Dr Ioannis Zabetakis has studied for his BSc in Chemistry in the Univ. of Athens and in 1993 he moved to UK where he spent 8 years; he studied for a PhD in Food Science in the Univ. of Leeds, did postdoctoral research on alkaloids in the Univ. of Durham and worked as a Lecturer in Food Chemistry in the Univ. of Leeds. During his lectureship in Leeds (1998-2001), he also studied for a M.Ed. in Food Chemistry. From 2003 to 2015, he worked in the laboratory of Food Chemistry in the Univ. of Athens. Ioannis joined the University of Limerick (UL) in 2015 as Lecturer on Food Lipids and in 2020 he was promoted to Associate Professor.

He served as the Head of the Department of Biological Sciences in UL for five years (2018-2023).

He is also involved in consulting and auditing (as a Lead Auditor) food industries. As a hobby, he likes to write articles on food safety in specialised food sector magazines and newspapers.

He has a daily column on cibum.gr

The focus of his team is towards the development of functional foods and nutraceuticals against inflammation.

Ioannis has been the co-author of 6 books on food sciences (HACCP, food chemistry, food technology, crisis management and food legislation) in Greek, has edited a book on marine oils in 2015 and has published > 110 peer-reviewed articles (Scopus h-index 34). He is also a co-inventor of two patents.

With his team in UL they have published:

At UL, Ioannis is a member of:

  1. Bernal Institute and
  2. HRI.



He teaches in the UG programme LM068 “Food Science and Health” and PG “MSc in Functional Foods and Product Development).


Research interests

The research focus of his group is in three interrelated areas:

1.    Polar lipids and human health

2.    Food security

3.    Emerging hazards in water and food and how they are linked to inflammation


In the 1st area, the group is interested in isolating and identifying functional polar lipids of food origin that have strong anti-inflammatory activities, i.e. the potential to stop the onset of inflammation and thus the development of CardioVascular Diseases (CVDs). These lipids can be further exploited in various ways, ranging from developing novel health claims (according to EFSA EU guidelines) for foods till producing novel neutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. (Lordan and Zabetakis 2017; Megalemou et al. 2017; Sioriki et al. 2016)

In the 2nd area, the group works with Fish feeds and animal feeds.
For fish feeds, we study ways how to increase food security by decreasing our dependency on fish oil (FO). The sustainability of FO is a threat for aquaculture and there is a worldwide search for alternative sources of lipids that can used in fish feeds.

For animal feeds, they evaluate different ways of how to exploit by products of olive industry, brewing and distilling processes and use these by-products to enrich fish feeds. Our ultimate scope is to develop sustainable manufacturing processes of novel animal and  fish feeds and also final products (fish; pig; chicken etc) with improved cardioprotective properties.  (Nasopoulou et al. 2014) (Nasopoulou et al 2018 / Patents)

In the 3rd area, the interest is in studying the effect of anthropogenic pollution on food chain and how these pollutants (focusing to Cr and Ni) can be uptaken by food tubers. They are now investigating the role of these heavy metals in (promoting) inflammation and thus their link to the onset of a plethora of inflammation-triggered diseases. (Stasinos et al. 2014; Stoikou et al. 2017).


Research profiles and recent research publications


  1. Scopus profile
  2. Orcid profile
  3. Publons profile
  4. Encyclopedia


Recent research publications

  1. Tsoupras A, Zabetakis I (2020) Comment on “optimal nutritional status for a well-functioning immune system is an important factor to protect against viral inections”. Nutrients 12 2321.
  2. Zabetakis I, Lordan R, Norton C, Tsoupras A (2020) COVID-19: the inflammation link and the role of nutrition in potential mitigation. Nutrients 12 1466.
  3. Tsoupras A, Lordan R, Zabetakis I (2020) Thrombosis and COVID-19: the potential role of nutrition. Front Nutr 25.9.20
  4. Tsoupras A, Lordan R, O’Keefe E, Shiels K, Kumas Saha S, Zabetakis I (2020) Structural elucidation of Irish ale bioactive polar lipids with antithrombotic properties. Biomolecules 10 1075.
  5. Lordan R, Vidal N, Huong Pham T, Tsoupras A, Thomas RH, Zabetakis I (2020) Yoghurt fermentation alters the composition and antiplatelet properties of milk polar lipids. Food Chem 332 127384.      
  6.  Harishkumar R, Hans S, Stanton JE, Grabrucker AM, Lordan R, Zabetakis I (2022) Targeting the Platelet-Activating Factor Receptor (PAF-R): antithrombotic and anti-atherosclerotic nutrients. Nutrients 14(20) https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14204414
  7. Caffrey C, Leamy A, O’Sullivan, Zabetakis I, Lordan R, Nasopoulou C (2023) Cardiovascular diseases and marine oils: a focus on omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and polar lipids. Marine Drugs 21(11) 549 https://doi.org/10.3390/md21110549                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Contact details ioannis.zabetakis@ul.ie ; funfood16@gmail.com ; @yanzabet ; https://www.linkedin.com/in/ioannis-zabetakis-3a6a3816a/