Ibtihal Barnawi


I obtained my BSc in Clinical Nutrition at Umm Al-Qura University and then my MSc in Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin- Stout. In addition, I have teaching experience as a lecturer at the College of Applied Medical Sciences at Taibah University, Saudi Arabia. My research interest lies in how nutrition can prevent cancer development and how nutrition affects cancer treatments. I joined Dr. James L. Thorne's group to fulfill my interest. I have a full scholarship from Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau.  

Research interests

My Ph.D. project is focused on the impact of nutritional status and dietary patterns on the chemoresponse of triple-negative breast cancers. My project hypothesizes that the tumours in people who adhere to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) cancer prevention recommendations are more likely to respond to chemotherapy. The Ph.D. project involves conducting a study to assess adherence to the WCRF recommendations among healthy adults and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients in Leeds. These ten recommendations emphasized maintaining a healthy weight, developing appropriate eating, drinking, and physical exercise habits, and breastfeeding consistently for six months and up to two years or longer (WCRF, 2018). Questionnaires, blood samples, MRI measurements of tumours during chemotherapy, and RNA-Sequencing of tumour biopsies, will be used to collect the data for the study. The questionnaires will include three main parts—first demographic characteristics such as age, level of education, etc. Second, the dietary assessment will consist of The EPIC-Norfolk FFQ and 24-hour dietary recall (myfood24). Last is the EPIC physical activity questionnaire (EPAQ). This project's results will help test whether the WCRF adherence score is related to clinical parameters such as residual cancer burden (RCB), apparent diffusion coefficient magnetic resonance imaging (ADC-MRI), and nutritional status. The findings of this project will inform targeted interventions for effectively improving the chemotherapy response among TNBC, which will reduce treatment costs and disease recurrence.  


  • BSc. Clinical Nutrition, Umm Al-Qura University
  • MSc. Food and Nutritional sciences (Human Nutrition concentration), University of Wisconsin- Stout