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ESR6 Investigating the importance of queuosine (Q) as a novel micronutrient in human ageing and brain health.

PhD project title

Investigating the importance of queuosine (Q) as a novel micronutrient in human ageing and brain health. 

Outline description, including interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international dimensions 


The global micronutrients market exceeded $4.5 billion in 2014 and by 2023 will be worth more than $8.5 billion, growing at ~8% per annum. Queuosine (Q) is the only micronutrient that directly affects protein translation efficiency and accuracy, with roles in metabolism and healthy-aging of the brain. Public awareness of Q is non-existent because of a lack of scientific knowledge of the levels in our food, what our intake should be, and how it can be exploited to benefit human health and ageing. Q and its precursor queuine (q) are exclusively retrieved from ingested food and microflora. Basic questions on Q function remain unanswered, so this PhD project will address these by working across 3 interdisciplinary strands (diagnostics, human nutrition, and fundamental biochemistry). The challenges to be addressed include: i) developing methods for accurately measuring Q/q in our food, local environment and in human samples, ii) assessing exposure of q/Q in the human diet by using food intake data from the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA) and, iii) improving our understanding of how q/Q benefit the ageing brain including whether deficiency of the micronutrient is linked to dementia. In each of these challenges there are growth opportunities for the local life sciences and agri-food industry to exploit including diagnostics, food manufacturers, probiotic and feed supplements sectors. Furthermore, there are potential benefits for the health of the local population particularly for the elderly because nutrient deficiencies are highly prevalent in Northern Ireland, food supplementation or improved diet could reduce much of the subsequent risk of chronic disease and premature ageing. This project will be well supported internationally using already established collaborations with Dublin, Florida, Ohio and San Diego. 

Key words/descriptors

Micronutrients, human health, nutrition, metabolism, ageing, brain health.

Fit to CITI-GENS theme(s)

  • Life Sciences

Supervisor Information



First Supervisor Dr Brian Green                                                                     School: Biological Sciences

Second Supervisor:  Prof Jayne Woodside                                                   School: Medicine, Dentistry & Biomedical Sciences

Third Supervisor: Dr Marian Scott                                                                      Company: Devenish Nutrition Limited

Name of non-HEI partner(s)

Devenish Nutrition

Contribution of non-HEI partner(s) to the project:

Devenish Nutrition will assist with the provision of food, feed, microbiota and environmental samples to complement the human samples that are already available

 Please describe the profile of the non-HEI partner and the nature of the relationship.    


Devenish Nutrition is an agri-technology company based in Belfast, supplying quality nutritional products for the pig, poultry and ruminant sectors. Devenish is an innovator in animal nutrition by providing a wide range of products and services, and is dedicated to the research, development and manufacturing of quality premixes, pre-starters, starters and concentrates together with specialty products and solutions. Their research teams work to solve current and future problems in their market through local and global partners who are world renowned for their excellence in their specific areas.

Research centre / School

 Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences

Subject area