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Unlocking pulse protein: A new look at mechanisms that limit bioaccessibility (EDWARDSQ20DTP)

   Graduate Programme

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  Dr C Edwards  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Inadequate protein nutrition is a major health concern to children and the institutionalised elderly. Although animal proteins are the best source of protein nutrition, 76% of the global population currently rely on plant protein. Alternative proteins that can act as sustainable substitutes for animal-sources are currently of great interest. However, the quality and bioavailability of amino acids from protein is a critical consideration.

You will join a research group that is studying the relationship between processing, food structure and nutrient bioavailability in the human gut. The group’s current activities span from mechanistic laboratory research to human intervention studies and is highly inter-displinary. We are pioneering new approaches to optimise the nutritional value of pulses (chickpeas, beans, lentils etc.) and other plant-based foods, and work closely with the food industry to translate our research. This environment provides for training in various biochemical and physical laboratory techniques, and there are many opportunities for participation in international conferences, meetings or training schools, and to write manuscripts for publication in high quality journals.

The focus of the PhD project is to develop new understanding of the mechanisms controlling bioaccessibility of protein from pulses. The latest biochemical models of the human gut will be used in combination with analytical techniques (LC-MS, FTIR, confocal microscopy etc.) to study factors influencing protein digestion. There are further opportunities to undertake human studies at the QI Clinical Research Facility and/or to make use of genetic resources through collaboration with the Domoney Group at the John Innes Centre.

We seek a proactive and committed student who is interested in nutritional science with a degree in biochemistry or a similar subject. Whilst some knowledge of protein biochemistry is highly desirable, a scientific mindset and a willingness to learn and engage in inter-disciplinary research is most essential. Full training will be provided.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second-class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.
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