Colin Kay

Colin Kay


  • Room (214) Floor 2

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Personal profile

Teaching Interests

My current teaching activity is focused mainly on Problem Based Learning tutorials and Nutrition and Research Practice lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops to MB/BS medical degree students. Current lecturers, seminars, workshops include: Health Effects of Obesity, Diet and Respiratory Disease, Diet in Children and Research Protocol and Project Modules. In addition I am a Director of Learning Teaching and Quality for Post Graduate Research in the Faculty of Health.

Academic Background

  • Ph.D. 2005,   University of Guelph, Human Biology and Nutritional Science; Industrial Research location, Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, BC, Canada.
  • M.Sc. 2002, University of Guelph, Human Biology and Nutritional Science.
  • B.Sc. 2000,   University of Guelph, (hons), major in Biological Sciences, minor in Nutrition. 


My previous research experience includes 2 year fellowship positions in both the UK and the US and 4 years of research assistantship in Canada. I am trained in nutritional biochemistry (PhD; University of Guelph, Canada) and have also received postdoctoral training in human vascular interventions and controlled dietary feeding trials (Pennsylvania State University, USA). Currently I utilise human and cell-based studies to investigate the effects of diet on disease.

Research interests

Cardiovascular bioactivity of dietary phytochemicals

  • Phytochemical metabolism
  • Dietary Flavonoids


  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Nutrition, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK (Feb 2012 – present).
  • Lecturer, Department of Nutrition, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK (Feb 2009 – Feb 2012).
  • Research Associate,  Department of Nutrition, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK (Jan 2007 - Jan 2009).
  • Research Associate - NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Co appointment, Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Biobehavioral Health, Penn State University, PA, USA (January 2005 - Dec 2007).
  • Research Associate/Assistant, Pacific Agri-Food Research Center, Department of Agriculture Canada, BC, Canada (January 2003 - January 2005).
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Human Nutrition Laboratory, Department of Human Biology and Nutrition, University of Guelph, ON, Canada (January 2000 - December 2002).

Key Research Interests and Expertise

My current research involves the investigation of phytochemical bioactivity following human feeding interventions and in cultured vascular and intestinal cells. This research focuses on the effects of metabolic transformation on the structure and cardiovascular bioactivity of flavonoids.

Selected Publications

De Ferrars, R. M., Czank, C., Zhang, Q., Botting, N. P., Kroon, P. A., Cassidy, A. & Kay, C. D. (2014) The pharmacokinetics of anthocyanins and their metabolites in humans: Pharmacokinetics of a 13 C-labelled anthocyanin. British Journal of Pharmacology. 171, 13, p. 3268-3282.

De Ferrars, R. M., Czank, C., Saha, S., Needs, P. W., Zhang, Q., Raheem, K. S., Kroon, P. A. & Kay, C. D. (2014). Methods for isolating, identifying and quantifying anthocyanin metabolites in clinical samples. Analytical Chemistry (in press).

De Ferrars, R. M., Cassidy, A., Curtis, P. & Kay, C. D. (2014) Phenolic metabolites of anthocyanins following a dietary intervention study in post-menopausal women. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 58, 3, p. 490-502 13 p.

Davidson, R. K., Jupp, O., de Ferrars, R., Kay, C. D., Culley, K. L., Norton, R., Driscoll, C., Vincent, T. L., Donell, S. T., Bao, Y. & Clark, I. M. (2013) Sulforaphane represses matrix-degrading proteases and protects cartilage from destruction in vitro and in vivo: Sulforaphane is Protective in the Articular Joint. Arthritis and rheumatism. 65, 12, p. 3130-3140 11 p.

Czank, C., Cassidy, A., Zhang, Q., Morrison, D.J., Preston, T., Kroon, P.A., Botting, N.P., and Kay, C.D. (2013) Human metabolism and elimination of the anthocyanin, cyanidin-3-glucoside: a 13C-tracer study. Am J Clin Nutr. 97. pp. 995-1003. ISSN 0002-9165

Kay, CD, Hooper, L, Kroon, PA, Rimm, EB and Cassidy, A (2012) Relative impact of flavonoid composition, dose and structure on vascular function: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials of flavonoid-rich food products. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 56 (11). pp. 1605-1616. ISSN 16134125

Jennings, A, Welch, A, Fairweather-Tait, SJ, Kay, CD, Minihane, A-M, Chowienczyk, P, Jiang, B, Cecelja, M, Spector, T, Macgregor, A and Cassidy, A (2012) Higher anthocyanin intake is associated with lower arterial stiffness and central pressure in women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. ISSN 0002-9165

Cassidy, A, Rimm, EB, O'Reilly, E, Logroscino, CD, Kay, C, Chiuve, SE and Rexrode, KM (2012) Dietary Flavonoids and Risk of Stroke in Women. Stroke.43(4). Pp. 946-51. ISSN 0039-2499.

Zhang, Q, Raheem, KS, Botting, NP, Slawin, AMZ, Kay, CD and O'Hagan, D (2012) Flavonoid metabolism: the synthesis of phenolic glucuronides and sulfates as candidate metabolites for bioactivity studies of dietary flavonoids. Tetrahedron, 68 (22). pp. 4194-4201. ISSN 00404020

Cassidy, A., O'Reilly, E. J., Kay, C.D., Sampson, L., Franz, M., Forman, J., Curhan, G. and Rimm, E. B. (2011) Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93 (2). pp. 338-347. ISSN 0002-9165

Zhang, Q, Botting, NP and Kay, CD (2011) A gram scale synthesis of a multi-13C-labelled anthocyanin, [6,8,10,3?,5?-13C5]cyanidin-3-glucoside, for use in oral tracer studies in humans. Chemical Communications, 47 (38). pp. 10596-10598. ISSN 1359-7345


Research Group Overview:

Flavonoids are a family of over 5000 different naturally occurring compounds found within common foodstuffs.  There is mounting evidence that supports the notion that dietary flavonoids act to slow the onset of chronic disease, particularly cardiovascular disease. However, the specific structural characteristics that confer these protective effects and whether these effects are brought about by compounds acting in isolation, in combination or as metabolites, still remains unknown. We are investigating the structural characteristics that allow this class of compounds to provide health benefits using in vivo and in vitro models of metabolism and cardiovascular disease.   

Lab Group

Hiren Amin (PhD candidate): Research project focuses on screening novel anthocyanin metabolites for potential biological activities using in vitro vascular cell models.

Jessica di Gesso (PhD candidate): Research project focuses on discovering and targeting the inflammatory signalling pathways responsible for the cardioprotective effects of dietary flavonoids using in vitro inflammatory cell models.

Michael Smith (PhD Candidate): Research project focuses on establishing human metabolites of anthocyanins as potential therapeutic targets using chromatographic and mass spectrometry techniques.

Emily Warner (PhD Candidate): Research project focuses on targeting the underlying signalling pathways responsible for the cardioprotective effects of dietary flavonoids using in vitro vascular cell models. 

Previous Lab Members:

Dr. Ildefonzo rodriguez (Postdoctoral fellow): Research project focused on developing and validating cell culture models for identifying HO1 activity (protein & mRNA), Nrf2, Erk etc., using ELISA, western and PCR.

Dr. Jason Kerr (Postdoctoral fellow): Research project focuses on understanding the collective bioactivity of dietary flavonoids, with particular interest placed on defining the specific structural characteristics, and the molecular mechanisms, by which flavonoids have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health.

Dr. Charles Czank (Postdoctoral Fellow): Research project focused on the impact of processing and human metabolism on anthocyanin structure and bioactivity as it relates to cardiovascular health. Charles presently holds a Principal Scientist position at Leatherhead Foods Research, UK.

Rachel de Ferrars (PhD candidate): Research project focuses on investigating the bioavailability of anthocyanins and the distribution and elimination of their metabolites in humans.

Michael Edwards (PhD candidate): Research project focuses on investigating the bioactivity of flavonoids and their common phenolic degradation products using in vitro vascular cell models.

Dr. Gary Woodward (PhD): Gary's thesis work title was 'Anthocyanin stability, metabolic conjugation and in vitro modulation of endothelial superoxide production'.  Gary is presently a Research Associate at the University of Oxford in the Pre-Reg Clinical Scientist track at Oxford University Hospitals.



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or