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Home » Future of Healthcare » Food, nutrition and physical activity innovations keep us healthy

What we eat and how we exercise can significantly improve the quality of live and longevity. At Munster Technological University (MTU) scientists are developing novel products, therapeutics, policies and interventions for healthier lives for everyone. This work aligns with Ireland’s Primary Care Strategy for a more cost-effective health service with enhanced promotion of preventative health, screening for disease, diagnosis and treatment, in a socially inclusive manner.

Discover, design, deliver

Professor Aidan Coffey

Senior Lecturer/PI BioExplore, Munster Technological University

BioExplore, a life science research centre in MTU’s Bishopstown Campus in Cork, aims to improve detection and management of infectious agents in the medical, veterinary and agricultural sectors. The research centre monitors the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in clinical and healthcare settings. They have established strong collaborative links with industry and academic partners, both nationally and internationally. The centre’s research is funded by the Irish State, the EU, Industry and philanthropy.

BioExplore scientists have published more than 500 high impact peer-reviewed papers and given keynote presentations at international conferences. Much of the research leads to patents, licences and clinical interventions. One aspect of the research is on antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria. Campylobacter, associated with poultry, can lead to human illness with an economic burden of €2.4 billion annually in the EU. BioExplore researchers in collaboration with Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and University College Dublin aim to reduce this burden through enhanced farm biosecurity, processing prerequisites and HACCP based interventions.

Nutrition research and innovation

Dr Aoife McCarthy

Senior Lecturer/PI NutRI, Munster Technological University

NutRI research group at MTU Bishopstown Campus has expertise in nutrition science, agriculture, biomedical science and microbiology. This multidisciplinary group collaborates on food innovations, food microbiology and public health nutrition. The research group engages with local, national and international industry and experts in computer and exercise science to deliver innovative solutions to global challenges in food, nutrition and health. 

People are living longer. NutRI scientists are working to ensure our older life years are spent in good health through reformulating existing foods, developing new food products, designing interventions to support wellbeing and optimising health throughout life. Recent evidence from NutRI suggests that the diet of older Irish adults is poor and associations with frailty exist. Scientists at the research group have now designed a frailty intervention in collaboration with the Health Service Executive (HSE). Meanwhile, Project OptimA in collaboration with Kerry Group and Teagasc Moorepark aims to design novel plant protein products for older adults to optimise quality of life as we age.

No one left behind

Catherine Carty

UNESCO Chair Manager, Munster Technological University

UNESCO Chair is based in MTU’s Kerry Sports Academy in Tralee and works collaboratively with research, education, health and human rights partners for sustainable development. The Chair advances social inclusion and wellbeing of marginalised groups globally using physical activity and sport, which are recognised enablers of optimal health, wellbeing and social inclusion.

The OECD predicts that healthcare will be unaffordable by 2050 and calls for a new healthcare vision, where people are empowered to optimise their own health. The Chair advocates for the role of physical activity and sport for positive wellbeing outcomes for all.

The Chair worked with the World Health Organisation to produce the 2020 Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour. The key message #EveryMoveCounts is critical for people with disabilities and enduring mental illness. The Chair, HEx-Spo and NIMBUS centres are currently working with HSE Cork mental health team and service users to promote physical activity, nutrition and digital technology, as facilitators of better outcomes for people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The research takes a human rights-based approach, advocated globally by the UN and embraced here in Ireland by the Mental Health Commission.

“Future healthcare and healthcare research will be more person-centred. In MTU, our multi-disciplinary approach to supporting healthcare transformation is underpinned by our community-engaged, practice-led research, that will assure the continued relevance of the knowledge and skills of our future graduates as well as the outputs from collaborative research.”


Professor Maggie Cusack

President, MTU
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