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Functional foods to combat chronic health conditions – investigating the impact of food composition and human metabotype on potential bioactivity

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Draper
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Supported by the Metobolome Centre in IBERS the research student in the first year would join an established team, funded by the UK Medical Research Council, and will receive a thorough training in metabolome profiling and fingerprinting technology relevant to human biofluid and food analysis. Particular emphasis will be placed on use of HPC-supported methods to process and explore metabolome data. Punctuated throughout 2016 the student would visit the innovation team in Brighter Foods to become familiarised with the process of piloting new oat bar formulations and development of a commercial product fortified with herbal extracts. In late spring/early summer 2016 the student would travel to meet the herb supplier in Portugal and take samples of all aerial parts of different Salvia species. Back in IBERS he/she would undertake a detailed analysis of dried Salvia tissue composition when extracted by different methods and would develop chemical fingerprinting methods for use as both future quality control tools and to discover which ‘fractions’ retain a full complement of chemicals thought to have bioactivity.

In the second and third yeas the student would have access to and expanding biobank of urine and blood samples derived from and on-going long term (>8 years) dietary exposure biomarker study joint with Newcastle University which provides a unique resource to investigate human metabotyes. Using metabolomics (ultra high accurate mass spectrometry) and machine learning methods the student would investigate factors differentiating human metabotypes clusters in the UK population. A key goal would be development of an analytical tool to classify individual into common human metabotype clusters in the UK population.

In parallel with the metabotyping work the student would work with Brighter Foods to examine the effect on chemical composition of sage extracts of incorporation into the oat bar manufacturing processes. For example the impact of solvent carrier, encapsulation, thermal processing and storage could all be examined.

The prospective applicant should have a minimum of a 1st or good 2:1 in a relevant degree, and be available to take up the studentship by end of January 2016, or as soon as possible thereafter.

To apply, please submit the following to the Postgraduate Admissions Office (email [Email Address Removed] or address below)
1. A completed Postgraduate Application Form, plus two references submitted by the deadline. Application and reference forms may be downloaded from http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/apply
2. A completed KESS participant application form (put the reference number AU10016 in the top right hand box) and an up-to-date CV. KESS application forms are available to download at the link below. http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/rbi/staff-students/knowledge-economy-skills-scholarships/
3. A PhD proposal of up to 1,000 words where you expand on your experience and interests and describe why you are a good candidate for this research studentship. Please refer to the Project Description.
Informal enquiries should be made to Prof. John Draper at [Email Address Removed] or 01970 622789.
Quote Reference AU10016

Funding Notes

Part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme. KESS PhD scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners. Each scholarship is exempt from registration fees, provides a stipend of £14,002 pa, plus a budget for travel, equipment/consumables and training. The achievement of a Postgraduate Skills Development Award (PSDA) is compulsory, and PhD Theses must be submitted 6 months after the funded three year period. Eligibility: on starting the scholarship you must be resident in the Convergence Area of Wales (https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/media/departmental/ccs/kess/convergence-map.pdf) and eligible to take paid employment in the area on completion of the scholarship.

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