Dr Catarina Rendeiro Msc, PhD

Dr Catarina Rendeiro

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences

Contact details

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Catarina Rendeiro is a biologist with a focus on molecular and behavioural neuroscience. Her research interests include understanding the mechanisms by which plant-derived compounds in diets and physical exercise can improve both peripheral vascular function and cerebrovascular brain health.


  • M.Sc. and B.Sc. Degree in Biological Engineering, 2007 , Technical University of  Lisbon, Portugal (Instituto Superior Técnico)
  • PhD, Doctor of Philosophy, 2011, University of Reading, UK


Dr Catarina Rendeiro completed her PhD at the University of Reading (UK) in collaboration with the department of Psychology and the department of  Food and Nutritional Sciences:  she investigated the molecular mechanisms underpinning improvements in hippocampus-dependent learning and memory by plant-derived dietary flavonoids.  Catarina subsequently worked as a postdoctoral research assistant in clinical research at the Hugh Sinclair Nutrition Unit (University of Reading, UK) investigating the impact of flavonoid intake on human vascular function and cardiometabolic risk factors.

Catarina then moved to the USA to take on a senior postdoctoral position at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology  at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she collaborated widely as part of the Center for Nutrition, Learning and Memory, looking at the role of micronutrients  and macronutrients (e.g. vitamin E, omega-3-fatty acids, flavonoids, sugars) on neuronal plasticity, cerebral blood perfusion and  learning  behavior in a variety of rodent models, from neonatal development through aging and chemotherapy-treated (“Chemobrain”).  During her time at the Beckman Institute, Catarina further developed an interest in understanding the mechanisms by which physical exercise impacts brain health and particularly, the hippocampus, a structure of the brain where learning takes place.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Rosie Pritchard (MSc by research,  SportexR)
  • Heulwen Gilbert (MSc in Musculoskeletal Ageing and Health Research)

Catarina welcomes postgraduate applications from self-funding UK, European, and overseas students for projects related to her research interests. If students are interested in doing a PhD and have identified a relevant scholarship, Catarina is happy work with the student on submitting a proposal. Students that are interested in doing short-term placements at the University of Birmingham to work with Catarina get in contact with her by email.


Catarina’s overall research objectives are:

  1. Establish mechanistic links between peripheral and cerebrovascular responses to dietary components, particularly plant-derived flavonoids
  2. Investigate the role of dietary flavonoids in affecting  vascular responses to physical activity and mental stress

The ultimate goal of Catarina’s research is to establish effective lifestyle strategies that include both exercise and diet to improve peripheral vascular function, cerebrovascular function and mental health across different populations and throughout the lifespan.

Research gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Catarina_Rendeiro

Other activities

Member of the sub-committee for management of the Functional Near-Infrared Resonance Spectroscopy (fNIRS) imaging system at the Center for Human Brain Health (CHBH), University of Birmingham

Professional memberships:

  • Member of The Society for Neuroscience
  • Member of The Nutrition Society
  • Member of The American Nutrition Society
  • Member of the Physiological Society 

Awards/ Outreach:

  • 1st Prize Award on the Thought for Food Challenge,a European competition sponsored by Syngenta to raise awareness of the World’s Food Challenges, 2011
  • Winner of the Postgraduate Competition for the Nutrition Society Summer Meeting, awarded by Nutrition Society, 2011
  • Winner of the Elevator Pitch on the Young Entrepreneurs Scheme - Biotechnology Yes, Oxford, 2011
  • Runner up for the Times Higher Education Awards for Research Project of the Year, 2010


Huntsman HD, Rendeiro C, Merritt JR, Pincu Y, Cobert A, De Lisio M, Kolyvas E, Dvoretskiy S, Dobrucki IT, Kemkemer R, Jensen T, Dobrucki LW, Rhodes JS, Boppart MD.(2017). The impact of mechanically stimulated muscle-derived stromal cells on aged skeletal muscle. Exp Gerontol.[Epub ahead of print].

Esteban Fernandez A, Rendeiro C, Spencer JPE, Gijorro del Oso D, González de Llano Dolores, Bartolome B; Moreno-Arribas MV. (2017). Neuroprotective effects of selected microbial-derived phenolic metabolites and aroma compounds from wine in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, and their putative mechanisms of action. Front Nutr 14; 4:3.

Rendeiro C, Dong H, Saunders C, Blaze M, Hou Y, Belanger RL, Corona G, Lovegrove JA, Spencer JPE. (2016). Flavanone-rich citrus beverages counteract the transient decline in postprandial endothelial function in humans: a randomized, controlled, double-masked, crossover intervention study. British Journal of Nutrition. 116 (12): 1999-2010.

Perez SD, Du K, Rendeiro C,Wang L,Wu Q, Rubakhin SS, Vazhappilly R, Baxter JH, Sweedler JV, Rhodes JS. (2016). A unique combination of nutrients rejuvenates cognitive performance in aged mice. Behav Brain Res. 320: 97-112.

Rendeiro C, Sheriff A, Bhattacharya TK, Gogola JV, Baxter JH, Chen H, Helferich WG, Roy EJ, Rhodes JS. (2016). Long-lasting impairments in adult neurogenesis, spatial learning and memory from a standard chemotherapy regimen used to treat breast cancer. Behav Brain Res 315: 10-22.

Dong H, Rendeiro C, Kristek A, Sargent LJ, Saunders C, Harkness L, Rowland I, Jackson KJ, Spencer JPE, Lovegrove JA. (2016). Addition of orange pomace to orange juice attenuates the increases in peak glucose and insulin concentration after sequential meal ingestion in men with elevated cardiovascular risk. J Nutr.146 (6): 1197-203. 

Rendeiro C, Rhodes JS, Spencer JPE. (2015). The mechanisms of action of flavonoids in the brain: direct versus indirect effects. Neurochem Int. 89:126-39.

Rendeiro C, Masnik AM, Mun JG, Du K, Clark D, Dilger RN, Dilger AC, Rhodes JS. (2015). Fructose decreases physical activity and increases body fat without affecting hippocampal neurogenesis and learning relative to an isocaloric glucose diet. Sci.Rep. 5: 9589.

Meireles M, Marques C, Norberto S, Fernandes I, Mateus N, Rendeiro C, Spencer JPE, Faria A, Calhau C. (2015). The impact of chronic blackberry intake on the neuroinflammatory status of rats fed a standard or high-fat diet. J Nutr Biochem. 26(11):1166-73.

RendeiroC, Foley A, Ring R, Lau V, Vauzour D, Regan C, Williams CMand Spencer JPE. (2013). A role for hippocampal PSA-NCAM and NMDA-NR2B receptor function in flavonoid-induced spatial memory improvements in young rats. Neuropharmacology. 79: 335-344.

RendeiroC, Williams CM,Vauzour D, Rattray M, Butler LT, Wafo-Téguo P, Mérillon JM, and Spencer JPE. (2013). Pure flavonoids mediate improvements in spatial memory and increases in hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). PLoS One. 28;8(5):e63535.

Rodriguez-Mateos A, Rendeiro C, Bergillos-Meca T, Tabatabaee S, George TW, Heiss C, Spencer JPE. (2013). Intake and time dependence of blueberry flavonoid-induced improvements in vascular function: a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover intervention study with mechanistic insights into biological activity. Am J Clin Nutr. 98: 1179-91.

RendeiroC, Vauzour D, Kean RJ, Ellis JA, Butler LT, Rattray M, Spencer JPE and Williams CM. (2012). Blueberry-supplementation induces spatial memory improvements and region-specific regulation of hippocampal BDNF mRNA expression in young animals. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 223(3): 319-330.

RendeiroC, Guerreiro JDT, Williams CMand Spencer JPE (2012). Flavonoids as modulators of memory and learning: molecular interactions resulting in behavioural effects. Proc Nutr Soc 71(2): 246-262.

Vauzour D, Vafeiadou K, Rendeiro C, Corona G and Spencer JPE (2010). The inhibitory effects of berry-derived flavonoids against neurodegenerative processes. Journal of Berry Research 1–8.

Rendeiro C, Spencer JP, Vauzour D, Butler LT, Ellis JA, Williams CM. (2009). The impact of flavonoids on spatial memory in rodents: from behaviour to underlying hippocampal mechanisms. Genes Nutr.   4(4): 251–270.

Spencer JPE, Vauzour D, Rendeiro C. (2009). Flavonoids and cognition: the molecular mechanisms underlying their behavioural effects. Arch Biochem Biophys. 492(1-2):1-9.

Williams CM, El Mohsen MA, Vauzour D, Rendeiro C, Butler LT, Ellis JA, Whiteman M, Spencer JPE. (2008). Blueberry-induced changes in spatial working memory correlate with changes in hippocampal CREB phosphorylation and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. Free Radic Biol Med. 45(3):295-305.

Vauzour D, Vafeiadou K, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Rendeiro C, Spencer JPE (2008). The neuroprotective potential of flavonoids: a multiplicity of effects. Genes Nutr. 3(3-4):115-26.

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