Dr Maria Traka

Research Leader

Contact via email

Food & Nutrition National Bioscience Research Infrastructure

I am the Head of the Food & Nutrition National Bioscience Research Infrastructure at the Quadram, which curates and manages the food composition data of the UK diets. I have an active interest in personalized nutrition, prevention of non-communicable diseases, and the importance of the microbiome in modulating response to complex diets.

My previous work, during my PhD and post-doctoral studies, focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to disease prevention (e.g. prostate cancer). As a Senior Research Scientist at the Quadram Institute I became increasingly interested the role of cruciferous-rich diets, such as those high in broccoli, in maintaining a healthy metabolism. For this, I combined human dietary intervention studies with studies on cell and animal models, using RNA sequencing of patient tissues and detailed metabolic assays.

I have always been keen in the opportunities that big data offer in maximizing our comprehension of the effect of diet and how we can translate it to population benefit.

I have been successful in securing funding from BBSRC, local charities (BigC), and US Organizations (PCF)

Key Publications

Traka M., Melchini M., Coode-Bate J., Al-Kadhi O., Shikha S., Defernez M., Troncoso Rey P., Kibblewhite H., O’Neill C., Bernuzzi F., Mythen L., Hughes J., Needs P., Dainty J., Savva G., Mills R., Ball R., Cooper C., Mithen R.(2019) Transcriptional changes in prostate of men on active surveillance following a 12-month glucoraphanin-rich broccoli intervention – results from the ESCAPE randomized controlled trial AJCN[ in press]

Al Kadhi O., Traka M. (Joint 1st author), Melchini A., Troncoso-Rey P., Jurkowski W., Defernez M., Pachori P., Mills R. D., Ball R. Y., Mithen R.(2017) Increased transcriptional and metabolic capacity for lipid metabolism in the peripheral zone of the prostate may underpin its increased susceptibility to cancer, Oncotarget 8 84902-84916 doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.17926

Sivapalan T., Melchini A., Saha S., Needs P., Traka M., Tapp H., Dainty J., Mithen R.(2017) Bioavailability of glucoraphanin and sulforaphane from high-glucoraphanin broccoli Molecular Nutrition and Food Research 1700911 doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201700911

Armah CN, Derdemezis C, Traka MH, Dainty JR, Doleman JF, Saha S, Leung W, Potter JF, Lovegrove JA, Mithen RF. (2015) Diet rich in high glucoraphanin broccoli reduces plasma LDL cholesterol: Evidence from randomised controlled trials. Mol Nutr Food Res 59(5):918-26 doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201400863

Traka MH, Saha S, Huseby S, Kopriva S, Walley PG, Barker GC, Moore J, Mero G, van den Bosch F, Constant H, Kelly L, Schepers H, Boddupalli S, Mithen RF. (2013) Genetic regulation of glucoraphanin accumulation in Beneforté broccoli, New Phytologist 198 1085-95 doi: 10.1111/nph.12232


Livingstone TL, Saha S, Bernuzzi F, Savva GM, Troncoso-Rey P, Traka MH, Mills RD, Ball RY, Mithen R. (2022)

Accumulation of Sulforaphane and Alliin in Human Prostate Tissue


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Hurst R, Meader E, Gihawi A, Rallapalli G, Clark J, Kay GL, Webb M, Manley K, Curley H, Walker H, Kumar R, Schmidt K, Crossman L, Eeles RA, Wedge DC, Lynch AG, Massie CE, Yazbek-Hanna M, Rochester M, Mills RD, Mithen RF, Traka MH, Ball RY, O'Grady J, Brewer DS, Wain J, Cooper C. (2022)

Microbiomes of Urine and the Prostate Are Linked to Human Prostate Cancer Risk Groups.

European urology oncology

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Traka MARI. (2022)

Article entitled:- How to eat 30 a week and feed your gut.

Optimum Nutrition, Autumn 2022 Issue, 14-15

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Balech B, Brennan L, Carrillo de Santa Pau E, Cavalieri D, Coort S, D'Ella D, Ove Dragsted L, Eftimov T, T. Evelo C, Ferk P, Finglas P, Gori A, Hancock J, Traka . (2022)

The future of food and nutrition in ELIXIR  [version 1; peer review: 1 approved with reservations]


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Neequaye M, Steuernagel B, Saha S, Trick M, Troncoso-Rey P, van den, Traka MH, Østergaard L, Mithen . (2022)

Characterisation of the Introgression of Brassica villosa Genome Into Broccoli to Enhance Methionine-Derived Glucosinolates and Associated Health Benefits.

Frontiers in plant science

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Neequaye M, Stavnstrup S, Harwood W, Lawrenson T, Hundleby P, Irwin J, Troncoso-Rey P, Saha S, Traka MH, Mithen R, Østergaard L. (2021)

CRISPR-Cas9-Mediated Gene Editing of MYB28 Genes Impair Glucoraphanin Accumulation of Brassica oleracea in the Field.

The CRISPR journal, 4, 416-426

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