia and industry.

King's College London KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER: Academics from King’s College London (pictured) will exchange expertise with Nestlé scientists.

Dr Franca Fraternali, King’s College academic, and her colleagues from the university’s Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics, will have access to the Nestlé Research Center’s state-of-the-art bioinformatics facilities in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Meanwhile, Dr James Holzwarth, a Senior Scientist from the Nestlé Research Center, will spend time in the King’s College laboratories learning new techniques in the analysis of Protein-Protein Interaction data developed at the university.

Their goal is to understand the possible impact on human health of alterations to the regulation of genes, which may occur over time as a result of environmental factors such as diet and exercise.

Dr Holzwarth explained how the collaboration will benefit both parties’ ongoing research.

He said: “Partnerships between academia and industry such as this are extremely important not only to the advancement of science, but also to the development of innovations.

“No one can work in isolation. Industry might be more advanced in one area, while academia might be more advanced in another. By pooling relevant resources, we can help to guide each other’s work."

This collaboration builds on earlier scientific results from the Nestlé Research Center’s previous support of PhD work at King’s College London.

Food ingredient and gene research ANALYSING DATA: The partnership aims to understand the possible impact on human health of alterations to the regulation of genes

For this new project, Nestlé Research Center worked with the university to submit a joint research proposal to the BBSRC Interchange Award scheme.

It is the first time that King’s College has won the honour.  Presented by the BBSRC to the academic partner in the research project, the award aims to realise the social and economic potential of fundamental scientific research.

Related information:
Nestlé Research Center website
King’s College London website