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Validating polyphenol intake estimates from a food-frequency questionnaire with urine and plasma biomarkers in healthy adults.


   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr S Coe, Dr Rianne Costello, Dr S Thondre  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Project Title: Validating polyphenol intake estimates from a food-frequency questionnaire with urine and plasma biomarkers in healthy adults.

Director of Studies and main supervisor: Dr Shelly Coe

2nd supervisor: Dr Rianne Costello, Dr Sangeetha Thondre

Eligibility: Applicants require a good Honours degree (2.1 or equivalent) in Nutrition or a related scientific subject.

Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution or acceptable equivalent qualification in biological science or related discipline. Non-UK Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre. 

Project Description:

Polyphenols are a large group of phytochemicals abundant in plants that have shown a multitude of health benefiting functions in humans, including anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, and anti-carcinogenic effects. There is increasing evidence that long-term polyphenol intake can have favourable effects on the incidence of several cancers and other diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases. More recently, research has been focused on the impact of polyphenols on healthy ageing and/or age-related diseases. However, in order to accurately examine the possible beneficial effects of polyphenols in an ageing population, it is imperative that accurate estimations of dietary fruit and vegetable intake can be obtained, given that has been reported as the main dietary source of polyphenols. Quantifying polyphenol intake is challenging and susceptible to systematic and random errors related to the variability in the polyphenol content of foods, error related to dietary self-report, and differences in absorption and metabolism between individuals. Thus, it has been suggested that dietary assessment methods should always be validated before use. Further, dietary validation studies aim to estimate the association between dietary assessment data and the participant’s true intake and are usually performed comparing the test method with a more valid reference method such as total urinary polyphenol concentration via the Folin-Ciocalteu assay and total plasma carotenoid concentration . At present there is no validated polyphenol food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) that can reliably quantify an individual's habitual polyphenol intake in the British population. In validating the polyphenol FFQ by using biomarkers from urine (total urinary polyphenol concentration) and blood (total plasma carotenoids), we would be able to establish an individual's habitual fruit and vegetable consumption more accurately and in a non-invasive manner. Thus, the aim of this project will be the validation of the polyphenol FFQ.

The project will be based in the Oxford Brookes Centre for Nutrition and Health at Oxford Brookes University. https://www.brookes.ac.uk/shssw/nutrition/research/oxbcnh/.

For further information on the project please e-mail: Dr Shelly Coe, .

 How to apply:

Email the Research Administrator for an application pack. Completed application forms should be returned to by the deadline advised.


Funding Notes

Masters (MSc) by Research one year, full-time self-funded programme

Start date: September 2022
This is a self funded research project. Applicants need to have adequate funds to meet the costs of a self-funded research project including tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of the research programme.
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