Contract Type:Temporary/Fixed term
Contract Term:Part time
R-LINCS PhD Research Studentship
Project Title: Investigating the Chemistry of a Cold Smoking Process and its Impacts on Food Safety and Quality
Dr Alberto Fiore
Dr Keith Sturrock
Dr Rebecca Fennessy
PhD Studentship: Abertay University, through its R-LINCS scheme, offers a fully funded PhD studentship. This encompasses an RCUK-equivalent stipend, registration fees and support equipment and travel funds. The project involves aspects of food processing, analytical chemistry, and statistical analysis. The prospective student will benefit from supervision under academic staff across two Divisions within the School of Science, Engineering and Technology. The project offers an opportunity to develop a wide range of knowledge and skills, with access to all necessary analytical equipment required for the project. Although based at Abertay University (Dundee), the student may have the opportunity to engage in an Erasmus placement within an overseas university in order to increase the portfolio of expertise.
Abertay University is one of six universities across the UK, and the only one in Scotland, to receive a nomination for “University of the Year” in 2016 Time Higher Education (THE) Awards. According to the results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014) published on 18 December 2014, Abertay was the highest ranked modern university in Scotland for 'research intensity'. The School of Science, Engineering and Technology at Abertay University is equipped with modern laboratories and staff with exceptional skills, knowledge, and experience related to this project such as food science and technology, analytical chemistry, new product development and forensic analysis.
Project Aim: An Investigation into the Chemistry of the Cold Smoking process, and the Measurement of its effect on Food Degradation through a Chromatographic, Spectroscopic and Chemometric Approach.
Research Outline: During cooking, particularly baking, roasting and frying, potentially harmful compounds such as acrylamide, carboxymethyllysine and hydroxymethylfurfural can be produced by the Maillard reaction. A significant correlation has been found between ingested acrylamide and various medical conditions such as the development of glycation and inflammation associated diseases such as renal failure, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. The Maillard reaction is composed of a complex series of reactions, beginning with the reaction of an amine group and a carbonyl source, forming several key intermediates that lead through many steps, to the formation of potentially harmful compounds. The formation of Maillard Reaction End Products could be mitigated by the presence of polyphenols, which are known to be produced during food smoking processes. This work will establish which polyphenols are produced during a particular cold smoking regime and how they affect the formation of these harmful substances. Utilising a variety of analytical techniques (HPLC, GC-MS, and FT-IR) polyphenols, Maillard Reaction intermediates and end products will be characterised and quantified. All the generated data will be subject to statistical analysis using PLS and PCA to build, train and test a Chemometric model. This would allow the rapid evaluation of the levels of Millard reaction products present within a sample and preclude the need for complicated and time-consuming analytical procedures.
This novel work has important implications for the food industry. The undesirable compounds produced by the Maillard reaction are not currently required to be monitored within the food industry. This may change in the near future as it is anticipated that these types of compounds will be subject to stricter guidelines. This work would offer through the Chemometric model, a rapid and reliable screening procedure for these compounds, particularly acrylamide.
Each PhD studentship provides a package valued at around £75,000. This includes a fully funded tax free stipend of £14,553 per year over 3 and a half years, tuition fees as well as a travel and equipment budget. Applications will be sought for specific R-LINCS studentship titles and the best (up to) four candidates meeting our quality threshold will be offered the studentship they applied for.
The Abertay Graduate School
Abertay’s PhD students are located in the Abertay Graduate School (http://www.abertay.ac.uk/discover/academic-schools/graduate-school/) and have access to our dedicated study and social spaces – a forum in which you can meet, work and learn with other researchers and postgraduates from across the University. We provide training and professional development opportunities to our postgraduate community, and offer help with funding applications, placement opportunities, teaching support, public engagement and outreach activity.
You will be expected to undertake limited teaching duties of no more than 70 hours a year. We provide training on this activity and it is a valuable part of career development.
Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr. Alberto Fiore (A.Fiore@abertay.ac.uk).
Closing date:09 July 2017
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