BSc (Hons) Human Genetics, 1998 (University of Leeds, UK)
MSc Applied Biomolecular Technology, 2001 (University of Nottingham, UK)
PhD Food Science, 2006 (Heriot-Watt University, UK)
The market demand on healthy, functional foods is rapidly growing. Food products must possess several characteristics to suit the needs of the modern society. They have to be nutritious, safe, attractive to the consumers and affordable. The design and development of such food products requires that the areas of food processing and nutrition become closely interrelated.
My research aims to identify processes, ingredients, formulations and matrices for developing new food products with added health benefits or for reformulating existing ones to healthier versions. The physicochemical, textural and sensory properties of the newly developed or reformulated products are determined in vitro and bioavailability of nutrients is assessed in vivo with human intervention studies.
My research interests are summarised in 5 areas:
1. Reformulation: A popular strategy to improve population health is to change the nutrient content of a processed food product. This is usually achieved by reducing the content of harmful ingredients and/or by increasing the content of beneficial nutrients. We are currently developing a new yogurt recipe which includes processed vegetable powders. The reformulated product aims to increase the daily vegetable consumption of the Scottish population.
2. Food structure: The microstructure of processed foods determines the rate and extent to which nutrients are absorbed and become available at the site of action. We are investigating the physico-chemical properties of emulsion-based delivery systems for the fabrication of soft drinks/beverages. The objective of this project is to develop a product with long term stability, acceptable sensory properties and the ability to act as a carrier for functional ingredients.
3. By-products of food processing: Food and drink production by the food industry involves processing of raw materials and quite commonly the generation of by-products. Some of the by-products may have potential to be used as sources of nutrients or functional ingredients. We are currently developing a method to isolate the beta glucan fraction from spent brewer’s yeast. The isolated ingredient has potential to be used for the formulation and stabilisation of sauces and condiments.
4. Food additives: Consumers’ propensity toward a healthy lifestyle is the main driving force behind food industry’s intention to replace synthetic additives in foods with natural products having similar or even better functionality. Herbs and vegetables are desired ingredients for food formulations because they are good sources of antioxidants such as carotenoids, tocopherols and polyphenols. We are assessing the suitability of natural products to replace synthetic antioxidants used in various food products.
5. Food processing: Most food products available today have undergone some type of processing. Food processing, depending on the method and conditions, is very likely to affect the nutritional profile of the product. We are assessing the effect of different processing/cooking methods on the nutritional profile (vitamins, phytochemicals) of fruits and vegetables. Our aim is to identify processes for preserving the nutrient content of processed foods.
RESAS (Scottish Government 2011-2016): Healthy and safe diets
Food and Drink Interface (2016-2017): Development and evaluation of commercially viable vegetable breads (20,000£)
The Gen Foundation (2017-2018): Improving the oxidative stability and frying performance of vegetable oils with natural antioxidants (4,000£)
Teaching ResponsibilitiesLecturer MSc Human Nutrition
- Milk processing processing and Health (lecture)
Course coordinator MSc Clinical Nutrition
- Clinical Nutrition for Disease prevention (course)
Student supervision (undergraduate, postgraduate, PhD)
- Further Info
Professional Membership: Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST), London, UK
- Editor of Insights in Nutrition and Metabolism, Allied Academies, London, UK
- EC Nutriiton, Ecronicon
Associate Fellow of Higher Education Academy, York, UK