Prof. Roger Adan


Prof. Suzanne Dickson


The overarching objective of the BRAINFOOD cluster is to ultimately positively impact on brain health by improving nutrition of European citizens based upon fundamental insights in the bidirectional links between brain health and nutrition. In line with the EBRA concept, it is our mission to work together, synergistically and in a coordinated and non-fragmented manner, to specifically identify knowledge gaps and priorities in ways that can impact on the societal challenge of improving brain health through nutrition. At all levels, and where possible, gender will be taken into account.


Many of the members of our cluster are (or have been) involved in EU-funded or European-wide projects specifically dedicated to understanding the neurobiological processes linking nutrition and brain health (e.g. by metabolic, endocrine and gut microbiota signalling) and the role of genes and environment in shaping this outcome. BRAINFOOD, established in 2017 as the ECNP Nutrition Network, includes experts from academia and industry, mainly neuroscientists, nutritionists, psychiatrists, psychologists or geneticists with an interest in the impact of nutrition on mental health. We have key experts in gut-brain signaling (hormones, vagal afferents, gut microbiota, inflammatory signals), neuroendocrine regulations, metabolites/nutrients, and the neural systems involved (revealed through genetics, epidemiology, functional brain imaging, behavioural models in rodents and morphological, biochemical and molecular neuroscience tools).

BRAINFOOD aims to:

  • Stimulate the development of novel concepts that support design of foods/beverages for brain health.

  • Provide new opportunities and incentives for scientists to bridge the gap in knowledge of how nutrition impacts on brain health.

  • Stimulate the interest of funders (including industry) in supporting development of specific nutritions for target life stage groups (elderly, new-born, people at risk to develop mood (and other mental) disorders.

  • Provide an exchange platform (knowledge and know-how) on how to address key questions and foster new collaborations based on the collective expertise of our group.

  • Provide a knowledge base that can be used not only by the scientific community but also for all stakeholders that seek precise knowledge (separating fact from fiction) about the evidence base on how foods impact on brain health. These include the Food industry, Health care professionals, journalists, Public Health institutions, academia (seek funding for PhD students), policy makers and patient organizations. Social media will be exploited to develop targeted information that could reach all of the above mentioned categories, in addition to the general public (this could be achieved, e.g. by having an ad hoc twitter account that could be used as a platform to disseminate results and key messages on nutrition and health).