Dr. Rosalyn Forsey, Unilever Research Colworth House

Sharnbrook Bedfordshire MK44 1LQT, UK.

Tel: +4401234 222 302 Fax: +4401234 222 552, E-mail: rosalyn.forsey@unilever.com

Group’s experience:

Formed in 1930, Unilever now employs over 265,000 people worldwide with an annual turnover of around £27 billion. Unilever has 330 local operating units in 88 countries with a portfolio of global, regional and local brands including Magnum ice-cream, Ragu pasta sauces, Birds Eye frozen fish and Lipton teas. Unilever research and development teams help to anticipate and meet consumer needs. Six central laboratories make the core scientific and technological advances that lie behind the generation of new products and new manufacturing processes. Complementing their work, a global network of 71 innovation centres translates our research into marketable brands for consumers. These centres also provide ideas for the development of future brands.This group has a long standing interest in the interaction between nutrients and the immune system, both at the gene and protein level. Recently, the group has attempted to mechanistically rationalise the beneficial affects of a range of micronutrients (certain short and unsaturated long chain fats, antioxidants, phyto-oestrogens, plant terpenes) which deliver health benefits in terms of reduced incidence of the chronic degenerative diseases of ageing. Data from this group have shown that a range of antioxidants, phyto-oestrogens, natural PPAR ligands and plant terpenes are able to rebalance age related signalling dysfunction in-vitro (there is also some preliminary in-vivo data), dampening redox-sensitive transcription factor activation and subsequent inflammatory gene expression. The partner, Dr Rosalyn Forsey has been a Biosciences Project Leader for 3 years, and currently leads the research project “Immune Ageing”. Prior to working for Unilever she spent 3 years as a post-doctoral assistant in Glasgow University studying the role of innate cytokines in Rheumatoid Arthritis. In addition to her knowledge of cytokines and inflammation she has an interest in nutrient/gene interactions with particular reference to ageing and chronic degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurodegeneration. Unilever Research Colworth (URC) has recently invested in improving the genomic and bio-informatics facility at their Colworth site run by five members of staff (3 genomics and 2 bio-informatics personnel). The facility includes a Biorobotics migrid II gene arrayer and GSI Lunmonics scanner, PCR machines and sample/chip preparation robots as well as computing facilities for data analysis and informatics.

Personnel involved:

All the staff listed work in the Biosciences department of Unilever Research Colworth. Dr Rosalyn Forsey (F) is the principal scientist and leads a Unilever based group investigating Immune Ageing. RF will be responsible for the day to day running of the Unilever tasks in the project and as a member Julie Thompson (F) will be responsible for sample collection, processing and data analysis. RF and JT have expertise in genomic and proteomic technology and will work, together with the Unilver gene array facility to carry out the work detailed in the project outline. In addition staff from the statistics and bioinformatics department will be working with the above named individuals to analyse the data.

Recent relevant publications:

1) Forsey RJ, Thompson JM, Ernedh J, Hurst TL, Strindhall J, Johansson B, Nilsson B-O, Wikby A. “Plasma cytokine profiles in elderly humans.” Mechanisms of Ageing and Development (2003 in press)
2) Pawelec G, Barnett Y, Forsey R, Frasca D, Globerson A, McLeod J, Caruso C, Franceschi C, Fülöp T, Gupta S, Mariani E, Mocchegiani E, Solana R. (2002) “T cells and Aging” January 2002 Update. Front. Biosci, 7:d1056-183
3) R. J. Forsey, A. L. Brown, M. Prach, J.Thompson, J.A. Gracie, M. Bertrand, K. Schulz, J. R. Powell: Identifiaction of natural PPARg agonists. Inflammation Research 50 suppl 3 S192 (2001)
4) Heng-long Hu, R J Forsey, Tony J. Blades, Mike E. J. Barratt, Preyesh Parmar, Jonathan R. Powell. Antioxidants may contribute in the fight against ageing : an in vitro model. (2000) Mechanism of Ageing and Development 121: 217-230.
5) Gracie JA, Forsey RJ, Chan WL, et al. A proinflammatory role for IL-18 in rheumatoid arthritis. (1999) J. Clin Inest.104: (10) 1393-1401 NOV