Dr Mathai's expertise is in physiology, especially the regulation of blood pressure, fluid balance, appetite and metabolism. He performed his doctoral studies at the Howard Florey Institute on the neuroendocrine control of the sympathetic nervous system, and extended this research into the central control of electrolyte and fluid balance.
His postdoctoral work at the Max Planck Institute for Physiology and Clinical Research in Germany investigated the role of nitric oxide in thermoregulation and fever. He subsequently returned to the Florey Institute and combined his interest in nutrition and physiology to study the influence of dietary omega-3 fatty acids in early life on neural development and adult health outcomes.
He joined Victoria University in 2008 and his work on obesity is focused on the role of the renin-angiotensin system and specific nutrients such as lipids and plant extracts which influence appetite and metabolism. He is also responsible for training nutrition and biomedical science students in research and clinical skills that enable them to work in community nutrition and science-based roles.
He has partnerships with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, Gateway Community Services, Gencorp-Pacific and GS1 Australia.
He is a member of the Nutrition Society of Australia and the American Physiological Society and an Honorary Fellow at the Florey Neuroscience Institute.
Areas of expertise
- micronutrients that improve muscle metabolism and endurance
- Neuroendocrine control of blood pressure; electrolyte and fluid balance; thermeoregulation and fever
- the beneficial effect of micronutrients such as tea catechins and vitamin E tocotrienols on obesity and its co-morbidities
- the influence of perinatal dietary manipulation of omega-3 fatty acid content on adult health outcomes
- the role of the angiotensin system in body fat composition; appetite and metabolism
- using mobile phone-based technology to inform and influence public health outcomes