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Professor Ian Givens, from the University of Reading's School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, has been named as the BBSRC Innovator of the Year. The prize recognises Professor Givens' work on reducing the saturated fat content of milk, by changing the diet of dairy cows, making milk even healthier without reducing its overall fat content. His innovation is already on the shelves and benefitting three million milk consumers, having been taken up by Marks & Spencer for their own main brand of milk. Professor Givens was named both Social Innovator of the Year, as well as winning the overall Innovator of the Year prize, winning a total of £30,000 to support his research. Professor Givens said: "I am honored and very surprised to be named the BBSRC Innovator of the Year. Innovation is at the heart of research at Reading, and I am lucky enough to work in one of the best possible research environments of its kind. Much of my research in this area has been supported by BBSRC DRINC which is an excellent model for integrating research with industry. "Research into links between food and health is increasingly important. Obesity, heart disease and cancer are among the biggest challenges facing society today, but innovations in nutrition and food production can provide part of the answer. "I am delighted that my work is already helping millions of consumers to get even more health benefits from milk, and I am looking forward to continuing my research in this area."
My key interest is in nutrition and food chain nutrition in particular. This involves understanding the factors which affect food composition and its subsequent effects on human health. A particular focus is animal-derived foods, their effect on chronic disease and how the composition of animal-derived foods can be improved especially in relation to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Current work covers milk and dairy products and the fats they contain in relation to CVD risk with focus on both analysis of data from prospective studies and more detailed work into the mechanisms involved. Other research areas include studies on the A1 and A2 β-casein proteins in milk and the specific effect of casein on opioid receptor development in the very young. New research in its early stages includes the effects of milk proteins on blood pressure and vascular stiffness and the role of animal-derived foods as sources of dietary vitamin D.
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