Scientists showcase Vitamin D research

VITAMIN D DAY.... Professor Sean Strain, Professor of Human Nutrition and Co-Director of Centre for Molecular Biosciences (second from left), with from left to right, Dr Maria Mulhern, Dr Emeir McSorley, Dr Paul Thompson and Dr Kirsty Pourshahidi. CR35-127s
VITAMIN D DAY.... Professor Sean Strain, Professor of Human Nutrition and Co-Director of Centre for Molecular Biosciences (second from left), with from left to right, Dr Maria Mulhern, Dr Emeir McSorley, Dr Paul Thompson and Dr Kirsty Pourshahidi. CR35-127s

THE University of Ulster’s Coleraine Campus has facilitated a ‘think tank’ on Vitamin D.

Scientists from the Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE) and the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute (BMSRI) held the ‘think tank’ to review their Vitamin D research to date and map out priorities for future research projects.

Vitamin D, sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin, is vital for the formation of healthy bones, and may also help prevent diseases such as diabetes, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

The main source of vitamin D is exposure to ultra-violet radiation in sunlight, which produces vitamin D in the skin. A small amount of vitamin D can also be obtained from the diet.Molecular biologist Dr Paul Thompson explained the thinking behind D-Day:

“Research into vitamin D has been ongoing at both NICHE and BMSRI over the last decade.

“D Day was an opportunity for researchers involved molecular (cell) work and those doing clinical research and human intervention studies to identify future collaborative vitamin D projects.

“It was also a way to showcase some of our past research projects and to highlight its relevance and application both at home and abroad.”

The event was organised by Human Nutrition lecturer, Dr Emeir McSorley.

She said NICHE’s research into vitamin D status in different parts of Ireland was just one example of the important kind of research being carried out at the Coleraine campus under the auspices of NICHE and BMSRI.

“Our research has shown that low vitamin D status is a problem in Northern Ireland in otherwise healthy people but also in those with certain conditions such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (also known as Lupus), Multiple Sclerosis and prostate cancer.”