I am currently the deputy Head of Food Databanks National Capability, 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)
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