Professor Laurence S Harbige

Laurence S Harbige is a Professor in Biosciences (Applied Biochemistry and Immunology) at the School of Human Sciences.


Prof Laurence Harbige

Laurence Harbige

Laurence S Harbige is Professor of Applied Biochemistry and Immunology in the School of Human Sciences at London Metropolitan University. He is also visiting Professor and Lecturer in the College of Health Sciences, Benue State University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (University of London). From 1982 to 1991 he worked in the Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Nuffield Laboratories of Comparative Medicine, Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London) on essential fatty acids and related lipids in animal and human biology. After a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences followed by postgraduate Applied Immunology and Medical Biochemistry he began research on essential fatty acids in multiple sclerosis and experimental autoimmunity receiving his PhD from Brunel University London in 1993.

Following a Senior Clinical Scientist appointment with City and Hackney Health Authority he moved to a Research Fellow position in the Department of Immunology, United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals (UMDS) in 1992. At UMDS (now King's College London) he undertook research on autoimmunity and fatty acids and the teaching of undergraduate medical students. In 1997 (until 2016) he joined the School of Chemical and Life Sciences, University of Greenwich as a Senior Lecturer and appointed Reader in Nutrition Metabolism and Immunology in 1999. Besides teaching, with his research group and collaborators, he continued work on fatty acids in immune function, inflammation and metabolism including human supplementation studies and clinical trials in multiple sclerosis and type 2 diabetes.

Professor Harbige has acted as an expert adviser and grant reviewer for the MRC UK, BBSRC, FSA, MRC South Africa and UK medical research charities including the Wellcome Trust. He is a Senior Editor for Journal of Inflammation, Guest Editor Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, Topics Board Member for Nutrients, peer reviewer for over 20 international scientific journals, invited speaker for more than 70 national/international conferences and has over 100 scientific publications and 12 patents. He is a member of several national and international scientific societies and has served on their conference/specialist committees including the British Society for Immunology, Nutrition SocietyInternational Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) and the International Society for Immunonutrition (ISIN). In 2018 he was joint President of the XI ISIN International Conference on Immunonutrition “Immunonutrition in Health and Disease” held in London. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Medicine.


Professor Harbige is deputy director of the Lipidomics and Nutrition Research Centre (LNRC), which is one of several research centres and groups at London Met. His research interests are in fatty acids and related lipids in biology and medicine with a special interest in multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 2 diabetes (DM2). He has also been active in research on the role of cytokines in DM2 and MS and the immunobiology of probiotic bacteria and intracellular parasites. In addition, Professor Harbige has general research interests in the nutritional and ecological aspects of human biology and evolution. He has supervised over 10 PhD and 21 MSc graduate research students and is currently supervising 2 PhD students.

Enquiries from students wishing to undertake MSc or PhD training in the above areas of research are welcome.

At London Metropolitan University Professor Harbige teaches on Applied Immunology, Clinical Biochemistry, Advanced Blood Science, Advanced Immunology and Integrative Pathology modules for  Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)Biological Science BSc (Hons)Biochemistry BSc (Hons)Biomedical Science MSc and Biomedical Studies (Distance Learning) MScHe's a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Surrey and King’s College London (KCL) on various undergraduate and postgraduate courses and Visiting Professor in Applied Biochemistry and Immunology, Faculty of Basic Allied Medical Sciences, Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria. Since 2001 he has been External Lecturer on the Immunology of Clinical Disease MSc (3167) module in the Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). 

Previously at the University of Greenwich, Professor Harbige was module leader for Clinical and Advanced Immunology, Advanced Human Nutrition and Medical Biochemistry. He also taught on undergraduate Biological Sciences BSc (Hons), Human Nutrition BSc (Hons), Forensic Science BSc (Hons), Biomedical Sciences BSc (Hons) and postgraduate Nutritional Sciences MSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc and Applied Biomedical Science MSc.

Selected publications

  • Khalili L, Valdes-Ramos R and Harbige L S (2021) Effect of n-3 (Omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on metabolic and inflammatory biomarkers and body weight in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTsMetabolites 11(11), 742
  • Batur L K, Ozaydin A, Mavis M E, Gursu G G, Harbige L and Hekim N (2021) Vitamin-D binding protein gene polymorphisms and serum 25-Hydroxy-vitamin-D in a Turkish population. Metabolites 11, 696.
  • Valdes-Ramos R, Guadarrama-Lopez A, Marinez-Carrillo B and Harbige L S (2019) n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Bioactive Food as Dietary Interventions for Diabetes: Bioactive Foods in Chronic Disease States 2nd Edition (R. R. Watson and V. R. Preedy, Editors), Academic Press, pp 193-209.
  • Ranatunga M, Rai R, Richardson SCW, Dyer P, Harbige L, Deacon A, Pecorino L, Getti G (2019) Leishmania aethiopica cell-to-cell spreading involves caspase-3, AkT, and NF-κB but not PKC-δ activation and involves uptake of LAMP-1-positive bodies containing parasites. FEBS J. 2019 Dec 5. doi: 10.1111/febs.15166. 
  • Harbige L S and Calder P C (2018) Introduction to the XI international conference on immunonutrition. Ann Nutr Metab. 73. 184-226.
  • Gorety Jacobo-Cejudo M, Valdes-Ramos R, Guadarrama-Lopez A and Harbige L S (2017) Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on metabolic and inflammatory biomarkers in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Nutrients. 9. 573. 1-11.
  • Rai R, Dyer P, Richardson S, Harbige L and Getti G (2017) Apoptotic induction induces Leishmania aethiopica and Leishmania mexicana spreading in terminally differentiated THP-1 cells. Parasitology. 144 (14). 1912-1921.
  • Harbige L S, Pinto E, Allgrove J & Thomas L (2016) Immune response of healthy adults to the ingested probiotic Lactobacillus casei Shirota. Scand J Immunol. 84. 353-364.
  • Guadarrama-Lopez A, Valdes-Ramos R, Harbige L S and Marinez-Carrillo B (2015) Relationship between fatty acid habitual intake and early inflammation biomarkers in individuals with and without type 2 diabetes in Mexico. Endocrine, Metabolic and Immune Disorders 15 (3) 234-241.
  • Oghagbon EK, Jimoh KA, Olaosebikan O and Harbige L (2014) Increased central adiposity may not underlie the marked elevation of IL-6 in diabetes mellitus patients in South-West, Nigeria. West Afr J Med. 33 (2) 130-135.
  • Liu W, Xiang M, Ali H and Harbige L S (2013) Ghrelin as a novel peptide hormone in obesity and weight loss. Proc Nutr Soc. 72. E89.
  • Xiao H, Xiang M, Harbige L S and Ali H (2013) Effect of exercise on visfatin and AMP-activated protein kinase expression in obesity. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 72. E90.
  • Xiang M, Wen Y, Ali H and Harbige L S (2013) Relationship between a single bout of exhaustive exercise and endoplasmic reticulum stress in skeletal muscle. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 72. E88.
  • Wen Y, M Xiang, Harbige L S and Ali H (2013) A single bout of exhaustive exercise in relation to endoplasmic reticulum stress in the liver. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 72. E87.
  • Xiang M, Ai-Hassi OH, Knight SC, Harbige L S (2011) Gene expression of delta-6-desaturase in PBMCs, b7+ and b7- lymphocytes in healthy controls and patients with Crohn’s disease. Proc Nutr Soc. 70. E44.
  • Chaidas M and Harbige L S (2011) Relationship between circulating leptin and TNF-a in obese and non-obese human subjects in the UK. Proc Nutr Soc. 70. E30.
  • Harbige L S, Pinto E, Xiang M, Sharief M K (2011) Circulating plasma pro-inflammatory cytokines, zinc, copper, vitamins A and E in multiple sclerosis patients in remission. Proc Nutr Soc. 70. E36.
  • Xiang M, Pinto E, Rahman M, Leach MJ and Harbige L S (2010) Decreased monocyte chemoattractive protein-1 and relationship with 15-deoxy Δ12,15 prostaglandin J2  in gamma-linolenic acid supplemented healthy subjects. Proc Nutr Soc. 69. E325.
  • O’Connel E, Allgrove J, Pollard L, Xiang M and Harbige L S (2010) A pilot study investigating the effects of Yakult fermented milk drink (L. casei Shirota) on salivary IFN-γ, sIgA, IgA1 and IgA2 in healthy volunteers. Proc Nutr Soc. 69. E267.
  • H Xiao, M Xiang, L S Harbige, H Ai (2010) Relation between visfatin as a novel adipokine and AMP-activated protein kinase in obesity. Proc Nutr Soc. 69. E324.
  • Ellis L, Hillier F, Shucksmith J, Crawley H, Harbige L, Shield J, Wiggins A, Summerbell C (2008) A systematic review of effect of diet on learning and performance of school aged children of relevance to UK schools. Br J Nutr. 100. 927-936.
  • Pinto E and Harbige L S (2008) Effect of borage (Borage officinalis) oil supplementation on expression of monocyte and T cell adhesion molecules in healthy volunteers. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 67. E63.
  • Xiang M, Pinto E, Rahman MA, Leach M J, Harbige L S (2008) Borage (Borago officinalis) oil supplementation in relation to monocyte chemoattractive protein-1 expression in healthy subjects. Proc Nutr Soc. 67. E44.
  • Xiang X, Harbige L S, Zetterström R (2008) Breast-milk levels of long-chain PUFA in Kazakhstan and Sweden. Proc Nutr Soc. 67. E79.
  • Li B, Xiang M, Harbige L S, Li X, Ai H (2008) Effect of different doses of creatine supplementation on endogenous creatine synthesis. Proc Nutr Soc. 67. E48.
  • Harbige L S, Pinto E, Xiang M, Leach M, M K Sharief (2008) PUFA in the pathogenesis and treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis. Proc Nutr Soc. 67. E21.
  • Harbige L S and Sharief M K (2007) Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the pathogenesis and treatment of multiple sclerosis. Br J Nutr. 98. S46-S53.
  • Xiang M, Harbige L S, Zetterstrom R (2007) Breast milk levels of zinc and ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and growth of healthy Chinese infants. Acta Paediatr. 96. 387-390.
  • Xiang M, Rahman M A, Ai H, Li X, Harbige L S (2006) Diet and gene expression: delta-5 and delta-6 desaturases in healthy Chinese and European subjects. Ann Nutr Metab. 50. 492-498.
  • Xiang M, Harbige L S, Zetterstrom R (2005) Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in Chinese and Swedish mothers: diet, breast milk and infant growth. Acta Paediatr. 94. 1543-1549.
  • Harbige L S and Gershwin M E (2004): Antioxidant Nutrition and Immunity. In: Handbook of Nutrition and Immunity (M. E. Gershwin, C.L. Keen and P. Nestel, Editors), Humana Press, Totowa, New Jersey, pp 187-211.
  • Hollifield R D, Harbige L S, Pham-Dinh D and Sharief M K (2003) Evidence for cytokine dysregulation in multiple sclerosis: peripheral blood mononuclear cell production of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines during relapse and remission. Autoimmunity. 36. (3). 133-141.
  • Harbige L S (2003) Fatty acids, the immune response, and autoimmunity:  a question of n-6 essentiality and the balance between n-6 and n-3. Lipids. 38. 323-341.
  • Harbige L S and Fisher B A C (2001) Dietary fatty acid modulation of mucosally-induced tolerogenic Immune responses. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 60. 4. 449-456.
  • Harbige L S, Layward L, Morris-Downes M M, Dumonde D C, Amor S (2000) The protective effect of omega-6 fatty acids in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in relation to TGF-b1 upregulation and PGE2 production. Clin. Exp. Immunol. 122. 445-452.
  • Ghebremeskel K, Burns L, Costeloe K, Burden T J, Harbige L, Thomas B, Temple E (1999) Plasma vitamin A and E in preterm babies fed on breast milk or formula milk with or without long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Internat. J. Vit. Nutr. Res. 69. (2). 83-91.
  • Harbige L S (1998) Dietary omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in immunity and autoimmune disease. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 57.  555-562.
  • Harbige L S, Layward L, Morris M, Amor S (1997) Protective mechanisms by omega-6 lipids in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis are associated with cytokines and eicosanoids. Trans. Biochem. Soc. 25. 345.
  • Morris M, Dyson H, Baker D, Harbige L S, Fazakerley J K, Amor S (1997) Cellular and cytokine response in the central nervous system following Semliki forest virus infection. J. Neuroimmunol. 74. 185-197.
  • Harbige L S, Layward L, Morris M and Amor S (1997) Cytokine secretion by human T cell clones is differentially regulated by eicosanoids. Trans. Biochem. Soc. 25. 347.
  • Fisher B A C and Harbige L S (1997) Effect of omega-6 fatty acid-rich borage oil feeding on immune function in healthy volunteers. Trans. Biochem. Soc. 25. 343.
  • Harbige L S (1996) Nutrition and immunity with emphasis on infection and autoimmune disease.  Nutr. Health. 10. 285-312.
  • Harbige L S, Yeatman N, Amor S and Crawford M A (1995) Prevention of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in Lewis rats by a novel fungal source of gamma-linolenic acid.  Br. J. Nutr. 74. 701-715.
  • Phylactos A C, Harbige L S, Crawford M A (1994) Essential fatty acids alter the activity of manganese-superoxide dismutase in rat heart. Lipids. 29. 111-115.
  • Phylactos A, Costeloe K, Leaf A, Harbige L S and Crawford M (1994) Polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants in early development possible prevention of oxygen-induced disorders. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 48. 2. 17-23.
  • Ghebremeskel K, Burns L, Harbige L S, Burden T, Costeloe K and Crawford M A (1994) Vitamins A and related essential nutrients in cord blood: relationships with anthropometric measurements at birth.  Early. Hum. Dev. 39. 177-188.
  • Cunnane S, Harbige L S, Crawford M A (1993) The importance of energy and nutrient supply in human brain evolution. Nutr. Health. 9. 219-235.
  • Harbige L S, Ghebremeskel K, Williams G and Crawford M A (1992) Hepatic fatty acids in wild rockhopper (Eudyptes crestatus) and magellanic (Spheniscus magellanicus) penguins before and after moulting.  Zoological Science. 9. 315-320.
  • Ghebremeskel K, Williams G, Brett R, Burek, R and Harbige L S (1991) Nutrient composition of plants most favoured by black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in the Wild.  Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 98A. 3/4 529-534.
  • Ghebremeskel K, Harbige L S, Williams G, Crawford M A and Hawkey C (1991) The effect of dietary change on in vitro erythrocyte haemolysis, skin lesions and alopecia in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 100A. 4. 891-896.
  • Murrell T, Harbige L S, Robinson I (1991) A review of the aetiology of multiple sclerosis: An ecological approach. Annals of Human Biology. 18. 2. 95-112.
  • Harbige L S, Ghebremeskel K, Williams G and Summers P (1990) N-3 and N-6 phosphoglyceride fatty acids in relation to hydrogen peroxide induced in vitro erythrocyte haemolysis in captive marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 97B. 1. 167-170.
  • Ghebremeskel K, Williams G, Harbige L S, Spadetta M and Summers P (1990) Plasma vitamin A, E and Hydrogen peroxide-induced in vitro haemolysis in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). Vet. Rec. 126. 429-431.
  • Harbige L S, Jones R, Jenkins R, Fitzgerald G, Forti A and Budowski P (1990) Nutritional management in multiple sclerosis with reference to experimental models.  Upsala. J. Med. Sci, Suppl 48. 189-207.
  • Crawford M, Doyle W, Drury P, Ghebremeskel K, Harbige L, Leyton J and Williams G (1989) The food chain for N-6 and N-3 fatty acids with special reference to animal products. In Dietary N-3 and N-6 Fatty Acids Biological Effects and Nutritional Essentiality (Galli C & Simopoulos A. Eds) NATO ASI Series, Plenum Press pp 5-19.
  • Crawford M A and Harbige L S (1988) N-3 fatty acids and the evolution of the mammalian brain. Clin. Biol. Res. 282. 335-354.
  • Ghebremeskel K, Williams G, Harbige L, Forti A (1988) Plasma retinol and alpha-tocopherol concentrations in supplemented and unsupplemented multiple sclerosis patients. J Clin. Biochem. Nutr. 5. 81-85.
  • Ghebremeskel K, Williams G, Harbige L S (1988) Serum lipids, cholesterol, alpha-tocopherol and retinol in multiple sclerosis patients before and after hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  J. Clin. Biochem. Nutr. 5. 87-91.
  • Fitzgerald G, Harbige L S, Forti A and Crawford M A (1987) The effect of nutritional counselling on diet and plasma EFA status in multiple sclerosis patients over three years.  Hum. Nutr. Appl. Nutr. 41 (5). 297-310.
  • Harbige L S, Crawford M A, Jones J, Preece A W and Forti A (1986) Dietary intervention studies on the phosphoglyceride fatty acids and electrophoretic mobility of erythrocytes in multiple sclerosis.  Prog. Lipid. Res. 25. 243-248.