Contact us

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing.
Penrhyn Road
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT1 2EE

Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 9000

Dr Elizabeth Opara

School/Department: Life Sciences, Pharmacy & Chemistry
Position: Associate Professor


My interest in food and nutrition developed during my time as a postgraduate student at Oxford where my research was focussed on amino acid metabolism and its role in clinical nutrition. My research in the area of clinical nutrition continued during my time as a post doc in the States. However, mainly as a consequence of my work at the Food Science Laboratory in Norwich and at Kingston University, my research is now focussed on the biological activity of natural products including the anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties of culinary herbs and spices. I am currently a theme leader for the Sport, Exercise, Nutrition and Public Health Research Group (, and a core member of the Cancer Research Group (; both form part of the Interdisciplinary Hub for the Study of Health and Age related Conditions.
I have worked as an academic at Kingston University since 1998 and, in addition to pursuing my research interests, I am Head of Department for Applied and Human Sciences. With the pressures of teaching, administration, course development and staff and student management, running the department is challenging however my role provides me with opportunities to engage with numerous activities and initiatives at all levels.
I was an external examiner at St Mary's University College (until 2013) and at Worcester University (until 2014). I also contribute to the work of the Association for Nutrition (AfN) as an Assessor for the UK Voluntary Register for Nutritionists and as a countinuing professional development (CPD) assessor. I am also a member of the AfN's CPD working group and was a member of its Nutrition Science working group for the purposes of revising and updating the AfN's competencies for nutritional scientists.

Educational and Professional Qualifications

  • 2017 - present
  • 2000 - present Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Kingston University
  • 1993 - present D.Phil Biochemistry, Oxford University (Merton College)
  • 1989 - present BSc (Hons) First Class, Medical Biochemistry, Royal Holloway College, University of London

Research Interests

Bioactive properties of plant derived foods and medicinal plants

My research interests and expertise have lead to the successful supervision of a number of research projects:

MSc by Research: Immunology of Human Breast Milk Kom Paramasivam (2006)

Ph.D. Impact of Chinese Herbal Remedies on Tumour Biology Shaun Willimot (2007)

MSc by Research: Bioavailability of Chinese Herbal Remedies Elena Panagiotou (2007)

Ph.D. The impact of digestion and gut bioavailability, in vitro, on the polyphenolic associated activity of cooked culinary herbs Magali Chohan (2011)

MSc by Research: Inhibition of cyclo-oxygenase -2 expression and β-catenin activation in colorectal cancer cells in vitro: an investigation of the chemo-preventive action of common culinary spices Iona Baker (2013)

MSc by Research: Inhibition of cyclo-oxygenase -2 expression and β-catenin activation in colorectal cancer cells in vitro: an investigation of the chemo-preventive action of common culinary herbs Andrius Jaksevicius (2013)

Current research project:

Ph.D. Elucidation of mechanisms by which culinary herbs and spices exert the inhibitory action of the growth of colorectal cancer cells in vitro Andrius Jaksevicius

PhD projects to commence in 2016/17:

In vitro and in vivo investigations of the anti-inflammatory properties of culinary herbs when combined with non-herb foods. Charles Ojobor

Investigation of Marine Secondary metabolites isolated from Bacteria and Fungi from Mediterranean Sea Habitats (at Benghazi-Libya) for anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity Ahmed Babeker

Teaching Area

Human Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition, Food Toxicology, Food Safety, Food Biotechnology, Food Science, Biochemistry (Bioenergetics and Metabolism) and Research Methods and Skills.

Other Professional Activity

Member of Nutrition Society (since 1991)

Assessor for the UK Voluntary Register for Nutritionists (Since 2008)

External Examiner for Nutrition at St Mary's University College (2009/10 - 2012/13)

External Examiner for Nutrition at the University of Worcester (2010/11 - 2013/14)

Member of AfN Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Working Group and AfN CPD Assessor (since 2011/12)

Member of AfN Nutrition Science Working Group (2011)

Manuscript reviewer for a number of journals including:
The British Journal of Nutrition
Plant Foods for Human Nutrition
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Natural Product Research
Journal of Food Biochemistry
International Journal of Molecular Science
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Member of the editorial board for Journal of Dietetics Research and Nutrition


    +Professional Experience



020 8417 2047 ext62047