Thursday, 30 March 2017

Post-doctoral poisition available


The University of Limerick (UL) with over 13,000 students and 1,300 staff is an energetic and enterprising institution with a proud record of innovation and excellence in education, research and scholarship. The dynamic, entrepreneurial and pioneering values which drive UL’s mission and strategy ensures that we capitalise on local, national and international engagement and connectivity.  We are renowned for providing an outstanding student experience and conducting leading edge research.  Our commitment is to make a difference by shaping the future through educating and empowering our students. UL is situated on a superb riverside campus of over 130 hectares with the River Shannon as a unifying focal point. Outstanding recreational, cultural and sporting facilities further enhance this exceptional learning and research environment.

Applications are invited for the following position:

Faculty of Science + Engineering

School of Natural Sciences

Department of Biological Sciences

Post Doctoral Researcher Salmon Lipids and Inflammation (Specific Purpose Contract)

Salary Scale: €37,750 – €46,255 p.a. (maximum starting salary €37,750 p.a.)

Further information for applicants and application material is available online from:

The closing date for receipt of applications is Tuesday, 18th April 2017.

Applications must be completed online before 12 noon, Irish Standard Time on the closing date.

Please note your application must include:

A letter of introduction indicating how you meet the criteria outlined in the Job description.
A completed online Application Form (separate application forms must be submitted for each post applied for).

Please email if you experience any difficulties

Applications are welcome from suitably qualified candidates.
The University is an equal opportunities employer and committed to selection on merit.

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Informal enquiries regarding the post may be directed to:
Dr Ioannis Zabetakis
Department of Biological Sciences
Univeristy of Limerick


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Three Little Corals

Reef Top, Great Barrier Reef, Australia Photograph: Daniela Dirscherl/Getty Images/WaterFrame RM

Once upon a time, possibly in the Precambrian there was an ancestral hexacorallian mother who had three little orders** of corals and not enough food to feed them. So when they evolved into distinct orders, she sent them out into the world to seek their fortunes.

to continue reading here

Market trends

here is an interesting cheesy market trend.

Further reading

1.Evaluation of the in vitro anti-atherogenic activities of goat milk and goat dairy products

2. In vitro anti-atherogenic properties of traditional Greek cheese lipid fractions

Monday, 27 March 2017

Do We Need Books?

Some views on the value of books are presented here.

Many thanks to the Elsevier team for their hospitality!


New paper: The anti-inflammatory properties of dairy lipids

Available online 23 March 2017

  • Department of Biological Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

Dairy product consumption is often associated with negative effects because of its naturally high levels of saturated fatty acids. However, recent research has shown that dairy lipids possess putative bioactivity against chronic inflammation. Inflammation triggers the onset of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, and cancer. This review discusses the anti-inflammatory properties of dairy lipids found in milk, yogurt, and cheese, and it examines them in relation to their implications for human health: their protective effects and their role in pathology. We also consider the effect of lipid profile alteration in dairy products—by using ruminant dietary strategies to enrich the milk, or by lipid fortification in the products. We critically review the in vivo, in vitro, ex vivo, and epidemiological studies associated with these dairy lipids and their role in various inflammatory conditions. Finally, we discuss some suggestions for future research in the study of bioactive lipids and dairy products, with reference to the novel field of metabolomics and epidemiological studies.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Statins Increase Diabetes Risk by up to 50% in Older Women

Statin therapy increases the risk of new-onset diabetes in elderly women by 33%, and the higher the dose, the greater the risk,
new research shows.

The title of the paper is:New-Onset Diabetes After Statin Exposure in Elderly Women: The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

and its implications are rather significant.

 "GPs and their elderly female patients should be aware of the risks," Dr Jones added in a University of Queensland statement, noting that those elderly women taking statins "should be carefully and regularly monitored for increased blood glucose to ensure early detection and management of diabetes."
And, he and his colleagues suggest, it may be the case that statins could be stopped altogether in some elderly women.

"What's most concerning was that we found a 'dose effect,' where the risk of diabetes increased as the dosage of statins increased, [and] over the 10 years of the study, most of the women progressed to higher doses of statins," Dr Jones observed.
He and his colleagues therefore recommend that ongoing risk assessment is "critical" to ensure optimal health outcomes and quality of life in older women.

Monday, 20 March 2017

cardiovascular diseases: novel drug, old approach

I read with interest the news on evolocumab and a large international trial on 27,000 patients.
The British Heart Foundation said the findings were a significant advance in fighting the biggest killer in the world.
 The study found that for every 74 people who took the drug for two years, one heart attack or stroke would be prevented. However, the findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the drug had no impact on the rate of cardiovascular mortality.

 Looking for a new drug to lower LDL is a sign that quite few people have now accepted that statins do not work...but addressing CVDs from the same point of view (i.e. LDL) is the fundamental problem as described here and here.

So, are we still at square one?
I am afraid we long we believe that LDL is the problem...
A novel approach is badly needed...
 (an approach that we describe in the book we are writing...)

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Chemicals: risk assessment

The identification of hazards, the evaluation of their risks and the putting in place of control measures to secure the health and safety of employees is a major element for managing health and safety under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005.
The Chemical Agent Regulations 2001 point out the specific requirements necessary to complete a Chemical Agents risk assessment of the chemical agents used in the work place.  

The Risk Assessment steps:
  1. Identify the chemical hazards.
  2. Consider who might be affected and how they might be harmed.
  3. Evaluate the risks,- what are you doing now and what further precautions are needed?
  4. Document and implement your findings.
  5. Update and review as required.

    [further reading here]


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms

What a title!! 100% false!!!



In contrast to the current belief that cholesterol reduction with statins decreases atherosclerosis, we present a perspective that statins may be causative in coronary artery calcification and can function as mitochondrial toxins that impair muscle function in the heart and blood vessels through the depletion of coenzyme Q10 and 'heme A', and thereby ATP generation. Statins inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K2, the cofactor for matrix Gla-protein activation, which in turn protects arteries from calcification. Statins inhibit the biosynthesis of selenium containing proteins, one of which is glutathione peroxidase serving to suppress peroxidative stress. An impairment of selenoprotein biosynthesis may be a factor in congestive heart failure, reminiscent of the dilated cardiomyopathies seen with selenium deficiency. Thus, the epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs. We propose that current statin treatment guidelines be critically reevaluated.


ATP generation; atherosclerosis; coenzyme Q10; heart failure; mitochondrial toxin; selenoprotein; statin; statin cardiomyopathy; vitamin K2

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read the full article here.

New challenges and opportunities

In Aquafarming industry, as in every other, some of the burning questions we face every day are around cost analysis, supply management and branding
Ioannis Zabetakis

However some of the rather hidden opportunities could be around the nutritional value of products and how these products can be better branded and marketed in a challenging environment where borders are virtually non-existent.

One of the issues that I remind my students often about is the use of hurdle technology in order to maximise shelf-file and therefore increase the size of the potential markets where we can sell our products.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is an excellent tool to prolong shelf life. MAP can give fish fillets an expiry date about 7-9 days from day of production.

Therefore, the product can practically travel around the globe!

What’s next?
With this in mind, let’s have a look at some of the new challenges that lie ahead.

Challenge one: Marine Pathogens
The aquaculture industry is constantly expanding to meet the needs of the global population and ever growing demand for quality protein. Economic sustainability of this industry requires an increasing diversification of cultured fish species.

A prerequisite of the introduction of new species to aquaculture is the development of larval cultures and assessing their growth and health on exposure to water from the open sea.

The semi-intensive “mesocosm” technique can be used to determine the specific biological, ecological and nutritional needs of each species, as rearing methodologies used in other established species may not be applicable.

Under the technique, unfiltered seawater is supplied to tanks in order to enhance natural planktonic productivity, providing live feed prey to the fish larvae in addition to supplements of cultured live feeds such as rotifers or Artemia.

Read the full article HERE.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Impossible is nothing

the title of this post is my last phrase on the Marine Oils I edited 2 y ago.

Here is the last paragraph...

The cutting edge products that are badly needed today at the consumer level, i.e. on the super market shelf, are functional foods (or nutraceuticals derived from these functional foods) containing whole fish (not only omega-3 PUFAs!) as there is growing scientific evidence that total fish is beneficial against CVDs as opposed to omega-3 PUFAs supplements. This scientific evidence needs, thus, to be translated and transcripted by the industry into novel functional food (e.g. fish snacks) with a flavor and nutritional value better than omega-3 pills. Impossible is nothing!


P.S. Thank you Barca for reminding us that "Impossible is nothing" last night! What a game!  

Thursday, 2 March 2017