Well-being and Health Assessment Research Unit


WARU - Rolling Recruitment for Studies

We're always looking for new participants to take part in our upcoming studies. If you are over 18 and would like to get involved please register here.


  • All medical conditions accepted
  • All ages 18+ required
  • All dietary requirements considered
  • Be part of cutting-edge research, valuable pilot studies and food intervention trials
  • Participation is entirely voluntary, and you are free to withdraw at any stage without explanation

All information provided is strictly confidential and complies with GDPR legislation.

What's In It For you?
• Incentives vary from study to study.
• All studies provide a free body composition analysis.
• Expert guidance throughout the studies.
• Lunch may be provided.

Diet and Health

Many of the health problems which today’s society is facing are associated with the ageing population and the increase in the prevalence of chronic medical conditions. The Dept. of Life Sciences is uniquely placed in the UK with the ability to link plant/animal breeding and chemical phenotyping of food raw materials with studies on the effect of diet and physical activity on health and disease.

Working with both animals and humans major external collaborations have been developed with clinical and veterinary centres of excellence to exploit metabolomics, genomics and bioinformatics technology to address key issues in nutrition research. We also examine the interaction of diet and physical activity in the ageing process and in the management of chronic medical conditions and how lifestyle advice can be realised in a free-living population, with a specific focus on the rural environment. To facilitate research activity the Well-being and Assessment Research Unit (WARU) was established to foster relationships with the local community and provide a facility to meet with members of the public and enable them to contribute to and engage with research activity.



To improve the health and well-being of people through research, education and engagement by:

  • Establishing valid and reliable measure of habitual dietary intake
  • Identifying key dietary and physical activity factors which are associated with health and predict injury and disease
  • Identifying factors which influence dietary change and physical activity uptake and maintenance
  • Establishing optimal physical activity patterns for physiological benefit




  • Physiology Laboratory for Health and Performance - The physiology laboratories house a wide range of equipment for monitoring responses to exercise. This includes high performance treadmills, electromagnetically-braked cycle ergometers, rowing ergometers, spirometers, online gas analysis systems with 12-lead ECG, range of anthropometric facilities include DXA scanner and an environmental chamber.
  • Movement Analysis Laboratory for Health and Performance - Biodex isokinetic dynamometer, Motion Analysis Corporation 3D camera system with 8 cameras, two moveable AMTI force plates, wireless EMG system and an overhead harness system, with integral running track.
  • High Resolution Metabolomics Laboratory - Centres on the identification and quantification of metabolites from a wide range of biological matrices. A long-term core activity has focused on the development of a dietary exposure biomarker strategy utilising human urine
  • Next-generation Sequencing and Genotyping - IBERS has made substantial recent investments in next-generation sequencing (NGS) and genotyping infrastructure, resulting in the formation of a new Translational Genomics facility based at the Gogerddan campus.


SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery, led by Dr Amanda Lloyd, is an Aberystwyth University-led Welsh government ‘Covid Recovery’ funded project that is supporting businesses in the development of innovative and ‘functional foods’ to promote recovery from the effects of the pandemic and stimulate growth through the creation of new opportunities. 

Read More about the SMART Recovery Project >>

SODIAT Project

The SODIAT project aims to use new and novel ways to assess diet, including urine and finger-prick blood samples to test for ‘biomarkers’ of food and beverage consumption, providing objective data. Wearable cameras and artificial intelligence software will help to confirm the type and amount of food eaten. Additionally, new online tools will make it easier for self-reporting.

Read More about the SODIAT Project >>


In collaboration with local GP surgeries we examine the ‘Patient Journey’ following diagnosis with prediabetes and the role of a brief educational intervention delivered through primary care. 

Read More about the WARU Pre-Diabetes project >>

Future Foods

Is an exciting programme which aims to deliver world-class expertise in food science, technology and nutrition R&D to ambitious Welsh food and drink businesses seeking to develop healthy, market-creating products.

Read More about Future Foods >>

AberInnovation Campus

Has established a team of skilled researchers and developed a unique set of advanced R&D capabilities to support innovation in the Welsh Food and Drink sector.  

Read more about Aberinnovation Campus >>

Healthy for my Baby

Preconception lifestyle intervention targeting women with overweight and their partners aiming to reduce pregnancy complications, prevent adult cardiometabolic diseases, and prevent childhood obesity. Diet through self-reported measures and urinary biomarkers as well as lifestyle and anthropometric measures will be evaluated.

Read more about the WARU Healthy for my Baby Project >>

Sensory Tasting Panel

We are looking for individuals who may be interested and able to commit to being a member of our tasting panel at the AIEC.

Read more about the WARU Sensory Tasting Panel Project >>

Stroke Rehabilitation

Interdisciplinary project leveraging methods from computer science, neuroscience, biology, human biomechanics, clinical exercise therapy and psychology, and collaborative working closely with the NHS, Welsh Government, local communities, and our industry and academic partners to studying how stroke impacts mobility and design interventions that help meaningful recovery.

Read More about the WARU Stroke Rehabilitation project >>

Short-term and longer-term effects of meat intake on metabolism in Indians

Using existing cohort resources to establish the cardio-metabolic effects of meat-based diets on metabolism in an Indian population to further inform dietary guidelines, and agricultural and environmental policies, in India.

Diet and muscle function during ageing

As part of the UK Metabolic Phenotyping Consortium (MAP/UK), the Diet and Health Research Group are focusing on analytical methodology to specifically measure protein intake, amino acid utilisation and endogenous catabolism of dietary protein. These methods would allow for high throughput screening of at-risk individuals, prior to any phenotypic presentation of muscle loss and impaired physical function. 

Read more about Diet and Muscle Function during Ageing >>

Projects Archive

Monitoring and assessment of functional ability and frailty status in older adults (FACET)

Focuses on the prevention of frailty by monitoring and improving health of older adults. It aims to increase the awareness of frailty amongst individuals and professionals and promote what people can do to prevent frailty.

Read More about the WARU FACET project >>

Monitoring Well-being and Health @ Home

Use of Digitally-linked technology to reinforce healthy behaviour.

Read More about the Monitoring Well-being and Health @ Home project >>

Covid-19 Restrictions

Do the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place affect the physical functioning of older people?

Read More about the Covid 19 Restrictions Project >>

Outdoor Spaces

Do the COVID-19 restrictions affect your use of outdoor spaces and physical activity?

Read More about the Outdoor Spaces Project >>

Principal Investigators

Principal Investigators

Picture Name Email Telephone
Dr Manfred Beckmann meb@aber.ac.uk +44 (0) 1970 622340
Prof John Draper jhd@aber.ac.uk +44 (0) 1970 622789
Dr Rhys Thatcher ryt@aber.ac.uk +44 (0) 1970 628630
Dr Federico Villagra Povina fev1@aber.ac.uk +44 (0) 1970 622108
Dr Joanne Wallace jyw@aber.ac.uk +44 (0) 1970 628681



Beckmann, M, Wilson, T, Zubair, H, Lloyd, AJ, Lyons, L, Phillips, H, Tailliart, K, Gregory, N, Thatcher, R, Garcia-Perez, I, Frost, G, Mathers, JM & Draper, J 2020, 'A Standardized Strategy for Simultaneous Quantification of Urine Metabolites to Validate Development of a Biomarker Panel Allowing Comprehensive Assessment of Dietary Exposure', Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, vol. 64, no. 20, 2000517. 10.1002/mnfr.202000517
Beckmann, M, Lloyd, AJ, Wilson, T, Torres, DPM, Goios, ACL, Willis, ND, Lyons, L, Phillips, H, Mathers, JC, Nash, RJ, Sharp, H & Draper, J 2020, 'Calystegines are Potential Urine Biomarkers for Dietary Exposure to Potato Products', Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, vol. 64, no. 20, 2000515. 10.1002/mnfr.202000515
Willis, ND, Lloyd, A, Xie, L, Stiegler, M, Tailliart, K, Garcia-Perez, I, Chambers, E, Beckmann, M, Draper, J & Mathers, JC 2020, 'Design and Characterisation of a Randomized Food Intervention That Mimics Exposure to a Typical UK Diet to Provide Urine Samples for Identification and Validation of Metabolite Biomarkers of Food Intake', Frontiers in Nutrition, vol. 7, 561010. 10.3389/fnut.2020.561010
Maruvada, P, Lampe, JW, Wishart, DS, Barupal, D, Chester, DN, Dodd, D, Djoumbou-Feunang, Y, Dorrestein, PC, Dragsted, LO, Draper, J, Duffy, LC, Dwyer, JT, Emenaker, NJ, Fiehn, O, Gerszten, RE, Hu, FB, Karp, RW, Klurfeld, DM, Laughlin, MR, Little, AR, Lynch, CJ, Moore, SC, Nicastro, HL, O'Brien, DM, Ordovás, JM, Osganian, SK, Playdon, M, Prentice, R, Raftery, D, Reisdorph, N, Roche, HM, Ross, SA, Sang, S, Scalbert, A, Srinivas, PR & Zeisel, SH 2020, 'Perspective: Dietary Biomarkers of Intake and Exposure - Exploration with Omics Approaches', Advances in Nutrition, vol. 11, no. 2, nmz075, pp. 200-215. 10.1093/advances/nmz075
Lloyd, AJ, Willis, ND, Wilson, T, Zubair, H, Chambers, E, Garcia-Perez, I, Xie, L, Tailliart, K, Beckmann, M, Mathers, JC & Draper, J 2019, 'Addressing the pitfalls when designing intervention studies to discover and validate biomarkers of habitual dietary intake', Metabolomics, vol. 15, no. 5, 72. 10.1007/s11306-019-1532-3
Lloyd, A, Willis, ND, Wilson, T, Zubair, H, Xie, L, Chambers, ES, Garcia-Perez, I, Tailliart, K, Beckmann, M, Mathers, JC & Draper, J 2019, 'Developing a food exposure and urine sampling strategy for dietary exposure biomarker validation in free-living individuals', Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, vol. 63, no. 14, 1900062. 10.1002/mnfr.201900062
Wilson, T, Garcia-Perez, I, Posma, JM, Lloyd, A, Chambers, ES, Tailliart, K, Zubair, H, Beckmann, M, Mathers, JC, Holmes, E, Frost, G & Draper, J 2019, 'Spot and Cumulative Urine Samples Are Suitable Replacements for 24-Hour Urine Collections for Objective Measures of Dietary Exposure in Adults Using Metabolite Biomarkers', Journal of Nutrition, vol. 149, no. 10, nxz138, pp. 1692-1700. 10.1093/jn/nxz138
March, DS, Jones, AW, Thatcher, R & Davison, G 2019, 'The effect of bovine colostrum supplementation on intestinal injury and circulating intestinal bacterial DNA following exercise in the heat', European Journal of Nutrition, vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 1441-1451. 10.1007/s00394-018-1670-9
Jones, AW, March, DS, Thatcher, R, Diment, B, Walsh, N & Davison, G 2019, 'The effects of bovine colostrum supplementation on in vivo immunity following prolonged exercise: A randomised controlled trial', European Journal of Nutrition, vol. 58, no. 1, pp. 335-344. 10.1007/s00394-017-1597-6
Curtis, F, Thatcher, R, Rice, S & Davison, G 2017, 'A 15-week vitamin D supplementation and indoor cycling intervention reduces exercising heart rate, with no effect on glycaemic control in healthy adults: A pilot investigation', International Journal of Exercise Science, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 274-283.

More publications on the Research Portal »