What is your main area of research?
During the past 12 years, my reaserach activities were mainly focused on biological effects of wine and its constituents in different experimental models.
At the beginning I was oriented on in vitro studies in the small animals' isolated hearts and blood vessels. The results of these early studies provided basis for getting deeper into the field and for development of the complementary in vivo models in humans. I have been particularly interested in mechanisms of the phenomena that occur in the cardiovascular system and the plasma antioxidant capacity after consumption of wine and its derivatives. Related to that, we have been evaluating whether and to what extent, different biochemical and biological properties of wine determined in vitro can be associated with its effects following consumption in humans.
It is important to note that such broad research activities could not be possible without joint efforts of the interdisciplinary team that includes medical doctors, enologists, and food chemists and technologists.
Few years ago, in collaboration with the microbiologists and epidemiologist from our Medical School, our research was extended towards antimicrobial effects of wine. We approached that problematic from quite unique perspective, examining whether the wine preserves its biological potential, including antibacterial activity, after thermal treatment.
Namely, wine is commonly used in the kitchen as an addition in the process of food preparation and is often consumed as a warm beverage - "mulled wine". In both cases, wine is exposed to the heating in the extent that may significantly alter its physical-chemical properties, and consequently its biological effects.
Most recently we have started with the studies examining the influence of different technologies in the wine making on the biological activity of wines.
Can you describe the latest scientific results that are particularly interesting for wine connoisseurs-lovers-our readers?
Strong epidemiological evidence that moderate consumption of wine, especially during the meal, is associated with various benefits to human health, has prompted scientists worldwide in examining the underlying mechanisms of that observation. In the last decade, a large progress has been achieved in revealing molecular basis of different biological effects of wine or its constituents. Distinctive actions have been dmonstrated in practically all body tissues, so it is hard to single out a pathophysiological condition in which the greatest benefits can be expected. However, having in mind that majority of the adult population in the western countries is overweight or obese, I believe that special attention deserves the increasing scientific evidence that people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome may benefit from the moderate consumption of wine.
Why did you get involved in the Wine Information Council?
Like with other thinks in life; the more you learn about something the more you love it. Taking part in the Wine Information Council offers additional opportunities for meeting and learning from the leading authorities in the field.
I am very happy with the database portal on wine that has been developed under the WIC. It is very useful resource that is of great help in my everyday work. It provides the newest, evidence-based information that are readily available not only to the scientist but also to the public in general.
The Wine Information Council is also part of the Wine in Moderation program. My scientific and public activities are very compatible with the aims and philosophy of moderation of that program in promoting responsible drinking of wine and healthy life styles in general.