Wellcome Trust Centre For Mitochondrial Research

Stella Breininger


I’ve completed my undergraduate studies in Food and Human Nutrition BSc (Honours) at Newcastle University. Then I pursued my MRes and PhD at Newcastle University investigating the effect of adiposity on biomarkers of colorectal cancer.

I enjoy investigating medical sciences. Ageing is plastic and therefore modifiable. It can be accelerated by metabolic diseases such as obesity and therefore it is extremely important to understand the mechanisms of disease progression at a molecular level to understand how this may be prevented. It is extremely interesting to investigate how molecular biology, genetics and epigenetics can influence healthy longevity. The human body is a complex system of multi gene, multi protein and multi nutrient interactions. More specifically I am highly motivated to investigate how environmental and lifestyle factors, such as diet and obesity, modulate the epigenome and subsequently influence cancer risk. There is still a research gap in the prevention of cancer by modulating lifestyle factors such as diet, and hence modulating the epigenome. The driving global obesity epidemic, alongside of the Westernisation of dietary and lifestyle patterns contribute to a large proportion of cancer cases. Cancer remains a major public health problem.

Research Project

Mechanisms linking obesity, ageing and colorectal risk

Principal Investigators: Prof. John Mathers, Dr Laura Greaves, Prof Jelena Mann

Project Details

Bowel cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer. Diet is a major modifiable risk factor for CRC, however it has proven difficult, using conventional epidemiology, to identify which specific factors in food have beneficial and adverse effects and to define dietary choices which may minimize risk.

This project will be part of the BFU-Study which is a 10 year follow-up of participants recruited to the Biomarkers of Risk of Colon Cancer (BORICC 1) Study. This will be an observational and longitudinal study.

It is hypothesised that i) biomarkers of CRC risk will be elevated in obese compared with normal weight participants and ii) lifestyle factors involved in the aetiology of obesity, notably dietary factors and physical activity, are associated with these biomarkers.

Contact: s.p.breininger@ncl.ac.uk

Sponsor/funder: MRC