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£96m investment for Engineering and Physical Sciences

The University has given the seal of approval to the proposed plans to integrate Engineering and Physical Sciences on the north eastern part of campus.

The £96m project was approved by the Council, the University's governing body, earlier this month.

It is set to position the University as a world leading research platform and is the largest, single-project investment ever to have been made on campus.

It is proposed that the new 15,700m2 development will bring together schools in the Faculty of Engineering, with those in Physical Sciences, involving the relocation of the Schools of Computing and Physics and Astronomy.

This will help to foster a culture of inter-disciplinary working in the development of novel materials to address 21st Century challenges.

Areas of research include energy efficient computing, telecommunications, sustainable magnetic materials, sensors for use in biological systems and extreme or remote environments, pharmaceutical formulations, ‘smart foods’ and medical technologies.

Dragons Den Burns Bright

The annual Dragons’ Den MsC team project ended brightly on Wednesday.

Kruncheese was announced the Dragon’s winner, an innovative crunchy soft sweet cheese, that beat out competition from Protein Pizza and Twinkle cookie!

The winning team received a cash prize as well as a Food Science goody bag.

An exciting brief, the task revolved around mashing interesting concepts from different food products together to create a healthy novel food product idea.

A year’s hard work culminated in a day full of tasty food and probing questions. Displaying their products, along with posters the groups presented to a lab full of students and staff alike before undergoing a main presentation to the Dragons themselves!

This year the Dragons consisted of the following:

Prof Alan Mackie  (Head of School)

Dr YunYun Gong (Associate Professor in Food Safety & Security)

Dr Maria Fructos (Visiting Researcher from Spain)

Dr Christopher Pask (Experimental Officer in Chemistry)

Students in South Africa

The School offered students a life changing opportunity to head to South Africa to help GAGA UK, whose mission is to generate growth for African children and communities devastated by HIV-AIDS and poverty, through the goodwill of people in the UK and elsewhere.

Over three weeks in the summer the project gave the students a wide ranging set of experiences that centred on helping local communities get to grasp with nutritional values and to experience the damage that the HIV virus has caused there.

Employability Enhancement Officer - Laura Pearson, whom led the trip commented: "The trip has been a great success and the students have taken so much away with them in particular experiencing nutrition in a developing country."

Here is an account from Esther Koh who highlights some of her experiences from South Africa:

Sawubona (Hello in Zulu)! This is Esther reporting from Greytown in KwaZulu-Natal. I will be sharing with you some insights on what we have been up to in our final week and round up some reflections on the whole trip.

On Monday and Tuesday, we revisited 1000 Hill’s Community Centre, Hillcrest Aids Centre and the White House. Tabitha, Lizzie, Mos and I had the privilege of having a conversation with one of the healthcare workers working in Hillcrest Aids Centre. He is called Tzam; a physiotherapist, counsellor and administrative officer. He shared with us the diet patients are fed with and the daily struggles they face. His love and dedication to helping them is very inspiring. On Tuesday, Tabitha and Lizzie headed back to Hillcrest and did a nutritional analysis of their meals. Their diet mainly consists of high protein foods and plenty of water. However, for patients under palliative care, food is used for comfort instead and patients had the freedom to have whatever food they desire. ARV’s (Antiretroviral) drugs for the HIV patients must be taken after food (once a day at 8pm) for it to take effect.

Singing and dancing with the local grannies on Wednesday morning in the Valley of a 1000 Hills was one of my favourite moments of the trip. Dressed in their traditional Zulu costumes, they warmly welcomed us with songs and dance. We joined in the fun as well, though we still couldn’t master the high Zulu kicks. Phindiwe is the head of the grannies and was there with us to help with translation. Most of these grannies are going through tough times; loss of their children to HIV and having to take care of their grandchildren (a.k.a hourglass community), battling with depression and physical illnesses etc. I’m glad that they are getting support from Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust, and to know that they have one another to fall onto when they need support is really comforting.

We also did an in-depth nutritional analysis of the “STOP HUNGER NOW” Meal Pack. It is an emergency meal pack which LETCEE (Little Elephant Training Centre for Early Education) used to feed the Greytown community. We concluded that the recommended serving portion was insufficient to feed the children. We then provided suggestions to Mary on how we could improve the calorie density and nutritional quality of the meal.

On Thursday, Mary and Annika brought us into one of the villages that has benefited from their work. It is called Njenjabantu village, meaning “This is the people”. There was a toy library and a vegetable garden on site. Villagers practice giving 10% of the crop produce back to the community. There is a saying in Zulu called “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu” which translates to “a person is a person through other persons”. We affirm our humanity when we acknowledge that of others.

On our last “working day”, we went to one of the LETCEE barracks. Tabitha, Mos and I tidied up the toy library while Katie Brown, Katie Allen and Lizzie did a nutritional analysis of the childrens' breakfast porridge. In the afternoon, some of the kids were very sweet and sang some songs- including Shakira’s Waka Waka- for us before we left. Goodbye hugs and off we went.

It has come to the time when we pack our bags and fly back home to the UK. The hours the 6 of us have spent together discussing and preparing lesson materials had bonded us together by the end of this trip. We are so grateful to Sarah and Laura for giving us this once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the beauty of South Africa, the warmth of its people, and the chance to use our nutritional knowledge to make a difference no matter how small the impact might be.

I shall end with some wise words from Mary, the founder of LETCEE: “Do not ask for what you can have; instead think of what you can leave behind”. All of us ought to learn to be conscious consumers, to be contented with whatever we have, always show kindness to everyone, and never hesitate to lend a hand to our community.

Ngyiabonga (Thank you), and may God bless you.

Signing out,


School labs win big for sustainability

The School laboratories have won no fewer than 4 Sustainability awards ranging from the Platinum Plus award for the Teaching Laboratories (Food Analytical lab + Food Technology lab) to the Bronze award for the Food Biochem Research Laboratories.

Captained by the efforts of the technical team against at least 28 separate categories of criteria for marking, the awards signify an impressive milestone for the school, who are now the only School in the University to have both teaching labs at the platinum plus level. The school has shot up the tables within the University for Green Impact, vaulting into the top third of schools and services in just 12 months!

Led by the Vice Chancellor and held annually, the sustainability awards recognise efforts around the University for promoting and diversifying work around sustainability. The awards are of growing importance to schools who can look to reap savings from using green initiatives and make a sizable difference to the University’s carbon footprint.


Whilst the marked improvement is impressive, there are already plans for the 2018 awards to further improve our Green impact and aim for at least bronze awards for all labs within the school.

Dragons Den project ends with a roar!

The annual Dragons’ Den UG final year team project ended with a roar on Friday. 

It gave the Dragons great pleasure to announce the winner of this year’s competition as L’avocat – an innovative Avocado based frozen dessert without any dairy – Yes this now exists!

The winning team will receive the Marks & Spencer Innovation Prize (£100 awarded to each team member by M&S) at the summer graduation ceremony. 

The students were given a brief and asked to work as a team to develop a novel food product, this year’s theme being sustainability. 

The day consisted of morning poster presentations to academics and the general school on the product, which conveniently included taster samples. 

Following this students fiercely entered the Den and pitched their product to the Dragons with their own individual quirky style. The well experienced and knowledgeable Dragons whom also proudly consisted of our Alumni came from different backgrounds: 

  • Dr Kelvin Tapley (Pro-Dean for Student Education)
  • Rosemary Wilkinson (Marks and Spencer)
  • Simon Branch (Goldenfry)
  • Erika Valicka (CP Foods)
  • Prof Francisco Goycoolea (Chair in Biopolymers)


The Dragons put the students to the test with difficult questions about the product cycle, shelf life, industrial scaling, costing, health & safety and marketing. 

The products ranged from lentil dips, frothy drinks, skinny steamed muffins and universal food influences from Italy, China and Japan. 

Overall, the Dragons were extremely impressed with the research, team work and professionalism of the students, going as far as to comment that ‘there were some key marketable products that would succeed in industry.’

Tareem Ghouth, UG from the winning team commented: 

“Designing and making a product from scratch to finish and seeing it in person ready to launch was a gratifying experience. Being involved in all aspects of the production to launch process was very stimulating as it allowed me to have a look at the food science industry from my nutrition background. It was very exciting to present our product to the Dragon's and try to sell it, it was also interesting to see what kind of questions people from the industry have and what they are looking for. It was overall a very interesting and fun experience, as I have gained many skills throughout the project such as speaking, team working, communication, research and problem solving skills.”

The Dragons did struggle to make the winning decision due to the high quality of all products, the runners up in second place were Sustain-a-bites with an original cricket flour based sweet snack for those on the go and finally in third place were Plentiful, a lentil based dip – all products were equally as innovative and scrumptious!


Leeds moves up in Complete University Guide 2018

Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds has moved up to 2nd place in the latest Complete University Guide, and the University of Leeds has climbed 2 places.

The School of Food Science and Nutrition was already ranked within the UK's top 3, and the move up to 2nd place further cements our position as one of the best places in the country to study.

The School is now ranked in the top 2 in major rankings lists such as The Guardian's University League Tables (ranked 1st), The Sunday Times' Good University Guide, and the Complete University Guide.

Offering a comprehensive ranking of over 140 UK universities, the Guide reviews a range of criteria, including student satisfaction, graduate prospects, student-staff ratio, research quality and investment in facilities.

The Complete University Guide 2018 ranks Leeds in 14th position, up from 16th. It follows Leeds being named University of the Year 2017 by The Times and The Sunday Times’ Good University Guide.

Professor Alan Mackie: Inaugural Lecture

Professor Alan Mackie wowed the crowd with his exceptional inaugural lecture, themed Food: Where Does it All Go? 

The newly appointed professor, celebrated an important milestone with family, friends, colleagues and the wider general public in the Great Hall on Friday. 

The event was opened by the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Steve Scott with the words: “The School of Food Science & Nutrition is a gem in the University.” The Dean went on to comment on how impressed he is with the 5* research and new appointments which are part of the plan to grow the School in a positive direction. 

Alan Mackie naturally took to the stage and presented an overview of his contribution to the Food Colloids field and highlighted his research interests. Alan started off by defining what food is, and how wrong things can go when we get the energy balance wrong, most specifically with obesity and type 2 diabetes. He went on with the audience to explore health by stealth, with the plant based eating approach seeming to be the future. Fascinating imagery was used to show how food alters through the body whilst it is being digested, this led him to question whether digestion can be altered by a meal that sediments in the stomach and thus could be used to increase fullness and decrease hunger. 

Alan Mackie concluded his talk emphasizing human evolution and the need to reconnect with our food. However, it wasn’t just the Science that we had an insight on but also the next steps for the School. Professor Mackie stressed the importance of international collaboration as well as local impact and exploring and linking new topics such as crop biology to food processing and to health. 

Professor Mackie thanked his family, friends, collaborators and colleagues for all the support throughout his academic career. 

The Inaugural was a very successful event with people travelling from different parts of the world to show their support, the evening finished with an open buffet and all thanked Professor Mackie for his hard work.

Professor Alan Mackie's Profile: 

Alan Mackie is Professor of Colloid Chemistry, appointed in September 2016 after a career based at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich. Alan's principal research interest is in tailoring of food structures for improved health benefits. This involves research in the following areas:

• Using processing and formulation of dairy based protein systems to control nutrient release and regulate satiety.

• Investigating the role of fibre in the upper GI tract including interactions with bile acids, as a potential agent to alter intestinal mucus permeability and alter the transport of food components into the colon.

Alan has worked with a wide range of UK sponsors including UK research councils, EU and other international funding agencies and in collaboration with a number of large national and international food companies. Potential visitors are very welcome to discuss related projects, funded for example via UK Research Councils (BBSRC and EPSRC) the European Union (e.g., EU Marie Curie schemes) or the Royal Society, etc.

Email - 

Dr Anwesha Sarkar at the Final Conference of EU FP7 Project “OPTIFEL” at Paris

Dr Anwesha Sarkar, Lecturer in Food Colloids in the School of Food Science and Nutrition, gave a talk at the final conference of the EU OPTIFEL project held on 1st February 2017 in Paris on "Objective measurement of physical and oral capabilities of elderlies: Insights to design novel food textures".

The University of Leeds is an active partner in the European project “OPTIFEL” (Optimised Food Products for Elderly Populations) coordinated by INRA, involving 26 partners from 9 EU countries, which received €3 million from the EU's seventh framework programme for research and development (FP7).

The final conference showcased and disseminated the project’s research outputs and was attended by nearly 90 health professionals, academics and delegates from catering and food industries.

Research led by the University of Leeds introduced a novel concept termed as “eating capability” that includes various measurable physiological factors, i.e., food handling, oral processing, oral sensing and cognitive capabilities. The talk by Dr. Sarkar explained this concept, which involved objective measurements of hand, oro-facial and tactile forces in 200 autonomous and dependent elderlies living in private, sheltered accommodations and nursing homes in the UK and Spain.

She highlighted that the elderly population is not a homogeneous group just based on age. In particular, measurement of oral processing capabilities holds stronger potential to choose the food of just-right texture.

Research, already published in Food Hydrocolloids and Food Quality and Preference has revealed interesting results on real oral processing difficulty perceived during a non-regulated eating process of mixed hydrocolloid gels of different inhomogeneity and real food systems. Dr. Sarkar revealed exciting relationships between eating capability forces (in particular bite forces) and oral processing parameters (chew cycles, swallowing time), depending upon the structural complexity of food matrices.

Dr Sarkar’s recent interview in Food Navigator can be followed in this link:

ASHA award for Professor Chen

Professor Jianshe Chen has received an "Outstanding Contributions in International Achievement" award from ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) for the work he started at Leeds on texture standardisation for dysphagia patients.

Well done Jianshe!

New spin-out firm tackles diet-related disease

Professor Janet Cade has founded a new company, Dietary Assessment Ltd, that will help track and analyse dietary intake.

Thanks to initial investment from the University’s Enterprise Fund, the company has developed an online tool, myfood24, which allows researchers, teachers, health professionals and dietitians to monitor diet and analyse food and drink consumption to help reduce and manage diet-related diseases such as diabetes.

Read the full story on our news page ›

Food science and nutrition event a great success

The School of Food Science and Nutrition led a successful event at Weetwood Hall, Leeds, in January, where industry professionals and academics came together to network and discuss the role of fats in food and health.

The day was well-attended, with industry figures such as Andy Keatings, ‎Global Chief Quality Officer at Kraft Heinz, Hugh Powell, External Research Coordinator at Nestlé, and Harry Barraza, Head of Open Innovation at Arla Foods amongst the attendees. Representatives from Mondelēz, Dairy Crest, Morrisons and Quorn also took part in the event.

The event programme included presentations of industry-relevant research conducted at the University of Leeds, poster sessions, and speakers from industry and academia. Keynote speakers were Dr Mohamed Gad, Head of R&D at Application Santé Lipides, Dr Stéphanie Marty-Terrade, Senior Lipid Scientist at Nestlé, and Dr Bernadette Moore, Associate Professor of Obesity, University of Leeds.

Attendees described the event as facilitating “excellent interdisciplinary collaboration” and praised the “relevant information” and “good networking opportunities” that the event provided. One attendee commented “I really enjoyed the meeting, especially the multidisciplinary nature of the approach, good work!”

Another attendee said: “Very relevant information. I am motivated to seek more contact time with the University of Leeds.”

Caroline Orfila, chair of the event and Director of Research at the University of Leeds, commented: “We were very pleased that so many industry representatives and researchers attended the event. The industrial and scientific talks stimulated many debates, and attendees took advantage of the networking breaks to discuss how the food industry can contribute to increase healthy choices for consumers.”

For more information on this event or other networking and collaboration opportunities, contact

Student Izy Hossack wins 2016 YBF award for food sharing

Leeds Food and Nutrition student Izy Hossack has won the 2016 Young British Foodie (YBF) award for Food Sharing.

Since being introduced 5 years ago, the YBF awards celebrate new and emerging talent in the British food and drinks industry. 

Izy started her blog 'Top With Cinnamon' as a teenager, and has since published her own cookbook. She has also amassed more than 200,000 followers on her food-based Instagram account.

Congratulations Izy!

Too Few School Packed Lunches meet Nutritional Standards

Only a tiny proportion of children’s packed lunches are meeting nutritional standards, despite high-profile awareness campaigns, a study led by Dr Charlotte Evans has found.

The study found that just 1.6% of primary children’s packed lunches met the nutritional standards set for their classmates eating in the school canteen. 

Less than a fifth (17 per cent) contained any vegetables or salad, while more than half (52 per cent) contained too many sweet snacks.

Dr Charlotte Evans said: “I hope the results of the study are an eye-opener, highlighting that more stringent policies need to be introduced if we want to see real change in the nutritional value of children’s packed lunches. New policies for schools, food manufacturers and retailers are needed, which will require strong support from Government and stakeholders if progress is to be made.”

The research was commissioned by food brand Flora as a follow up to a 2006 study by the University, which found that only 1.1 per cent of children’s packed lunches met national standards for school food in England. 

Today’s report illustrates that packed lunches have only improved by 0.5 per cent in 10 years. 

Few of the packed lunches met the standards for vitamin A (17 per cent), iron (26 per cent) or zinc (16 per cent), most likely due to the lack of fresh salad and vegetables and un-processed meat or fish.

However, on a more positive note, there has been a considerable reduction in the consumption of sweetened drinks (46 per cent in 2016 vs. 61 per cent in 2006), and 93 per cent now meet standards for protein.


Dr Ho honoured by ISEKI-Food Academy

Dr Peter Ho was nominated as a fellow of the ISEKI-Food Academy (IA) during the 2016 ISEKI_FOOD conference in Vienna, recognising his professional reputation, international work in the food industry and his contribution to the food science profession.

The IFA aims to establish and maintain a network between universities, research institutions and companies in the food chain This is achieved by promoting synergies between research, education/teaching and industry, developing a virtual community of experts in the field of food, with communication to the general public and establishing a framework of agreements among partners, which fosters mobility of students and staff and stimulates the development of related projects. It also works towards the quality assurance of food studies by tuning curricula, developing teaching materials and teaching methods, cooperating in the implementation of quality criteria in the food chain and accrediting food studies.

Peter is a Lecturer in Food Processing within the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds, with research interests in sensory science, food product development, process measurement and food analytics. He has co-edited two books in the Springer series on Integrating Food Science and Engineering Knowledge into the Food Chain. He developed the MSc Food Quality and Innovation course and has been its programme manager since 2010, as well as BSc and MSc course modules in sensory science, quality assurance, product development, and product design and optimisation. He has received University funding to redevelop undergraduate course modules that aim to improve graduate employability and integrate transferable skills training into the curriculum.

Peter has been involved in ISEKI_Food projects (ISEKI_Food 2-2005-2008; ISEKI_Food 3, 2008-2011 and ISEKI_Food 4, 2011-2014), as a working group coordinator in the Quality Assurance of Food Studies and in the FP7 Track_Fast project as a working group coordinator in the “European accreditation framework for continual professional training and career development for the food professional”. 

Peter is also a member of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (UK), a board member of the ISEKI-Food Association and the EQAS Accreditation Commission. He is currently involved in the ERASMUS+ Knowledge Alliance project on the development of the European Food Studies and Training Alliance.


Dr Yun Yun Gong

Dr Yun Yun Gong Associate Professor in International Food Safety and Security is from a public health background by training. Yun Yun obtained a PhD degree in Food Toxicology in 1999 and then started her research fellowship at the University of Leeds in 2000. She became a Scientific Visitor at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2013. After thirteen successful years in the School of Medicine, she moved to become a Reader in the Institute for Global Food Security, Queen's University of Belfast. Yun Yun returned to Leeds to join the School in July 2016 as an Associate Professor in International Food Safety and Security.

She has a strong interest in research on dietary exposure to harmful chemicals (especially mycotoxins) and human health outcomes e.g. child stunting, cancer and reproductive health, and the prevention of mycotoxins exposure in the Africa communities, working together with multi-disciplinary expertise from agriculture, plant science and policy makers. Her other research interests include understanding the relationship between diet and cancer, and conducting food safety risk assessment with a global perspective. She applies both epidemiological and laboratory biomarker techniques in her research.

Dr Gong has led several large international collaborative research projects and has generated many high impact publications in the field. She was a working group member evaluating aflatoxin and human health for the WHO/IARC in 2014, and is currently a working group member for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on fusarium mycotoxin risk assessment. She has served as a lead of a global expert team to prepare a series of scientific reports on aflatoxin and human health to guide government policy making for the East Africa Community (EAC).

Dr Gong currently holds an Honorary Team Leader position in the China National Center for Food Safety and Risk Assessment.


Food Science Summer School Success

The School held its 4th annual Food Science Summer School in June, where 38 students from all over the UK visited us for the 3 day event.

The students took part in a variety of activities which would enhance their knowledge and develop their skills, one of these being performing a lab experiment to investigate the vitamin C content of differently processed orange juices. Students also determined the problems associated with melt in the middle pudding designs and had the opportunity to visit a factory, as well as experience student life here at Leeds. 

We received some fantastic feedback from attendees and hope to do it again next summer. The scheme was supported this year by ASDA, Taylors of Harrogate, Blue Earth Foods and Marks and Spencers. 


Improving nutritional knowledge in South Africa

A group of students were given the opportunity to travel with our employability enhancement officer Laura Pearson and direct of GAGA UK Sarah Hodgson to South Africa, as part of a volunteering trip to improve nutritional knowledge of local communities. 

The students carried out a variety of projects in the local communities, such as workshops at primary schools, which involved them utilising their knowledge about food and nutrition to educate those in a less developed country.

For more information regarding the trip and future opportunities you can contact Laura directly. 


Public Health Nutrition Medal Winner

Dr Charlotte Evans, a lecturer and current admissions tutor in our school, has recently been awarded the 2016 Public Health Nutrition Medal for her abstract 'Sugars and Health: Current Evidence and Future Policy.' 

The Public Health Nutrition Medal recognises excellence in the field of Public Health Nutrition.  The medal is open to Nutrition Society members whose work has had significant impact on local, regional, national or international policy or delivery, or the evidence base in public health nutrition.  Dr Evans now has the opportunity to present at the 2017 Summer conference.  

Applicants for this award are generally expected to have up to 20 years' relevant experience in order to have generated sufficient evidence of excellence and have made an impact on public health. Applications for this award were judged by a panel of distinguished nutritionists from a variety of institutions and areas of expertise. 

Visit the Nutrition Society website to find out more.

Nutrition student completes GB Olympic team triumvarate

Congratulations to Gordon Benson, currently studying for a BSc in Nutrition, for being selected as part of Team GB’s Olympic Triathlon men’s squad, going to Rio alongside Alistair and Jonny Brownlee.

University of Leeds students and graduates claimed every place in Team GB’s Olympic Triathlon men’s squad, which was officially announced at the city’s Civic Hall on 7 June 2016.

Jonny Brownlee (BA History 2012) and brother Alistair Brownlee (BSc Sports Science and Physiology 2009) are joined by Gordon Benson, currently studying for a BSc in Nutrition.

All three continue to make regular use of training facilities at the University’s sporting facilities, including The Edge swimming pool, which Alistair Brownlee described as ‘a fantastic pool and a great facility’.

See the full story ›

Daniel Clarke wins the IFST Young Ambassador Prize for the second year running

For the second year running, Daniel Clarke (2nd Year, BSc Food Science and Nutrition) has been awarded an IFST (Institute of Food Science and Technology) Young Ambassador Prize. Daniel’s winning essay on the theme of “Food Sustainability: waste not, want not” was determining potential alternative uses of waste generated from the coffee industry.

His second year winning entry was an essay on the theme of food sustainability essay and it was based on the potential for coffee revalorization. In the industry and in homes coffee silver skins and spent coffee grounds are seen as food waste so finding uses for them would reduce food waste and also help the environment as they are both toxic to soil. Both components have anti-microbial and antioxidant properties so could be recycled into food products. Spent coffee ground could also be used as alternative green energy in the form of a biofuel.

Daniel's first year winning entry was based on the theme of food safety, in particular photosensitisation.

Daniel says "I registered for IFST as a student member around February last year to try and get more involved with my subject outside of my degree. I would highly recommend to others that they enter whether they do a food science degree or not. Professionals throughout the food industry attend IFST events across the year and it has given me the opportunity to network with them and get my name out there. My C.V looked quite bare before I entered the IFST but now it has given me more than enough to talk about, not just related to the IFST itself, but to industry professionals and the information I have learnt from the talks they have given."

Inspirational Teaching Award 2016

Congratulations to Dr David Hauton for winning the Inspirational Teaching Award at the Annual LUU Partnership Award Ceremony. 

For the past four years, the University of Leeds has lived by the terms outlined in The Partnership, an agreement setting out the mutual expectations that members of the University have of each other. The Partnership Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements, commitments and impact of students, staff, and postgraduate researchers here at Leeds. Over 1200 nominations were received across the 11 categories. 

The Inspirational Teaching Award is based on those who have used their passion and dedication for a subject area to inspire others to be ambitious, enthusiastic and challenged to develop new ideas. 

The full awards listing and further information can be found here.  

WHO Collaborating Centre

The School has been selected by the World Health Organization (WHO) to become the first WHO Collaborating Centre in Nutritional Epidemiology. 

Dr Jayne Hutchinson and Miss Holly Rippin have already produced a report for WHO, analysing the trans fatty acid content of UK diets using the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, comparing 1997 with 2010-12 data. 

Non-invasive sensing for food reassurance

Consumers and governments are increasingly interested in the safety, authenticity and quality of food commodities. This has driven attention towards non-invasive sensing techniques used for rapid analysing these commodities.

A paper published in the Royal Society of Chemistry Analyst journal provides an overview of the state of the art in, and available alternatives for, food assurance based on non-invasive sensing techniques.

Read the review ›

Welcome to our new Associate Professor

This month we welcome Dr. J Bernadette Moore, Associate Professor of Obesity, to our School.  As part of her longstanding interest in obesity, Bernadette’s current research is focused on characterizing the molecular basis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). 

Read more ›

Top 10 food blogs to watch in 2016

Food Science and Nutrition student Izy Hossack is About Time’s number one food blog. Izy’s food blog ‘Top with Cinnamon’ started when she was 15, and she published her first book in 2014.

Take a look for yourself ›

Leeds signs Memorandum of Understanding with Jiangsu University (JSU)

The two universities signed a Memorandum of Understanding during a recent visit from JSU’s President Yuan Shouqi to the University’s School of Food Science and Nutrition.

A new collaboration between the University and Jiangsu University in China aims to establish a joint research centre for food reassurance which will seek to accelerate the development and application of food safety and sensing technologies and solutions.

Professor Malcolm Povey, who is leading the collaboration at the University, says:  “We aim to establish a UK-China joint laboratory on remote and non-invasive, non-destructive sensing for food quality and safety, which will enable us to maximise the resources and facilities in both universities.

“This is a key strategic activity for the University, as we have many internationally recognised experts in areas related to food sensing – including ultrasound, passive acoustics, microwave, terahertz, medical diagnostics, robotics, and optical techniques. Together with our engineering expertise, we also have leading exponents of the data analysis necessary to deal with data from multiple sources and modalities, and supply chain control. In addition to the academic leverage it gives us, the collaboration with JSU also offers greater investment and capacity in industrial or commercial strength engineering.”

The visit coincided with a Food Sensing Technology event which brought together food manufacturers, retailers and technology providers to discuss how improved food sensing technologies can better address food safety and quality.

International Lecture Invitation for Dr Anwesha Sarkar

Dr Anwesha Sarkar, Lecturer in Food Colloids in the School of Food Science and Nutrition, was invited to give a keynote speech at the “Food for Elderly International Conference” at Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China on "Eating capability of elderly subjects in UK and Spain: a quantitative assessment".

The conference was attended by 70 delegates with international speeches from different disciplines such as food colloids, sensory science, dentistry, physiology, regulations, packaging and nutrition. The conference was solely focused on oral processing challenges in elderly populations, an area in which the School has played a pioneering role. 

Within the next 15 years, nearly a quarter of European Union’s population will be aged over 65 years. With ageing, elderly people undergo progressive loss of muscle mass, natural teeth and coordination. Such weakening of physical capabilities together with reduced saliva secretion tends to cause difficulties in food manipulation. Such food management difficulty is associated with a risk of reduced food intake and malnutrition, which leads to frailty and dependency. To cope with this, nutritionally-dense foods have been traditionally proposed and are widely available in the marketplace, with little emphasis on the texture and associated pleasure of eating these food items. However, maintaining pleasure while eating is positively associated with a higher food intake and a better nutritional status. Also the elderly population is significantly diverse in terms of their needs, abilities, difficulties and resources. 

Research led by the University of Leeds had addressed this challenge and introduced a novel concept termed as “eating capability” that includes various measurable physiological factors, i.e., food handling, oral processing, oral sensing and cognitive capabilities. The talk by Dr. Sarkar explained this concept, which involved objective measurements of hand, oro-facial and tactile forces in 203 elderly subjects living in private, sheltered accommodations and nursing homes in the UK and Spain. The research, already published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, revealed an interesting linear relationship between the strengths of hand and oro-facial muscles. Also, the perception of food difficulty expressed by elderlies was correlated with their actual physical status using an eating capability scoring technique. This will help elderly carers to have a holistic quantitative assessment tool to measure the abilities of elderly people and tailor food with appropriate consistencies accordingly. 

Eating capability assessment was also used as an effective technique to relate with real oral processing difficulty perceived during a non-regulated eating process of mixed hydrocolloid gels of different inhomogeneity and real food systems. Preliminary resulted presented by Dr. Sarkar revealed interesting relationships between eating capability forces and oral processing parameters (chew cycles, swallowing time), depending upon the structural complexity of food matrices. Thus, the eating capability study holds potential for prediction of oral capabilities and thereby choosing the food of just-right texture.

Researchers attend Euro Food Chem XVIII Conference

Dr Joanne Maycock (Lecturer in Food Chemistry) was one of a group of Leeds researchers that attended the Euro Food Chem XVIII conference in Madrid in October. The subject of the conference was “Upcoming Challenges in Food Science” where future trends in food related sciences were discussed. The sessions on Functional Foods and Bioactive Constituents and Functions were of main interest to Dr Maycock due to her interest in proteins and bioactive peptides.

Merfat Almaghrabi (a PhD student with Professor Mike Morgan) presented a poster on her work on the use of immunoassays to detect aflatoxin in food and aflatoxin metabolites in human serum. The research is directly linking contamination in food to human exposure in Saudi Arabia.

Work Placement Student of the Year Award – School Recognition

The University of Leeds’s ‘Placement Student of the Year Award’ recognises the significant contribution that students make to their host organisation when working during their Industrial Placement Year.

This year the University recognised six students from the School of Food Science and Nutrition.

The students were nominated by their industrial managers for their exceptional contribution whilst on placement. The School would therefore like to congratulate Katherine Abbott; Grace Brocklehurst; Gagandeep Chana; Alexandra Guest-Williams; Hannah Ratcliffe  and Becky Weeks for their outstanding contribution and hard work during their placement year.

(Katherine, Grace and Hannah are pictured together with Prof Mike Morgan, Head of School and Laura Pearson, Employability Enhancement Officer)

The School’s students are in high demand for industrial placements because of their high level of employability skills combined with a high level of understanding in Food Science & Nutrition.

Academic Tutor, Dr Lisa Marshall commented, "It is great to see our students being recognised for their efforts whilst on their industrial placement. They work hard during their year and this shows the appreciation the employers have of the work our students do. We would also like to thank the industrial managers of our placement students for their support of our students during the year".

If any companies are interested in offering our students the opportunity to work in their organisation please contact our Employability Enhancement Officer Laura Pearson 

Dr Christine Bosch - International Visit

21 October 2015
Lecturer in Nutrition Christine Bosch has been awarded an International  Mobility Grant for Researchers to visit Miguel Hernandez University, Alicante, Spain for discussions and as a guest speaker.

Dr Bosch will give a special lecture in the Agro-Food Technology Department during October on the subject of in vitro and in vivo activities of quercetin.

The School has several research programmes looking at Havonoids, such as quercetin, funded by UK Research Councils, the EU and Industry.

School research now with Diamond

21 October 2015
Diamond is the UK’s National Synchrotron Facility, based at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus at Didcot. Prof Michael Rappolt and other colleagues from the School have been exploring the potential applications of using the synchrotron (a brilliant, pulsed light source delivering very intense as well as very low divergent light rays ranging from infrared down to X-rays) in food research.

It would be possible, for example, to look at the nanostructure crystallization of a cocoa-butter polymorph in real time rather than having to look at ‘still images’.

The following are four examples highlighting how key research questions in food science could be studied:

i) the investigation of scattering techniques to study emulsifiers and complex structures for reducing fat content in products (Products and Formulations);

(ii) imaging by fluorescence combined with microscopy help to understand how metals are distributed within raw ingredients (Sustainability and Waste);

(iii) spectroscopic techniques allow chemical fingerprinting of organic residues and trace materials (Packaging and Shelf Life), and

(iv) time-resolved experiments provide the opportunity to follow chemical changes during processing (Food Processing).

An industry-academia workshop (Engineering Research with Synchrotron Radiation Techniques held at Diamond on the 14/15th September, 2015) organised by Prof Michael Rappolt of the School and Prof Sven Schroeder (Faculty of Engineering) brought together key staff from Diamond with potential academic users from the University of Leeds and delegates from the University’s strategic industrial partners.

The aims were to (i) to inform about the possibilities in structure characterisation offered by Diamond for engineering research, to both Leeds academics and strategic industrial partners, (ii) to inspire researchers by presenting examples of successful use of Diamond’s facilities for fundamental, applied and industry-led research, (iii) to develop ideas for collaborations between the University, Diamond and industry, and (iv) to inform about the fit of such activities with the relevant national funding landscape, particularly with a view to the recently funded National Digital Design and National Formulation Centres.

A number of participants from industry and academia came together to present and discuss their actual scientific work and interests. Prof Rappolt (FS&N) gave a lecture on ‘Synchrotron Light Based Studies on Food’. Further participants from the School of Food Science and Nutrition were Prof Brent Murray, Dr Mel Holmes and Dr Anwesha Sarkar.

Best student poster prize for PhD student Heidi

August 2015
Last week final year PhD student Heidi Lai was awarded the prize for best student poster at the Summer Nutrition Society Conference.

Here is what she had to say about the prize and the research behind her poster.

"Recently, I attended the Summer Nutrition Society Conference, where the theme was about the future of animal products in the human diet: health and environmental concerns. My abstract was accepted for the Student Poster Competition under the theme of Public Health Nutrition, where I had 2 to 3 minutes to summarize my poster, followed by 4 to 5 minutes of questions and discussion.

My research was based on data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme, where I explored the association between fruit and vegetable intake and blood pressure in adults. One of the key findings in the study suggested that consumption of total fruits were associated with lower diastolic blood pressure. This finding would help support existing guidelines promoting the consumption of fruits for health, but do not suggest that any particular fruit type is more important than others."

Student takes gold at Food Innovation awards

10 June 2015
Undergraduate student Mhairi Gibb is part of a team of PepsiCo placement students which has been awarded the gold prize at the 2015 Ecotrophelia UK competition. 

Well done Mhairi! Read more ›

3rd Prize for research student at Showcase 2014

4 December 2014
On the 4th December the University held its 5th annual Postgraduate Research event – Showcase 2014 – which included a Three Minute Thesis and a Poster Competition.

Food Science and Nutrition had participants in both competitions, and the standard was very high. All shortlisted candidates should be highly commended and in particular Tugba Aktar, who won 3rd prize in the poster competition. Tugba, who is in the final year of her PhD (supervised by Dr. R. Ettelaie (Leeds) and Prof. J. Chen (China)) described her research into the importance of the texture of food. She was awarded her prize by the Vice-Chancellor Sir Allan Langlands during a ceremony at the end of the event. You can see Tugba's poster here

Find out more about the PGR Showcase 2014 here

Sustainable Agriculture - Travel Grant Awarded

Idolo Ifie, who is conducting research supervised by Dr. Lisa Marshal, Prof. Gary Williamson, and Dr. Peter Ho, has been awarded a travel grant of £1,500 by the University’s ‘Making a World of Difference Campaign’ ( sub-group ‘Sustainable Agriculture for Global Food Security’).

The grant enabled Idolo to travel to Nigeria to observe the planting and harvesting of Hibiscus sabdariffa which is used in the production of hibiscus wine. Idolo is interested in how processing conditions effect the bioactive compounds in the wine and the aroma profile of the wine, and therefore the trip was very informative.

Prize winners at 1st annual PGR Conference 2014


Earlier this semester the first Food Science and Nutrition Postgraduate Research Conference was held. This student-led event , which is planned to occur annually, was a great success, involving students from all research groupings in the School.

The day featured an extended talk from final year student Yuanlu Shi, followed by a series of shorter talks by 1st to 4th year PhD researchers and a poster competition. One of the organisers, Michael Houghton commented that “It was great to see all of the PhD students from the School of FSN come together and share their research. We had a rare opportunity to network in a School that is split across two sites and varies hugely in research activity. Feedback from all participants proved that the day was a huge success”.

Posters were judged by senior members of academic staff from the School and the Director of the Graduate School. Winners received Love2Shop vouchers, and were as follows: 1st – Alison Pyner; 2nd – Nanny Benjapor Phongnarisorn; 3rd – Idolo Ifie. (featured from right-to left in the photo).

Summer School success 2014

Over three days in early July, the School welcomed thirty six 16-17 year olds from Secondary Schools across the UK and abroad to participate in the Food Science Summer School. The event is now in its second year and has grown in popularity.

The students took part in a range of ‘hands-on’ activities including the popular ‘Smoothie challenge’ – the objective being to make a new Smoothie from a range of ingredients. The winning smoothie included chocolate and peanut butter! They experienced university life, staying in halls of residence on campus, as well as spending time with University of Leeds students. The event was sponsored by the IGD Technical Forum, with Taylors of Harrogate and Marks and Spencer providing speakers and resources for the activities. Students also visited the Fox’s biscuit factory which was a highlight for all.

The summer school provided a wonderful opportunity for students to experience for themselves the challenging nature of Food Science as an academic subject. We hope to see some of the same students starting their degree in Leeds in 2015!

“The food and activities were great and the career talks were a really good part as they were interesting and useful, making me consider careers not just in product design. Thank you again for the lovely and informative experience.”

Elisheba Anderson
Summer School attendee