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The Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition has an experienced team of researchers, with an international reputation.

We welcome students to apply for M.Phil and PhD under these topic areas (this is not an exclusive list):

  • Public health nutrition
  • Clinical trials of micronutrients in disease prevention
  • Food science and innovation
  • Cellular and molecular level nutrition
  • Clinical exercise interventions in disease prevention and rehabilitation
  • Performance enhancement through nutrition

Informal enquiries can be made to

Explore our research themes below:

Micronutrient Metabolism

Led by Associate Professor Sohail Mushtaq

The Micronutrient Metabolism Research Group is dedicated to unravelling the complexities of miocronutrients and their impact on human health. Micronutrients, which include vitamins and minerals, are essential for various physiological processes and play a crucial role in preventing diseases and promoting overall well-being.

This research group conducts cutting-edge studies to investigate how micronutrients are metabolised within the human body. By delving into the intricate biochemical pathways and mechanisms, researchers aim to understand how micronutrients are absorbed, transported, and utilised at the cellular level. Their work is instrumental in uncovering the relationships between micronutrient deficiencies and diseases, paving the way for innovative clinical interventions.

The group has carried out and published several registered clinical trials in the field, which have been published in international journals.

The group collaborates with multidisciplinary teams, including biochemists, nutritionists, and medical professionals, to conduct comprehensive research to advance scientific knowledge, improve public health, and enhance the quality of life for people around the world.

Key research areas:

  • The role of vitamin D in health and disease
  • The impact of vitamin deficiencies on iron metabolism and anaemia

Functional Foods Research Centre 

Led by Professor Weili Li

The Functional Foods Research Centre focuses on developments based on bioactive and functional food ingredients and their formulation for new product development for targeted nutrition across the lifespan. The impact and contribution of nanotechnology, novel processing and advanced packaging technology are integral to the Centre’s remit.

A key research theme of the Functional Foods Research Centre is to explore a mechanistic understanding of how food nutrients influence human cellular processes, how they impact on understanding of the human microbiome and how the responses vary through population groups and across the life-course. Within this research theme there is the examination of how the contribution of dietary patterns, individual nutrients, whole and processed foods and food structures promote or maintain health, or indeed have a detrimental effect on health outcomes.  Additionally, the ability to positively manipulate food products to enhance the bioavailability of micro-nutrients and other components of foods is investigated.

Research Centre Aims and Objectives

  • Development of techniques necessary to evaluate new ingredients, functional and bioactive compounds
  • Improve understanding of the relationship between food, health and consumer understanding and acceptance
  • Collaborative bids with industry for research and innovation funding to develop areas of biofunctional and bioactive nutraceuticals.
  • Development of a unique focus for research into EFSA health claim substantiation and regulatory compliance
  •  Evaluation of new food processing technologies
  • Applications of nanotechnology to the food supply chain
  •  Industrial partnerships and collaborations leading to generation of intellectual property and economic growth.

Packaging Initiative

Food safety remains a priority in new developments utilising nanocompounds and new technologies. The main risk associated with nano-sized particles relates to migration into food that may have an adverse effect on human health. Detailed toxicological analysis can be undertaken to mitigate any potential risk to human health. This area of expertise encompasses the crossover areas of smart packaging and nanosensors.

Research Activities

  • Development of a Food NIR database with commercial applications e.g. authenticity and fraud control
  • Development of novel extraction and measurement techniques for bioactive compounds and functional ingredients e.g. emulsifiers
  • Development of bioacessibility techniques and measurements of bioactive compounds using in vitro models
  • Applications of nanotechnology to food products; structuring of food components and biomolecular engineering; applications of new technology to packaging solutions
  • Effects of novel processing technologies on food quality and safety e.g. ohmic heating, RF heating, cold plasmas
  • Development of assays for rapid detection of allergens, contaminants, pathogens and  additives
  • Biomolecular ligands e.g. aptamers for food safety, quality and integrity
  • Development and Publication of Technical Notes

Hydrocolloids Research Centre 

Led by Professor Saphwan Al-Assaf

An international applied research for the food and beverage industry.

The Centre offers a wide range of services which involve the application of hydrocolloids in food systems such as thickeners, gelling agents, stabiliser, bulking agents, and emulsifiers. The Centre’s broad research objective is to remove natural built in variability and enhance functionality of hydrocolloids.

Key areas of research expertise at the centre include:

  • Emulsification Technology
  • Molecular weight characterisation of hydrocolloids
  • Gelling properties of hydrocolloids
  • Texture and rheology
  • Formulation and processing

Services to the industry

  • Optimisation of formulation and processing 
  • Emulsion characterisation: droplet size measurement, pressure  homogenisation, storage and stability testing
  • Structure – function relationship of hydrocolloids
  • Comprehensive texture and rheological studies of food and hydrocolloids systems
  • Quality system, molecular weight measurements using GPC-MALLS and FFF-MALLS
  • Specific training to meet industry requirements

About the Centre

Research and members.

Hydrocolloids plants

Hydrocolloids are materials of plant, animal or human origin which have extensive uses as food additives.

The Centre’s broad Research Objective is to “remove natural variability and enhance functionality” and develop new uses such as more reliable food additives, and new biomaterials for promoting health and to control disease.

Pictures of 3 laboratory facilities for Hydrocolloids testing.

Further information please contact:

Professor Saphwan Al-Assaf
Director Hydrocolloids Research
University of Chester
Parkgate Road
CH1 4BJ   UK
Tel +44(0)1244 511540