Nutrition and immuno-metabolism

Understanding the impact nutrition has on health

Lifestyle diseases such as diabetes are strongly linked to the consumption of a typical Western diet. Our work explores whether poor diets lead to disease and how a change in diet can help treat or prevent disease.

Our research in nutrition and immuno-metabolism involves:

  • food technologists exploring how to manipulate and improve food structure
  • chemists and physicists studying which dietary metabolites affect our physiology
  • microbiologists determining the impact of diet on gut health
  • immunologists investigating the impact of diet on immune function and disease development in preclinical models
  • clinicians and human nutritionists leading clinical trials.

We’re exploring affordable and safe ways to help people understand and achieve an optimum diet for good health.

A good diet is a safe and affordable way to keep us healthy, prevent disease and improve the effects of medicine – including reducing drug dosage and side effects.

Our research has lead to the creation of an interdisciplinary topic in the journal Frontiers in Immunology to identify how modern lifestyle environment and impact on health. This initiative is led by two node members (Macia and Nanan, who also leads the DOHAD node) in conjunction with an international collaborator Dr Galy.


We have developed strong interdisciplinary links between teams in nutrition, immunology, infection, gut microbiota and chemists in ANSTO. This has resulted in successful grants and funding, including:

  • an ARC linkage grant and two successful NHMRC grants
  • successful seed funding to apply for bigger schemes and ongoing application (ARC, NHMRC)
  • co-funding of post-doctoral fellow between ANSTO and USyd


Our node has seven publications so far in journals including:

  • Hu, M., Eviston, D., Hsu, P., Marino, E., Chidgey, A., Nanan, B., Wong, K., Richards, J., Yap, Y., Collier, F., Quinton, A., Joung, S., Peek, M., Benzie, R., Macia, L., Nanan, R., et al (2019). Decreased maternal serum acetate and impaired fetal thymic and regulatory T cell development in preeclampsia. Nature Communications, 10(1), 1-13.
  • Simpson, S., Raubenheimer, D., Cogger, V., Macia, L., Solon-Biet, S., Le Couteur, D., George, J. (2018). The nutritional geometry of liver disease including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Journal of Hepatology, 68(2), 316-325.


  • Dr Tamim Darwish (ANSTO)
  • Dr Marie-Claude Gregoire (ANSTO)
  • Dr Fleur Ponton (Macquarie Univesrity)

Project Node Leader

Dr Laurence Macia
Associate Professor Laurence Macia
"I am fully aligned with the Charles Perkins Centre, as I believe that an interdisciplinary institute is the key for efficient research."
Visit Laurence Macia's profile