Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition (IBCHN) exists to understand the brain, and discover the causes of developmental disorders for prevention of them, which sentence a child to a lifetime of physical and mental limitations.

Meet the team

Professor Michael Crawford

Professor Michael Crawford

Director: Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition.

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Dr Manahel Thabet

Dr Manahel Thabet, PhD
Deputy Director

Deputy Director: Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition.

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Dr. Yiqun Wang, MPhil, PhD.
Director of Research

Chief Biochemist, Institute of Brain Chemistry & Human Nutrition, UK;  Senior Researcher, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK

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Professor Cedric Hassall DSc, FRS;
Dr Robert E. Lister PhD, FIBiol;
Lord Rea of Eskdale MD, DCH, FRCGP;
Sir Kenneth Stuart, MD, FRCP, FRCPE, FACP, FFPM;


Raymond Keene OBE: Director of the Governing Council. (left)
R.E. Lister PhD, FIBiol.
The Rev Paul Nicholson.
Simon H House.

Organisations that have supported our research endeavours include:

Vifor Pharma; Efamol Ltd/Wassen International; Kitchener Fund; European Commission – Marie Curie Actions (Contract No. 29914) ; Down’s Syndrome Research Foundation ; Prisoners of Conscience ; The Foyle Foundation ; Equazen Ltd. ; Letten Foundation ; Food Standards Agency ; The Henry Lester Trust Limited ; The AOCS Foundation American Oil Chemists Society ; EU Research Promotion Foundation ; The Henry Smith Trust ; Diabetes UK ; Kellogg’s Co. ; Laing Trust; March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation ; Martek Biosciences ; Milupa Plc. ; Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) ; MRC UK, NATO ; Nutricia ; Roche UK ; Scientific Hospital Supplies ; Shida Kanzume Co. ; Sir Halley Stewart Trust ; St Bartholomew’s & the Royal London School of Medicine Research Board ; The Christopher H. R. Reeves Charitable Trust ; The Mother and Child Foundation ; The Royal Society ; The Wellcome Trust ; The Worshipful Company of Innholders ; Wolfson Foundation ; Yews Trust.






Director: Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition.
Founder Trustee of The Mother and Child Foundation and The Little Foundation.
President: McCarrison Society. Awarded The International Prize for Modern Nutrition 1995, Hoffman la Roche Centenary Award 1996, The Danone Chair at the University of Gent for the Millennium, Gold Medal from the Government of Oman 2009, Elected to the Hall of Fame, Royal Society of Medicine 2010, Chevreul Medal 2015.

Having reported evidence that the brain required arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acid specifically, for its growth, structure and function in 1972, our work has focused first on testing the evidence, the specificity and the requirement. Attention is now directed on establishing
(i) the biological reason for the uniqueness of docosahexaenoic acid in neural signaling systems which stretched unchanged over the 500- 600 million years of evolution and
(ii) the application of this knowledge to the prevention and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders.In the 1970s we recognized that link between dietary fats, atherosclerosis and cardio-vascular disease meant that the brain which is better protected but is dependent on specialized , essential fats would eventually be affected by the changing nutritional conditions which especially effected the dietary fats.
The prediction that “the brain would be next” was published but met with skepticism. However, it has now been vindicated as brain disorders have overtaken all other burdens of ill health. The health cost audit of the EU in 2005 put it at €386 billion at 2004 prices for the then 25 member states. In the UK the cost was assessed at £77 billion for 2007.
The recent update by the Dr Jo Nurse for the DoH came out at £105 billion. This cost is greater than heart disease and cancer combined.The change in disease profile cannot be due to a change in the genome in such a short time. Moreover the nutritional conditions are unlikely to neither change the DNA nor change the proteins. However, the cell membrane lipids house at least one third of known cellular proteins. These are the receptors, transporters, anti-oxidant systems and signalers and hence a change in the physical chemistry of their domains will influence proteinl function. In addition, specific essential fatty acids act as ligands for nuclear receptors and manipulate gene expression.
Thus altering the membrane lipids and the dolmans around the membrane proteins alters cell function. There is good evidence that the rise in brain disorders is linked to the changing dietary conditions, which is clearly a matter of serious concern. This is especially so as the Global Forum for Health is predicting that the rise in mental ill-health will also affect developing countriesThe background will be available on the web site of the Food and Agricultural Organization in their summary of the report of an expert consultation jointly with WHO tilted “Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition, FAO nutrition paper no 91 (ISNN 0254 – 4725).

Stark AH, Reifen R, Crawford MA, 2015, Past and Present Insights on Alpha Linolenic Acid and the Omega-3 Fatty Acid Family.
Bueno AA, Brand A, Neville MM, et al., 2015, Erythrocyte phospholipid molecular species and fatty acids of Down syndrome children compared with non-affected siblings, British Journal of Nutrition, Vol:113, ISSN:0007-1145, Pages:72-81

Crawford MA, Broadhurst CL, Guest M, et al., 2014, A quantum theory for the irreplaceable role of docosahexaenoic acid in neural cell signalling throughout evolution (vol 88, pg 5, 2013), Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, Vol:91, ISSN:0952-3278, Pages:233-233

Cunnane SC, Crawford MA, 2014, Energetic and nutritional constraints on infant brain development: Implications for brain expansion during human evolution, Journal of Human Evolution, Vol:77, ISSN:0047-2484, Pages:88-98

Brenna JT, Burdge GC, Crawford MA, et al., 2014, RE: Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial, Jnci-journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol:106, ISSN:0027-8874

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Vice President of the Mother and Child Foundation, representing the Gifted Child and Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition

Dr. Manahel Thabet was ranked among the 30 smartest people alive by superscholar and won the AVICENNA award, as a successor to Professor Tony Buzan, given every year to those who present best practice in science, connecting East with West through science and knowledge. She also represents The Brain Trust Foundation as President of the MENA region, with one objective, which is to unlock and deploy the vast capacity of the human brain creative power.

She is a triple PhD holder; Youngest winner of Woman of the Year 2000 from Woman Federation for World Peace. In 2013 Dr. Thabet won Genius of the Year by the World Genius Directory representing ASIA. In 2015 she was awarded Brain of the year by the Brain Trust Initiatives.

She is the President of WIQF (World IQ Foundation), the High IQ society and Vice President of ‘WIN’ (World Intelligence Network), a platform for more than 58,000 high IQ members from all over the world; in 2012 Dr. Thabet was the Chairperson of the Scientific Committee, Recommendation Committee and Senior Advisor to the International Asia Pacific Giftedness Conference held in Dubai – UAE hosted by Hamdan Bin Rashid Awards for Distinguished Academic Performance. The conference hosted specialists from 42 countries, 320 papers and more than 2000 participants in the field of Talent and Gifted Education.

Dr. Thabet Obtained the “Excellence of Global International Environmental and Humanitarian Award” given for outstanding efforts in undertaking environmental and humanitarian support. Dr. Thabet is also the winner of Middle East Achievement Awards in Science and was ranked among the 100 most powerful Women in the Middle East and most powerful 500 Arabs in the World by Arabian Business. Dr. Thabet is a Royal Grand Cross Officer of the White Swan Companionate. Dr. Thabet is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in London, UK.

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Chief Biochemist, Institute of Brain Chemistry & Human Nutrition, UK;  Senior Researcher, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK (2012-);  Senior Professor of lipids Chemistry & Technology, Xi’an Research Institute of Oils & Fats, China (1997-);  Advisor, TC34/SC4 Committee, ISO (2006-); Advisor, Academy of State Administration of Grain, China (2011-);   Advisor, China Quality Control Centre for Grains and Oils (2002-); Advisor, COFCO R&D Centre for Cereals and Oils, China (2002-); Director,  Department of Lipid Chemistry,  former National Research Institute of Oils & Fats, China (1987-1998);  Visiting Professor, Agricultural University of Northwest, China (1997-2000); Director, The Board of Directors, Chinese Cereals and Oils Association (1999-2004); Invited in Who’s Who in the World of Cereal Science and Technology by International Association for Cereal Science and Technology, Vienna, Austria (1994); Visiting Professor, University of Aarhus, Denmark (1998-1999). Senior Visiting Researcher, Texas A&M University, USA (1996-1997). Royal Research Fellow, Royal Fellowship of the Royal Society, Reading University, UK (1989-1990).

Research and development at: 1. Lipid biochemistry, nutrition and lipidomics;  2. Lipid chemistry and food chemistry;  3. Lipid technology and engineering.

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