Fully Funded Studentship Understanding the digestion of fats and fat soluble nutrients using NMR (WILDE_F14DTP)

Institute of Food Research – School of Pharmacy (UEA)

29 November 2013. Available from 1 October 2014. 


Professor Pete Wilde

The Project:

Many bioactive molecules such as drugs and nutrients are more soluble in lipids than in water. Therefore 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 readily absorbed by the body. During digestion, lipids are broken down into fatty acids and a range of polar lipids which form different structures as digestion progresses, including crystalline and amorphous phases to liposomes and micelles. Many of these lipid-soluble molecules are poorly absorbed, because these pathways and the role of the different lipid structures created during the digestion process is not well understood.

NMR spectroscopy is sensitive to short range magnetic interactions between molecules and is thus ideal for probing local interactions and structures. This project would aim to develop advanced NMR methods, using both low and high resolution techniques to resolve structures, interactions and molecular dynamics on a range of length-scales in different lipid structures created during the normal digestion process. The objective 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.

The structures would be further studied using a range of colloidal and surface techniques, in order to correlate observed changes in NMR spectra to physical and chemical changes observed in the lipid structures.

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The student would receive a broad range of training in a range of NMR spectroscopies available at UEA and across the Norwich Research Park, together with fundamental colloid and interface science in the context of human digestion with regards to nutrition and health at the Institute of Food Research. Theknowledge generated could help formulate pharmaceuticals and foods to improve the uptake of lipid soluble drugs and nutrients.

Entry Requirements:

2:1 or 2:2 plus Masters. English Language – IELTS 6.5 overall with 6 in each category. 


Due to funding restrictions funding for PhD studentships from BBSRC is available to successful candidates who meet the UK Research Council eligibility criteria including the 3-year UK residency requirements. These requirements are detailed in the BBSRC eligibility guidelines: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Guidelines/studentship_eligibility.pdf.

All candidates should check to confirm their eligibility for funding.

The current stipend for 2013/14 is £13,726 per annum.

Making Your Application:

For further information and to apply, visit the ‘How to Apply’ page via the Apply button below.

Additional Information:

In keeping with the postgraduate training policy of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) all students recruited onto this programme will be required to undertake a three months internship during the second or third year of their study. The internship will offer exciting and invaluable experience in an area outside of research, and full support and advice will be provided by a professional team from the UEA.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) – a collaboration between the Norwich Biosciences Institutes and the University of East Anglia. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the Studentship Competition. The interview dates will be the 14th and 15th January 2014.

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