This opportunity is now closed.

Funded PhD Opportunity

Biofortified meat: A potential vehicle for vitamin D enrichment and fortification (Bio-D Project)

This project is funded by: Devenish Nutrition Ltd Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI)

Subject: Biomedical Sciences


Summary

Evidence of both low dietary intakes of vitamin D, as well as poor vitamin D status is frequently reported in nationally representative population surveys. Preventing vitamin D deficiency is of vital public health importance due to its multifactorial roles in the human body, but most importantly for optimal musculoskeletal health. Our main source of vitamin D is endogenous synthesis following exposure to the UV-B light from the summer sun. With today’s modern lifestyles, however, it has become evident that this may not be an effective means of maintaining an adequate vitamin D status across the year. Therefore, we are reliant on topping up our body’s stores with food sources of vitamin D (both natural and fortified sources) and/or dietary supplements.

In 2011, the update of the Dietary Reference Intakes for calcium and vitamin D by the US Institute of Medicine prompted the re-evaluation of dietary reference values (DRV’s) for vitamin D in many other countries. Previously in the UK, there were no set DRV’s for vitamin D for the majority of the population (aged 4-64 years), as it was believed that adequate amounts could be synthesised from the sun. Such DRV’s were only in place for certain ‘at-risk’ groups, including infants/young children, elderly adults, and pregnant/lactating females (7-10µg/day). After considering the latest research, the Vitamin D Working Group of the UK’s Scientific Advisory Committee for Nutrition (SACN)(5) has recommended a Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for vitamin D of 10µg/day for everyone aged 4+ years. For infants (0-11 months) and children (1-4 years) old, a safe intake of 8.5–10µg/day has been advised.

Given the habitually low dietary intakes of vitamin D typically reported (2-4µg/day), and the generally low uptake of supplementation, it is clear that alternative food-based strategies are required to help the UK population meet these revised DRV’s. There is increasing evidence to support the role of vitamin D food fortification in maintaining or improving the vitamin D status of the consumer, and indeed, both mandatory policies and voluntary fortification practices are in place for a range of staple food products across the world. Emerging research, including studies lead by the current project team, have provided preliminary evidence on an innovative method to increase the vitamin D content of animal foods (pork, poultry, milk) by manipulating animal feeding and/or housing regimes. We are now ready to determine the effectiveness of these novel biofortification strategies as an innovative way to boost the vitamin D content of commonly consumed foods to help consumers meet the revised DRV’s for vitamin D.

This CAST award will involve four multidisciplinary and interrelated projects:

1.On-farm vitamin D biofortification of pork

2.Consumer acceptability of vitamin D-enriched meat products

3.Human trials designed to examine the bioavailability of vitamin D from the novel meat products (pork and poultry) and determine its efficacy to increase consumers’ vitamin D status

4.Dietary modelling to determine the efficacy of novel vitamin D-enriched meat products as a vehicle for vitamin D fortification in UK/Irish consumers


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Completion of Masters at a level equivalent to commendation or distinction at Ulster
  • Research project completion within taught Masters degree or MRES
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Work experience relevant to the proposed project
  • Publications - peer-reviewed
  • Experience of presentation of research findings

Funding

This project is funded by: Devenish Nutrition Ltd Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI)

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the home rate and, for applicants with UK residence only, a maintenance allowance of not less than £15,480 per annum for three years. EU residents may also apply but if successful will receive fees only.


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University


Reviews

Profile picture of Kieran O'Donnell

My experience has been great and the people that I have worked with have been amazing

Kieran O'Donnell - 3D printing of biological cells for tissue engineering applications

Watch Video  

Profile picture of Michelle Clements Clements

Completing the MRes provided me with a lot of different skills, particularly in research methods and lab skills.

Michelle Clements Clements - MRes - Life and Health Sciences

Watch Video  

Profile picture of William Crowe

Throughout my PhD I’ve been provided with continuous support and guidance by my supervisors and the staff at the University.I’ve also received many opportunities to further enhance my professional development in the form of teaching experience and presenting my work at conferences which will aid in my pursuit of a career in academia or industry.

William Crowe


Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 19 February 2018

Interview Date
6, 7 and 8 March 2018


Applying

Apply Online  


Contact supervisor

Dr Kirsty Pourshahidi


Other supervisors

Related Funded Opportunities

Role of B-vitamins in Epigenetic Modulation of Hypertension

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Engineering plasmid nanoparticles as a platform for delivery of therapeutics

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Diabetes

Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Graphene family materials as novel chronic wound therapeutics

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences|Computer Science and Informatics

 View details

Investigation of microRNA regulation and function in prostate cancer

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Role of novel cardiac biomarkers in cellular senescence

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Oxygen-generating biomaterials for use in wound dressing strategies

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences|Computer Science and Informatics

 View details

Development and evaluation of a web-based interactive teaching tool for Optometrists

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences|Computer Science and Informatics

 View details

The production of rhamnolipid biosurfactant by Pseudomonas aeruginosa growing in biofilms.

Closing date:
Tuesday 1 September 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

The regulation of rhamnolipid biosynthesis in Burkholderia thailandensis.

Closing date:
Tuesday 1 September 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Naturally-occurring microbial biosynthetic pathways for propane

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Genomic Medicine

Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Novel fatty acid receptors in islet cells as therapeutic targets for diabetes

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Interactome visualisation of ALS using virtual reality

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Stratified Medicine

Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Novel amphibian skin peptide-analogues for the treatment of type-2 diabetes

Closing date:
Friday 18 September 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Blue whiting protein hydrolysates for management of sarcopenia

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Targeted exendin/apelin hybrid peptides for diabetes and obesity therapy.

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Optometry and Vision Science

Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

MRes in Biomedical Sciences

Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Regulation of glucose metabolism by incretin signalling

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Mental Health Diagnosis using Cognitive Analytics

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences|Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

 View details

Identifying biomarkers that may affect diabetes comorbidity

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

The Growing Problem of Myopia: are spectacles part of the problem?

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Improving the screening and diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolemia

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences|Computer Science and Informatics

 View details

Computational approaches to investigate multimorbidity in depression

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

The role of dietary fatty acids and the gut microbiota on autoimmunity

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

A novel therapeutic targeting the inflammasome as a treatment for glaucoma.

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Nutrition and the gut microbiome: impact on brain health in older adults

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Investigation of oral and blood microbiome shifts in patients with depression.

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Vitamin D across the lifecycle to inform nutritional policies

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Epigenomic Profiling of Young Adults with Mental Health Disorders in Northern Ireland

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Investigation of the modifying effects of selenium in the relationship between methylmercury and child development

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences|Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Towards seeing clearly: does the shape of the eye’s optics affect our focus?

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details

Changing dietary patterns in the Seychelles and implications for public health

Closing date:
Friday 7 February 2020
Subject: Biomedical Sciences

 View details