Prof Dr R.P. Mensink
Ronald Mensink is member of the research group Physiology of Human Nutrition (PHuN group) at the Department of Nutrition and Movement Sciences.
His primary research interests are the relationships between nutritive and nonnutritive components in the diet with chronic metabolic stress, in particularly related to cardiovascular disease. For this, dietary intervention studies are carried out with human volunteers. Studies are designed not only to look at physiological and functional effects, but also to unravel the biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying these effects. Knowledge obtained from studies under ‘normal’ conditions is applied to study and understand metabolic disturbances involved in etiology of cardiovascular disease. Using non-invasive (imaging) techniques, a strong focus is on components that affect peripheral vascular function and lipid metabolism. Whenever possible, other aspects of chronic metabolic stress (e.g. HDL-functionality, insulin-sensitivity, blood pressure) are studied, in collaboration with other researchers. In recent projects, cerebrovascular function as related to cognitive performance plays a central role. The ultimate aim of the studies is to provide evidence-based information supporting the development of foods, dietary guidelines or health claims.
Dr. Mensink has made key contributions to understand the effects of dietary fats on the serum lipoprotein profile, an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease. These series of studies clearly showed that not the total amount of fat, but the fatty-acid composition of the diet, determines cardiovascular risk. In particular the finding that trans fatty acids have a detrimental effect on the serum lipoprotein profile has led worldwide to a revision of dietary guidelines and a reformulation of industrial fats to keep the intake of trans fatty acids as low as possible.
Human intervention studies
Professional career history
1999- : Professor in Molecular Nutrition (with special emphasis on lipid metabolism), Maastricht University
1998-1999: Associate professor in Molecular Nutrition, Maastricht University
1996-1998: Assistant professor, Maastricht University
1991-1996: Fellow of the Dutch Academy of Science (KNAW), Maastricht University
1990-1991: Postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University
1985-1990: PhD-student, Wageningen University
Training / Education
2005: Registered Nutritionist
1993: “Artikel 9 functionaris” for studies with laboratory animals. This certificate is comparable to the category C recommendations of the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA)
1992: Registered epidemiologist
1992: MSc in Epidemiology
1990: PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University. Thesis: " Effects of monounsaturated fatty acids on high-density and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and blood pressure in healthy men and women"(Promotores: Prof. Dr. J.G.A.J. Hautvast, Prof. Dr. M.B. Katan)
1985: MSc in Human Nutrition, Wageningen University. Major subject: Human Nutrition. Minor subjects: Epidemiology, statistics