SOLAR-protect: can tomato extracts protect skin from aging?


The prospects are very bright for the use of plant extracts to protect against skin diseases such as UV light-mediated skin aging. Plants extracts are widely used in the cosmetics industry as a source of biologically active, natural products and include stilbenes, such as resveratrol (found in red wine), which have protective effects against factors known to alter the course of healthy skin aging, including ultraviolet radiation-mediated oxidative stress.

This is an exciting, inter-disciplinary project, where the protective effects of extracts of tomatoes engineered to produce very high levels of pterostilbenes and certain vitamins, developed by our industrial partner, Persephone Bio, will be tested for protective effects in skin aging models, which the student will develop in conjunction with the Primary Supervisor’s Norwich Skin Platform ( Effects will be assessed by analysis of skin protein expression/distribution as a consequence of inflammation and oxidative stress. A key aspect of this studentship will be the use of Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) to explore physiological read-outs with training received from Co-Supervisor Dr Fraser MacMillan (School of Chemistry, UEA) who leads a state-of-the-art EPR facility ( The student will also be trained in several techniques including human explant culture, immunocytochemical staining and proteomics.

This is a BBSRC CASE studentship in co-operation with Persephone Bio to investigate formulations using tomato extracts for applications in skin care products.

The student will be based at the School of Biological Sciences UEA, located on the Norwich Research Park which offers excellent research facilities and provides a centre of excellence for postgraduate training. The student will undertake a secondment to locally based Persephone Bio to develop novel formulations of tomato extracts and to learn about the product pipe-line taking basic research to application.

Informal enquiries welcome to Jelena Gavrilovic