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    Ph.D Dietary Research

Blue Flowers


Dr Fan is a senior research consultant at Laurel research and will be undertaking the day-to-day tasks of the nutrition-related research project. In November 2021, Fan successfully graduated with Doctorate (PhD) degree in biology from, faculty of health and life science at Northumbria University of Newcastle. Fan’s PhD project is regarding dietary interventions such as extra virgin olive oil, which is a major component in the Mediterranean diet, for improving cardiovascular health ageing and cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes. During her PhD journey, Fan gained a good wide range of foods and nutritional knowledge and practical skills in writing systematic reviews and literature review, conducting semi-structured interviews, web surveys, and human clinical trials to assess the efficacy of dietary interventions on improving cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular biomarkers in Caucasians and East Asians males in North-east of England. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fan’s Ph.D project was awarded Rank Prize Funds as a final year PhD student in Nutrition from Northumbria university of Newcastle in August 2020.  The publication named “The effects of extra virgin olive oil or butter on cardiovascular biomarkers in Caucasians and East Asians males in the UK: A randomized crossover trial” has been prepared to publish around November 2022. 
Fan Liang was active in attending various nutritional and healthcare conferences during her PhD. She presented her work – “Efficacy of nutritional interventions supplementing nuts on cardiovascular risk factors among adults’ individuals: A systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies” in the Summer meeting in October 2018, Getting energy balance right from Nutrition Society. Apart from her PhD experience, Fan also holds a Nutrition Science master’s degree from the Northumbria University of Newcastle, where she completed her bachelor’s degree – in nursing science (Hons), her final dissertation is “An extended Literature reviews of how social-level influence impacts on children and teenagers’ unhealthy food consumption?”. Before moving to Newcastle upon Tyne, Fan holds a bachelor’s degree – clinical nurse from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Shanghai, China in 2014, followed by a one-year period of nursing internship in Chinese Medicine hospital in Shanghai, Putuo District Women's and Children's Health Centre, and Shanghai Mental Health Centre. 
On May 2022, Dr Fan has won a research project evaluating the effectiveness of the Food For Life Programme on childhood obesity outcomes and obesogenic environments on behalf of the Soil Association. Fan’s main research areas of interest lie in the core of healthcare-related topics, behavioural interventions and dietary interventions for tackling health issues, such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Dietary Interventions for Cardiovascular Ageing

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Biological ageing is inevitable

A restricted lifespan, ageing and then death are basic characteristics of life. In nature, ...this is the basic problem of evolution.


The unbalance between the paradox of life (oxygen, nutritional metabolities, biochemisstry process) and biological defenses (DNA repair...). Ageing is the shrinkage of the homeodynamic space.

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Cardiovascular health ageing improvement

The prevalence of healthy ageing is relatively low. Wide variation exists in the ageing among people is characterised by the degree to which body functions decline. Among the physiological and metabolic changes occurring with ageing, the ageing of heart function is the key determinant of health and disability.


People become dissimilar from their contemporaries of the same chronological age as they become older due to lifestyle factors (75% contribution) mainly including dietary factors, and genetic factors (25% contribution). 


Mediterranean diet & cardiovascular health

The Mediterranean diet has been widely recognized as a model of “healthy eating”. The traditional Mediterranean diet consists of a wide range of minimally processed whole grains and legumes, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds as the principal source of fat, moderate consumption of fish, low amounts of dairy products, very low frequency of intake of red and processed meat, and wine consumed in low to moderate amount.

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the Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea (PREDIMED) study

The PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) study is designed to assess the long-term effects of the Mediterranean diet (MeDiet) without any energy restriction on incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) as a multicenter, randomized, primary prevention trial in individuals at high risk. 

Key aspects for the dietary research

Plasma sample analysis

Plasma samples will be used for analysis of cardiovascular biomarkers using commercial Elisa kits according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Each Elisa plate was measured using a microplate spectrofluorometric reader (Tecan Spark®).

Human Trial 

Research ethics

Trial deign & registeration

Primary outcome

Secondary outcome

Participants eligibility criteria and study settings



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Venepuncture & urine sample collect

BD Vacutainer® Safety-Lok™ blood collection set inserted into the antecubital vein in right arm; blood was drawn into separate 6 mL BD Vacutainer® Heparin Tube tubes (Becton Dickinson).

Blood pressure

Resting blood pressure
24-hour ambulatory blood pressure

Anthropometric & assessment of endothelial function by FMD, PWV

Body composition assessment
Handgrip strength
Basal MET.RATE  kcal
Dry lean weight kg (normal range: _____ - _____ kg)

Dietary assessment & nutritional analysis

‘‘Microdiet’’ software (Microdiet System, Version 6.4, Salford University, UK).
3-day food record & phone,messemgers, photos records

Outcome measures & data collected

Blood lipid
Established biomarkers: ELISA
Novel biomarkers: ELISA
Resting BP
Anthropometric measurements
Body composition assessment
Handgrip strength
Dietary assessment and nutritional analysis

Sample size

G*Power ( version 3.1.3 (Program written, concept and design by Franz, Universitat Kiel, Germany; freely available windows application software). 
Calculations considered a prior power of 0.8, a 0.05 significance level and a 0.5 correlation coefficient between groups. Sample size calculations were performed for the primary endpoint; this is, change in SBP response.

Randomization and Allocation

Computer-generated random integer generator in blocks of 4, with a 1:1 ratio

Statistical analysis

Guidelines: CONSORT
Method: GLM etc...

Statistical analysis

Comperhensive meta-analysis


Data collection & summarize

Compare with research study

Example - ELISA
Example - microdiet
Micro 1
Micro 2
Micro 3
Example - NOA
Blood sample 1
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