Nino Severino: DNA profiling could be the next big thing in sports performance

(L-R) James Brown (Nutrigenetics Director) and Nathan Berkley (CEO) at MUHDO. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

(L-R) James Brown (Nutrigenetics Director) and Nathan Berkley (CEO) at MUHDO. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

In his latest column, Nino Severino shares news of an exciting new sporting addition to the team at the University of Suffolk Hub.

My new role as the Director of the University of Suffolk Hub is opening up many opportunities for me to meet some world class operators in the worlds of sport, fitness and health – and the great part of this is that they are actually sitting on our doorstep!

I’ve now had a number of meetings with Nathan Berkley (CEO) and James Brown (Director of Nutrigenetics) from a company called Muhdo who are based in premises and offices right on the Marina, which is very handy considering the Hub is located in the same area.

We all met for the very first time around three weeks ago, and it was an extremely interesting meeting, which saw all three of us hitting it off immediately.

Sometimes you meet individuals who are like-minded, professionals who are striving for excellence in their field, and that’s exactly what I experienced in Nathan and James.

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I really wanted to find out how a company who has a global network of professionals, could help our athletes here in Ipswich, at the Hub.

I was not only interested in the athletic performance aspect of their company, but also how it could benefit the wider community. Nathan told me: “Muhdo is an exciting synergy of where tech meets the world of genetics, unlocking the individual genetic code to improve health, fitness or general wellbeing”.

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James has 20-plus years of experience as both a professional athlete, and as a sports nutritionist/coach working with a whole array of athletes and teams across the world, from Mercedes F1 to the Springboks rugby team.

He combines this wealth of sporting experience with his new-found passion of studying the world of DNA and genetics and the human genome.

And if this could not get any better, he’s doing it here in Ipswich! For me, as a former coach to Olympians and official world-class athletes, this is so exciting.

I know how hard we all work in the world of professional sport to constantly keep pushing the boundaries of athletic performance, and to have a company to support this aspiration in your home town is a dream.

James’ life story is heart-warming, and in a way very sad – he really took an interest in the new branch of science called nutrigenetics after two of his younger cousins passed away from Cystic Fibrosis in 2010.

He explained: “When you’re working with some of the finest athletes around the world to improve their health and performance day in and day out, it’s an extremely sobering feeling when you’re left powerless to help two of your family members.”

During my conversation with Nathan, it’s obvious that the company want to inspire and support as many individuals as possible to have a much healthier, longer and happier life, tailoring their approach to an individual’s unique DNA.

Explaining how it works, he told me: “Firstly we look at the client’s DNA which is the foundation and what makes us all individually different and unique.

“As humans we all have the same DNA and share around 20,000 genes, but each gene has a multitude of variations, some of these are extremely easy to see with our obvious physical traits, such as the colour of our eyes and hair”.

The research he and his team are carrying out, could potentially change hundreds of millions of people’s lives across the world, and also prevent so many physical and mental illnesses as well.

After our last meeting, both Nathan and I agreed that it would be very exciting for the Hub and Mudho to work alongside each other to touch as many lives as possible, here in Ipswich and the surrounding areas.

This working partnership will be announced officially very soon, and I relish the opportunity of Nathan and James joining our portfolio of experts and specialists at the Hub.

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