Functional Foods Research Group (FFRG)

Institute for Resilient Regions, University of Southern Queensland

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Display of a range of functional foods

The Functional Foods Research Group (FFRG) focuses on development of functional foods as treatments to reverse chronic inflammatory diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, fatty liver, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and kidney damage. FFRG's major focus has been on rats fed a high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet to mimic human obesity to investigate whether the abdominal fat decreases, the increased blood pressure is normalised, the heart and liver structure and function return to normal, and blood glucose concentrations return to normal. Dietary interventions include Queen Garnet plums, purple carrots, chia seeds, ellagitannins, cardamom and seaweeds. Translation of these results is an important aspect. FFRG is now moving towards human intervention trials with functional foods. FFRG is continuing to identify potential functional foods for human intervention trials in inflammatory and metabolic diseases.


Key science sectors

Strengths and capabilities

  • Functional foods testing
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Diet-induced obesity in rats
  • Adjuvant-induced arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease in rats
  • Rat models of human disease
  • Translational studies in humans
  • Functional foods for elderly

Facilities and major equipment

  • Measurement of physiological, cardiovascular and metabolic parameters
  • Animal house facility
  • Dual energy X-ray absorptiometer
  • Histopathology

Number of research staff

Upto 20 research staff


Building Q, University of Southern Queensland, West Street, Toowoomba, 4350

Lead researchers

  • Professor Lindsay Brown—Fellow of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Science
  • Dr Sunil Panchal—Functional foods as potential therapeutic options for metabolic syndrome. Advance Queensland Early Career Researcher Fellowship 2016-2019

Achievements of the centre

  • ERA rating of 5 in 1115 Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Major stories segments on Australian Broadcast Corporation "Landline" and "Catalyst"
  • Collaborative projects with Professor Peter Jones, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nitraceuticals, Winnipeg, Canada

Organisation type

  • University Research Centre

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