The basic fundamental and applied research activities in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine and Nutrigenomics with Laboratory of Nutrigenomics, Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals are in the field of nutrigenomics, functional foods and metabolic adaptation. The large number of national and international research projects and long-standing cooperations with leading research groups in the field of nutrigenomics contribute to the high level of research and trainings of PhD students. Modern methods of biochemistry, molecular biology and cytology are applied in all research projects.
Since the separation of the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine and Nutrigenomics in 2007, seven PhD theses and one Doctor of Sciences thesis are defended. Four procedures for habilitation of professors in biochemistry are successfully completed.
Basic research fields:
- Effect of certain foods and/or diets on biochemical and molecular markers, and the role of genetic factors that determine the individual response to food and medicines.
- Relationships between genetic and non-genetic factors on the development of some socially significant diseases, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and others.
2. Foods and natural products as potential sources for the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries:
- Selection and screening of natural products, including Bulgarian medicinal plants, for biological activities; implementation of in vitro and in vivo methods to study the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-diabetic and other activities for the prevention and treatment of diseases, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and others, as well as for the production of foods and medications.
- Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the biologically active substances content, cytotoxicity assays, studies on molecular mechanisms of biological action in in vitro experiments, including cell cultures and in vivo models with experimental animals.
- Human intervention studies with healthy volunteers and those with compromised health status.
3. New "non-classical" functions of fat-soluble vitamins for optimal health:
- Studies in this field are provoked by the fact that besides the well-known classical roles of fat soluble vitamins D and K in the regulation of calcium homeostasis and hemostasis, respectively, their role in preventing and slowing the course of a number of chronic and socially significant diseases is a subject of exploration in recent years. The main objective of these studies is to optimise the algorithm of prophylaxis, diagnosis and therapy through supplementation with vitamins to the main treatment of chronic diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, chronic renal disease, hepatitis C virus infection, prostate cancer and others.
- Bioavailability determinations of fat-soluble vitamins and their bioactive metabolites aiming to define the vitamin status in humans.
- Human intervention studies with monitoring of bioavailability of fat-soluble vitamins in healthy individuals and in patients at risk.
- Molecular mechanisms of involvement of fat-soluble vitamins in the pathogenesis of metabolic, neoplastic and other diseases.
- "Antioxidant activity of Bulgarian medicinal plants and related biological effects", Doctor of Biological Sciences Thesis, author Diana Ivanova, 2013
- "Identification of biomarkers for the evaluation of the phenotypic flexibility with applications in nutritional sciences", PhD thesis, author Neshe Nazifova-Tasinova, 2015, Supervisor Assoc. Prof. Yoana Kisselova-Kaneva, PhD
- "Study of the metabolic effects of aqueous-alcoholic extracts of woods with traditional use in Bulgaria", PhD thesis, author Milena Gincheva Pasheva, 2015, Supervisors: Prof. Diana Ivanova DSciBiol, Assoc. Prof. Milka Nashar, PhD
- "Study of the antioxidant, antiobese and antidiabetic activities of extracts from Sambucus ebulus fruits in vitro and in vivo", PhD thesis, author Oskan Bahidinov Tasinov, 2015, Supervisor Prof. Diana Ivanova, DSciBiol
- "Study of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects of extracts from Cotinus coggygria in experimental models with animals and cell cultures", PhD thesis, author Danail Vasilev Pavlov, 2015, Supervisors: Prof. Diana Ivanova, DSciBiol, Prof. Stefka Kuzmanova, DSciMed
- "Study of the role of genetic factors and lifestyle for the expression of obesity and metabolic syndrome in a sample of the Bulgarian population", PhD thesis, author Deyana Vankova, 2015, Supervisor Prof. Diana Ivanova, DSciBiol
- "Study of the molecular effects of inhibition of C1q in patients with lupus nephritis", PhD thesis, author Maria Radanova, 2011, Supervisors: Prof. Diana Ivanova, DSciBiol, Prof. Valentin Ikonomov, DSciMed, Scientific consultant: Assoc. Prof. Boryana Deliiska, DSciMed
- "Study of the antioxidant activity of Bulgarian medicinal plants," PhD thesis, author Yoana Kiselova-Kaneva, 2011, Supervisors: Assoc. Prof. Tatyana Yankova, Prof. Diana Ivanova, DSciBiol, Scientific consultant: Prof. Mihaela Mirela Bratu
- "Oxidative stress in experimental acute ulcerogenesis. Influence of paracetamol and propacetamol" PhD Thesis, author Bistra Tsaneva Galunska-Kaltcheva, 2003, Supervisors: Prof. Anna Belcheva, DSciMed, Assoc. Prof. Tatyana Yankova
Printed Monographs in Bulgarian
"Biological effects of the oxidative stress and medicinal plants as a tool for protection" author Yoana Kisselova-Kaneva, 2013, Antida Publ., 120 p. ISBN 978-619-90019-4-3
"Medicinal plants in the fight against diabetes - scientific foundations of the Bulgarian tradition" author Milka Nashar, 2015, Antida Publ. 123 p. ISBN 978-619-7137-62-0
"Genetic variants associated with systemic lupus erythematodes and lupus nephritis" author Maria Radanova, 2016. Varna Medical University Press, 123 p. ISBN 978-619-7137-81-1.
Participation in research projects
For the period of 2007 to 2016 the academic staff of the department carried research within 12 scientific projects:
- "Application of new technologies and methods in nutrition research – the example of phenotypic flexibility - NutriTech", funded by the 7FP of EC (2012-1016)
- "Creation of infrastructure for controlled concentration of biologically active substances from natural products", funded by the Medical Science Fund of Varna Medical University (2015-2016)
- "Pharmacological modulation of vitamin K dependent protein osteocalcin in rats with metabolic syndrome - metabolic and behavioral aspects", funded by the Medical Science Fund of Varna Medical University (2015-2016)
- "Correlations between vitamin D and androgens in benignant and malignant diseases of the prostate", funded by the Medical Science Fund of Varna Medical University (2016-2017)
- "Study of the therapeutic potential of black mulberry wood as a resource for the pharmaceutical industry", funded by the Medical Science Fund of Varna Medical University (2015-2016)
- "Study of the effects of aqueous extract of leaves and aqueous-alcoholic extract of wood from the smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria) in experimental models of liver toxicity, gastric ulcerogenesis and inflammation in rats", funded by the Medical Science Fund of Varna Medical University (2012-2013)
- "Relationship of mutations and polymorphisms in genes C1q components of the complement system with systemic lupus erythematosus", funded by the Science Fund of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, bilateral programme "Rila-4" (2009-2010)
- "Study of the relationship between the presence of certain polymorphisms in FTO, ADIPOQ and ADIPOR2 genes and risk of the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome in a representative sample of the Bulgarian population", funded by the Medical Science Fund of Varna Medical University (2009-2010)
- "Study of the protective effect and evaluation of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antihyperlipemic effect of plant extracts rich in polyphenols as a potential resource for nutraceuticals in experimental model of metabolic syndrome", funded by the Medical Science Fund of Varna Medical University (2009-2010)
- „Adipose Tissue: A Key Target for Prevention of the Metabolic Syndrome", funded by the COST program of the European Commission (2007-2011)
- "In Form - Campaign against obesity in children and adolescents", funded by the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers at the European Commission (2008-2011)
- "Study of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic activity of Bulgarian medicinal plants as a potential source for nutraceuticals", funded by the Science Fund of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science (2007-2010).