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Farzad Amirabdollahian

Farzad Amirabdollahian 130x180I was born and grew up in Iran. I started a BSc in nutrition at Azad University, and became fascinated by the role of zinc in human nutrition and health, particularly because zinc deficiency at the time was (and still is) a common nutrient deficiency in Iran. A group of us founded a zinc research group. We completed a number of reviews on functions of zinc in human nutrition and health and presented our findings at a symposium in 1999.

For my military service, I worked as an officer in preventive medicine in the Iranian air force, helping to improve food safety and security, prevent communicable diseases, and enhance the overall health of my units. Upon completing my service, I co-established a research institute called Food and Treatment.

I then spent a year working as an English teacher and simultaneously prepared to migrate to the UK to conduct postgraduate research. I moved to London in 2003 and started my PhD on zinc adequacy and requirements at the department of health and life sciences at London Metropolitan University. My research highlighted that the current UK zinc dietary reference values are not based on the latest knowledge of the physiological zinc requirements, or on up-to-date estimates of zinc absorption. My study revised the current UK zinc values, and investigated the adequacy of zinc intake in UK children, adolescents, adults and the elderly population based on both the current and the revised zinc values. My findings indicated that a large proportion of some subgroups of the UK population (such as young people aged 15-18 years and elderly people aged over 75 years) have inadequate zinc intake.

After gaining my PhD I briefly worked for the University of Hertfordshire, and then took a full time lecturing post at the department of physiotherapy and dietetics at Coventry University. I joined the department of health sciences at Liverpool Hope University in September 2011. I am currently leading an undergraduate module on contemporary issues in human nutrition and a postgraduate module on applied research in health exercise and nutrition.

My publications and presentations so far are mostly focused on estimating dietary zinc requirement and adequacy of the populations, as well as energy expenditure and the diet, and health and ways of life of university students. Working as a public health nutritionist within the community and also as a research supervisor, assistant or collaborator on several research projects, together with my teaching and administration responsibilities, have helped me to comprehend and appreciate what public health nutrition is about.