PhD Studentship: How does dietary fat improve the uptake of essential lipid-soluble micronutrients (WILDE_F17DTP1)

University of East Anglia - School of Pharmacy

Start Date:  1st October 2017

Supervisor: Prof. Peter Wilde

Project description:

Many valuable nutrients such as carotenoids and some vitamins and are more soluble in oils and fat than in water. The uptake of these molecules from the gut is complex, as they have to be transported between different lipid structures into a form which can be absorbed by the body. Consequentially, the absorption of these nutrients from certain foods can be very poor, and the relationship between food composition and nutrient bioavailability is not fully understood. The aim of this project is to understand how we can improve the bioavailability of these vital nutrients. During digestion, lipids are broken down, leading to the formation of different structures as digestion progresses. The form of these structures will depend on dietary composition and individual digestive secretions. The aim is to use a range of in vitro biochemical and spectroscopic methods to understand how the structure, composition and chemistry of these lipid structures determines the solubility and bioavailability of different essential micronutrients. We will also use advanced NMR spectroscopy methods that are sensitive to short range interactions between molecules in order to probe local interactions and structures. The objective here would be to determine how the environment within the lipid structures is affected by the bioactive molecule, and how this could change the behaviour of the structures and control absorption and bioavailability.

The student would receive a broad range of training in the biochemistry of digestion, colloid science and a range of NMR spectroscopies across the Norwich Research Park, in the context of human digestion, nutrition and health at the Institute of Food Research. The knowledge generated could help formulate methods to improve the uptake of fat-soluble nutrients.

Person specification:  Minimum entry 2:1

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,296 pa – 2016/7), 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, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:

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