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Dr Rachel Wong

Research Associate

School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy

Career Summary


Rachel recently obtained her doctorate degree at the University of South Australia. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, The University of Newcastle. She is a member of International Society of Hypertension, High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia and the Nutrition Society of Australia. Her research focuses on the effects of bioactive nutrients in human circulatory function and cognitive performance. She was among the first to investigate the acute effects of trans-resveratrol supplementation in human vascular function. Since then Rachel has evaluated effects of chronic consumption of an oat extract on vasodilator function in systemic and cerebral arteries of older adults and its relationship with cognition. Her most recent work follows on from the acute resveratrol study to look at chronic resveratrol supplementation on vasodilator function and its impact on cognitive performance in obese adults. Rachel is currently investigating the relationships between ceberal blood flow haemodynamics and cognitive performance in adults with type 2 diabetes. 

Research Expertise
Dr Rachel Wong was already recognised as a high performing student during her undergraduate and subsequent Honours research on the clinical evaluation of cardiovascular benefits of a nutrient intervention and subsequently extending into clinical assessment of cognitive functions during her PhD training. Nutrients evaluated were trans-resveratrol and wild green oat extract. Rachel has expertise in vascular imaging of the systemic and cerebral arteries using ultrasound techniques (flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial artery and transCranial Doppler ultrasound) that enable quantification of the responsiveness of blood vessels to meet specific demands of the body. She also has extensive experience in clinical trials management including knowledge on subject recruitment and retention, ability to conduct clinical trials in accordance with principles of Good Clinical Practice and maintaining rigour in all aspects of research performance and analysis. She has recently completed a clinical evaluation of the olive leaf extract combination on 24-hr ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensive adults.

Teaching Expertise
Undergraduate teaching: (1) Appointed as a tutor and practical demonstrator for Human Physiology and Human Nutrition courses offered to undergraduate students in the Division of Health Sciences. (2) Examined an honours thesis: ‘Effects of exercise on systemic and cerebral vascular function’. Training of research students in: (1) ultrasound imaging and analysis of flow-mediated dilatation in the brachial artery and cerebrovascular responsiveness to hypercapnic and cognitive stimuli using transCranial Doppler ultrasound. (2) administration of dementia status test and cognitive tests. (3) clinical trial management in accordance with the ICH-GCP Standard. Co-Supervision at University of Newcastle: (1) Neuropsychology Research Masters graduate (thesis: 'Cerebral blood flow and cognition in diabetes’). (2) PhD candidate in ‘Cerebral hemodynamics following visuo-vestibular-invoked nausea’. (3) Overseas exchange undergraduate students

Administrative Expertise
Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC, Association of Clinical Research Professionals) - conduct clinical trials under ICH-GCP guidelines.


  • PhD (Health Sciences), University of South Australia
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement), University of South Australia
  • Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours), University of South Australia


  • Cardiovascular health
  • Cognition
  • FMD
  • Human Nutrition
  • Human Physiology
  • Nutrients
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasound


  • Mandarin (Fluent)

Fields of Research

110201Cardiology (incl. Cardiovascular Diseases)30
111103Nutritional Physiology40
170299Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified30

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
1/07/2015 - 31/12/2015Research AssociateUniversity of Newcastle
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy

Academic appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
1/01/2009 - Membership - Nutritional Society of AustraliaNutritional Society of Australia


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Journal article (7 outputs)

2014Wong R, Garg M, Wood L, Howe P, 'Antihypertensive Potential of Combined Extracts of Olive Leaf, Green Coffee Bean and Beetroot: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trial', Nutrients, 6 4881-4894 (2014) [C1]
Co-authorsLisa Wood, Manohar Garg, Peter Howe
2014Wong RHX, Scholey A, Howe PRC, 'Assessing Premorbid Cognitive Ability in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus-a Review With Implications for Future Intervention Studies', CURRENT DIABETES REPORTS, 14 (2014) [C1]
DOI10.1007/s11892-014-0547-4Author URL
Co-authorsPeter Howe
2013Wong RHX, Coates AM, Buckley JD, Howe PR, 'Evidence for circulatory benefits of resveratrol in humans', Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1290 52-58 (2013) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 2Web of Science - 3
Co-authorsPeter Howe
2013Wong RHX, Berry NM, Coates AM, Buckley JD, Bryan J, Kunz I, Howe PRC, 'Chronic resveratrol consumption improves brachial flow-mediated dilatation in healthy obese adults', Journal of Hypertension, 31 1819-1827 (2013) [C1]

Background: We have previously demonstrated acute dose-dependent increases of flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) in the brachial artery after resveratrol consumption in mildly hypertensive, overweight/obese adults. Resveratrol supplementation has also been shown to increase cerebral blood flow acutely, without affecting cognition. Objectives: To evaluate the effects of chronic resveratrol supplementation on both FMD and cognitive performance. Method: Twenty-eight obese but otherwise healthy adults (BMI: 33.3±0.6kg/m 2) were randomized to take a single 75 mg capsule of trans-resveratrol (Resvida) or placebo daily for 6 weeks each in a double-blind crossover supplementation trial. Blood pressure, arterial compliance, FMD, and performance on the Stroop Color-Word Test were assessed at the end of each 6-week intervention period while fasted and at least 18 h after taking the last daily capsule. An additional capsule of the same supplement was then taken. FMD assessment was repeated 1 h later. Results: Chronic resveratrol supplementation for 6 weeks was well tolerated and resulted in a 23% increase in FMD compared with placebo (P = 0.021, paired t-test). The extent of increase correlated negatively with baseline FMD (r= -0.47, P=0.01). A single dose of resveratrol (75 mg) following chronic resveratrol supplementation resulted in a 35% greater acute FMD response than the equivalent placebo supplementation. These FMD improvements remained significant after adjusting for baseline FMD. Blood pressure, arterial compliance, and all components of the Stroop Color-Word Test were unaffected by chronic resveratrol supplementation. Conclusion: Daily resveratrol consumption was well tolerated and has the potential to maintain healthy circulatory function in obese adults. © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

CitationsScopus - 13Web of Science - 14
Co-authorsPeter Howe
2013Wong RHX, Howe PR, Buckley JD, Coates AM, Berry NM, 'Chronic consumption of a wild green oat extract (Neuravena) improves brachial flow-mediated dilatation and cerebrovascular responsiveness in older adults', Journal of Hypertension, 31 192-200 (2013) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 3Web of Science - 3
Co-authorsPeter Howe
2012Wong RHX, Howe PRC, Bryan J, Coates A, Buckley J, Berry N, 'Chronic effects of a wild green oat extract supplementation on cognitive performance in older adults: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial', Nutrients, 4 331-342 (2012) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 2Web of Science - 2
Co-authorsPeter Howe
2011Wong RHX, Howe PR, Buckley JD, Coates AM, Kunz I, Berry NM, 'Acute resveratrol supplementation improves flow-mediated dilatation in overweight/obese individuals with mildly elevated blood pressure', Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 21 851-856 (2011) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 91Web of Science - 83
Co-authorsPeter Howe
Show 4 more journal articles

Grants and Funding


Number of grants6
Total funding$343,860

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20151 grants / $35,000

Effects of long-chain Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCn-3PUFA) supplementation on cerebral circulation and cognitive function$35,000

Funding body: Westfund Health

Funding bodyWestfund Health
Project TeamProfessor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong
SchemeResearch Grant
Funding Start2015
Funding Finish2015
Type Of FundingGrant - Aust Non Government

20144 grants / $143,860

Pork consumption and serum irisin levels in type 2 diabetes$50,300

Funding body: CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork

Funding bodyCRC for High Integrity Australian Pork
Project TeamProfessor Manohar Garg, Professor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong
SchemeInnovative Research
Funding Start2014
Funding Finish2014
Type Of FundingOther Public Sector - Commonwealth

Dose response evaluation of resveratrol supplementation on cerebrovascular function, mood and cognitive performance in type 2 diabetes mellitus$45,000

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

Funding bodyNHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project TeamProfessor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong, Professor Andrew Scholey
SchemeDementia Collaborative Research Centres (DCRC)
Funding Start2014
Funding Finish2014
Type Of FundingOther Public Sector - Commonwealth

Assisting post-menopausal women towards healthy ageing - can resveratrol enhance mood and counteract cognitive decline?$25,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding bodyHunter Medical Research Institute
Project TeamProfessor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong, Professor Andrew Scholey
SchemeProject Grant
Funding Start2014
Funding Finish2014
Type Of FundingGrant - Aust Non Government

Dose response evaluation of resveratrol supplementation on cerebrovascular function, mood and cognitive performance in type 2 diabetes mellitus$23,560

Funding body: DSM Nutritional Products AG

Funding bodyDSM Nutritional Products AG
Project TeamProfessor Peter Howe, Doctor Rachel Wong, Professor Manohar Garg, Professor Andrew Scholey
SchemeResearch Project
Funding Start2014
Funding Finish2014
Type Of FundingInternational - Non Competitive

20131 grants / $165,000

Clinical evaluation of a novel olive leaf formulation for heart health$165,000

Funding body: Newcastle Innovation

Funding bodyNewcastle Innovation
Project TeamProfessor Peter Howe, Professor Manohar Garg, Doctor Rachel Wong, Associate Professor Lisa Wood
SchemeAdministered Research
Funding Start2013
Funding Finish2013
Type Of FundingInternal

Research Supervision

Current Supervision

CommencedResearch Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2014Lifestyle interventions to counteract cognitive decline in diabetes
Human Biology, Faculty of Health and Medicine



Study aims to ease menopausal symptoms

April 27, 2015

Can the health supplement resveratrol curb the notorious hot flushes, insomnia, irritability and occasional mental lapses that often accompany menopause?

Volunteers required to test mental function in type 2 diabetes

Diabetes study testing nutritional approach to delay cognitive decline

January 8, 2015

Researchers in the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre at the University of Newcastle are seeking people with type 2 diabetes to take a new nutritional supplement designed to stimulate blood flow in the brain and reduce the threat of mental impairment.

Effects of Omega-3 on brain health

Effects of Omega-3 supplements on brain health

August 24, 2014

40-85 year old volunteers with slightly elevated blood pressure are needed.

Dr Rachel Wong


Research Associate
Clinical Nutrition Research Centre
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Contact Details
Phone(02) 4921 6408


BuildingMedical Sciences
LocationLevel 5 Room 514