PhD opportunity in exploring the structure of carbohydrate hydrogels in the human digestive tract using advanced NMR methodologies (WARREN_F17IFRQI)


Contract length: 48 months
Applications Close: 8 May 2017

We are looking for a highly motivated and creative PhD student with a background in chemistry or biochemistry to join a dynamic and multidisciplinary team using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to probe carbohydrate structure. This position is jointly hosted by the Warren lab at IFR and the NMR group at the School of Pharmacy, UEA.

Starch is one of the most important components in our diet, as well as being used in a wide range of biomaterials. Starch has a complex, heterogeneous structure, forming a range of hydrogels, aggregated structures and crystalline forms as a result of processing. Understanding the structuring and destructuring of starch in the digestive tract is key to the design of novel food components and biomaterials with controlled breakdown during digestive passage.

The goal of this project is to assess structuring of starch hydrogels as they pass through simulated human digestion and colonic fermentation, by developing and using novel NMR methodologies. Using methods developed at IFR and UEA, a range of starch hydrogels with different structures will be produced. These will then be subjected to passage through the digestive models available at IFR, and the resultant structures characterised using advanced gel phase NMR methodologies available at UEA.
This PhD studentship represents an excellent training opportunity in the production and characterisation of starch based biomaterials, in the use of advanced spectroscopic techniques and in the use of cutting edge models of human digestion. The successful applicant will also benefit from the combined expertise of two research groups at IFR and UEA School and Pharmacy, as well as a range of other training opportunities, making this project the perfect springboard for a future scientific career.

This project is awarded with a 4-year Institute of Food Research (IFR)/Quadram Institute (QI) PhD studentship. A stipend will be provided for each year of the studentship (2017/8 rate will be £14,553.00pa). Tuition fees are covered for UK/EU rate. International students are eligible for funding but will need to find their own support to cover the extra tuition fees chargeable to overseas students. (Tuition fee rates for 2017/8 for UK/EU students is £4,195.00, for international students it is £18,000.00).

For further information and to apply, please visit the ‘How to Apply’ page on our website:

Supervisor: Fred Warren
Project Start Date: 01 Oct 2017

Application Deadline: 08 May 2017

For more information, please contact:

Fred Warren


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