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Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes
Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes

Dietary fibres and cardiometabolic health (Ref: SF20/APP/BROWNLEE4)

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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Dr I Brownlee Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The term “dietary fibre” refers to a spectrum of indigestible carbohydrates, mainly of plant origin that have been linked to a range of health benefits. Within plants, algae and fungi, these carbohydrate entities are important structural building blocks, forming the basis of plant cell walls. Isolated dietary fibres are used in a range of different supplements and food formulations. Dietary fibres show diversity in structure, source and physicochemical properties, making it unlikely that all fibres will have equal effects on any given health outcome.
The proposed, desk-based project will incorporate a series of systematic literature reviews in order to compare and contrast the impact of dietary fibre intake, either integral to plant-based foods, or included as an ingredient/supplement, on key markers of cardiovascular health, glycaemic control and body weight. This literature-based approach aims to answer the following key research questions:
• Which fibre types or sources are the most effective in relation to specific health outcomes?
• Is fibre supplementation equivocal to consumption of integral fibre from foods source?
• What gaps in our knowledge of the health effects of dietary fibres exist?
• Are existing dietary guideliness and nutrient, function of health claims related to dietary fibre appropriate?

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications should include a covering letter that includes a short summary (500 words max.) of a relevant piece of research that you have previously completed and the reasons you consider yourself suited to the project. Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 1st July for October start, or 1st December for March start
Start Date: October or March
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Please direct enquiries to Dr Iain Brownlee ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

Please note, this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend; the studentship is available to Students Worldwide. Fee bands are available at . A relevant fee band will be discussed at interview based on project running costs.


Houghton, D., Wilcox, M.D., Brownlee, I.A., Chater, P.I., Seal, C.J. and Pearson, J.P. (2019). Acceptability of alginate enriched bread and its effect on fat digestion in humans. Food Hydrocolloids 93, 395-401.
Chew, K.Y. and Brownlee, I.A. (2018). The impact of supplementation with dietary fibers on weight loss: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre 14, 9-19.
Brownlee, I.A., Chater, P.I., Pearson, J.P. and Wilcox, M.D. (2017). Dietary fibre and weight loss: Where are we now? Food Hydrocolloids 68, 186-191.

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