Brain Health

Nutrition & Brain Health: Group Head: Gene Bowman, N.D, M.P.H. Contact
Neurobiology: Group Head: Pascal Steiner, Ph.D. Contact


Nutrition & Brain Health

Group Head: Gene Bowman, N.D, M.P.H. Contact

One-half of the population aged 60 and older have a primary concern related to “loosing mental health” and cognitive decline. However, clear evidence-based options for the promotion of brain health across the lifespan are mostly unknown.

The mission of our group is to generate an archive of scientific knowledge that ultimately empowers an individual to improve and sustain brain health through nutrition. Our approach includes both basic and applied research models that delivers deep and systematic understanding of how nutrition, metabolism and dementia interrelate. We gain molecular, physiological and clinical insights from methods spanning from molecular epidemiology (cultured neurons, full-scale omics and dietary biomarkers) to measures in behavioral neurosciences (neuropsyhometrics, neuroimaging and brain pathology).

This research enables our development of nutritional concepts that are well suited for translation together with our Nestlé business partners.

Key Goals

  • Build a platform for individualized nutritional therapies that promote brain health.
  • Implement clinical trials for prevention of age-related cognitive decline.
  • Focus on areas of interest, including Alzheimer disease and other neurological/psychiatric disorders.


Key Publications of the Group*

Popp J, Oikonomidi A, Tautvydaitė D, Dayon L, Bacher M, Migliavacca E, Henry H, Kirkland R, Severin I, Wojcik J, Bowman GL. Markers of neuroinflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease pathology in older adults. Brain Behav Immun. (2017).

Vauzour D, Robles MC, Miquel-Kergoat S, Andres-Lacueva C, Bánáti D, Barberger-Gateau P, Bowman GL et al. Nutrition for the ageing brain: towards evidence for an optimal diet. Ageing Res Rev. 2016).

Bowman GL, Dodge H, Mattek N, Barbey AK, Silbert LC, Shinto L, Howieson D, Kaye J and Quinn J. Plasma omega 3 PUFA and white matter mediated executive decline in older adults. Front. Aging Neurosci.(2013).

Bowman GL, Silbert LS, Howieson D, Dodge HH, Traber MG, Frei B, Kaye JA, Shannon J, Quinn JF. Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function and MRI measures of brain aging. Neurology (2012).

Bowman GL, Shannon J, Ho E, Traber MG, Frei B, Oken BS, Kaye JA, Quinn JF. Reliability and validity of food frequency questionnaire and nutrient biomarkers in elders with and without mild cognitive impairment. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. (2011).

Bowman GL, Dodge H, Calabrese C, Oken BS, Frei B, Kaye JA, Quinn JF. Ascorbic acid and rates of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (2009).

*Some of these publications were done before the scientist/s joined the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences



Group Head: Pascal Steiner, Ph.D. Contact

Our mission is to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying brain function in order to identify novel nutritional strategies for improving cognitive health.

Key Goals

  • Develop in vitro cellular models of the human brain using iPSC technology.
  • Understand how nutrition affects brain energy metabolism.
  • Identify disease-modifying natural bioactives to improve brain aging.
  • Investigate the relationship between the gut microbiome and the brain.
  • Use innovative technology to accelerate disease diagnostics.
  • Validate nutritional approaches for treating epilepsy.


Recent Publications of the Group:

Wang D, Mitchell ES (2016) Cognition and Synaptic-Plasticity Related Changes in Aged Rats Supplemented with 8- and 10-Carbon Medium Chain Triglycerides. PLoS One. 11(8):e0160159

Maher M, Pooler AM, Kaput J, Kussmann M (2016) A systems approach to personalised nutrition: Report on the Keystone Symposium "Human Nutrition, Environment and Health. Appl Transl Genom. 10:16-8.

Mitchell ES, Conus N, Kaput J (2015) B vitamin polymorphisms and behavior: evidence of associations with neurodevelopment, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and cognitive decline. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 47:307-20.