Prof. Richard Mithen

Group Leader

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Food chemistry and human health


Following a PhD in plant genetics from the University of East Anglia, I worked on the collection, conservation and use of wild crop relatives in south central Africa.

Subsequently, I  led a research group at the John Innes Centre in plant genetics but with an increasing interest in the interface between plant science and human health research.

I became Professor of Crop Science at the University of Nottingham in 1999, and moved to Institute of Food Research (transformed to Quadram Institute Bioscience in 2017) in 2003 where I lead the Food Innovation and Health programme.  My main research interests are in human nutrition and the role of plant specialised metabolites in promoting and maintaining human health.

Key Publications

Armah CN, Traka MH, Dainty JR, Defernez M, Janssens A, Leung W, Doleman JF, Potter JF and Mithen RF (2013) A diet rich in high glucoraphanin broccoli interacts with genotype to reduce discordance in plasma metabolite profiles through modulating mitochondrial function. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78, 712-722

Traka, MH, Saha S, Huseby S, Kopriva S, Walley PG, Braker GC, Moore J, Mero G, van den Bosch F, Constant H, Kelly L, Schepers H, Boddupalli S and Mithen RF (2013). Genetic regulation of glucoraphain accumulation in Beneforte broccoli. New Phytologist 198, 1085-95 *

Traka MH, Mithen RF. (2011) Plant Science and Human Nutrition: Challenges in assessing the health promoting activities of phytochemicals. Plant Cell. 2011 Jul;23(7):2483-97.

Traka M, Melchini A and Mithen RF (2014)  Sulforaphane and prostate cancer interception. Drug Discovery Today 19(9):1488-92.

Traka M., Melchini A., 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


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Mithen R., Ho E.. (2018)

Isothiocyanates for Human Health.

Molecular nutrition & food research, 62, e1870079

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Doleman J., Grisar G., Van Liedekerke L., Saha S., Roe M., Tapp H., Mithen R.. (2017)

The contribution of alliaceous and cruciferous vegetables to dietary sulphur intake.

Food Chemistry, 234, 38-45

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Davidson R., Gardner S., Jupp O., Bullough A., Butters S., Watts L., Donell S., Traka M., Saha S., Mithen R., Peffers M., Clegg P., Bao Y., Cassidy A., Clark I.. (2017)

Isothiocyanates are detected in human synovial fluid following broccoli consumption and can affect the tissues of the knee joint.

Scientific reports, 7, 3398

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Al Kadhi O., Traka M., 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

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Kellingray L., Tapp H. S., Saha S., Doleman J. F., Narbad A., Mithen R. F.. (2017)

Consumption of a diet rich in Brassica vegetables is associated with a reduced abundance of sulphate-reducing bacteria: a randomised crossover study

Molecular Nutrition & Food Research

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