KU Leuven
PHD ON THE FORMATION AND RHEOLOGICAL PROPERTIES OF PROTEIN FIBRILS
KU Leuven
KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.
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JOB DETAILS
Published: 9 days ago
Application deadline: Jul 08
Location: Leuven, Belgium
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PHD ON THE FORMATION AND RHEOLOGICAL PROPERTIES OF PROTEIN FIBRILS

(ref. BAP-2018-405)

The KU Leuven Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Biochemistry (LFCB) and Soft Matter, Rheology and Technology lab (SMaRT) are recruiting a highly motivated person for conducting research on the interface of food chemistry and rheology. LFCB is a renowned research group in cereal science. It has expertise on all major classes of cereal biopolymer constituents and enzymes impacting these polymers: proteins, lipids, starch and non-starch polysaccharides. The group aims at integrating the knowledge which it generates to the benefit of understanding functionality in diverse biotechnological processes and exploiting the impact of cereals, pseudocereals and pulses on health. SMaRT investigates complex, micro- and nano-structured materials, encompassing a wide variety of time- and length scales. In the last years, the research in SMaRT has mainly focused on high-interface materials. Such multiphase materials encompass (polymeric) emulsions, stable or weakly aggregated suspensions with matrices consisting of various rheologies, foams and (flow-induced) crystallizing (bio)polymeric systems.

Project

This research will be part of the FWO-SBO-project ProFibFun: Tailoring food protein functionality by rational design of fibrillar structures. This multidisciplinary project involves six research groups (four at Leuven University and two at Ghent University) and teams up 1 postdoc, 4 PhD students and 2 half-time lab technicians. The goal is to explore the potential of protein fibrils for improved functionalities in food. Seven industrial partners are acting as advisors during the whole project.
This PhD project will be conducted in the framework of the above mentioned ProFibFun project.The Chair research aims at increasing insights in the formation,techno-function and nutrition of cereal and egg protein fibrils (amyloids) to improve the techno-functionality of these food proteins in industry. Proteins are important structural components in foods like bakery products, pasta, meatanalogues, dairy products and others. The production process often aims to form protein aggregates during heating or acidification. The type of aggregation is determined by the composition of the food matrix and the applied conditions.Controlling these factors is thus key to obtain improved functionalities. The objective is to investigate the use of seeds in single and complex protein systems and the impact on rheological behavior.
In this specific PhD topic, you will rationally tailor the level and morphology of protein fibrils and the rate of fibril formation from egg, wheat, maize and rice proteins by using seed fragments. Also, the impact of different types of proteins and other food constituents (e.g. salt, starch, sugar, etc.) on fibrillation will be examined. The complexity of food constituent mixtures will be gradually increased up to real food systems. In addition, the presence or absence of amyloid fibrils in commercial food products will be screened. Furthermore,the rheological properties (e.g. water binding, gelling, foaming, etc.) of the formed structures will be studied in-depth. In a final step, the well-chosen protein mixtures and conditions will form a base for the manufacturing of some selected food products.

Profiel
  • Master's degree in bioscience engineering, chemistry, biomedical sciences or civil engineering (with sufficient chemistry education) with distinction.
  • Strong motivation for scientific research is a must
  • Adequate knowledge of English for scientific discussions and writing
  • Willingness to work at interdisciplinary boundaries, in close collaboration with the other project members and the industrial partners
  • Previous experience with protein aggregation, polymer chemistry or rheology will be a plus
Aanbod

We can offer a fully funded PhD position for a period of 4 years, subject to meeting the requirements and deadlines set out by the supervisors and the Arenberg Doctoral School.

Interesse?

Meer informatie is te verkrijgen bij dr. Lomme Deleu, tel.: +32 16 37 67 78, mail: lomme.deleu@kuleuven.be of prof. dr. ir. Jan Delcour, tel.: +32 16 32 15 81, mail: jan.delcour@kuleuven.be of dr. Marlies Lambrecht, tel.: +32 16 37 67 81, mail: marlies.lambrecht@kuleuven.be.

Solliciteren voor deze vacature kan tot en met 08/07/2018 via onze online sollicitatietoepassing

KU Leuven wil een omgeving creëren waarin alle talenten maximaal tot ontplooiing kunnen komen, ongeacht gender, leeftijd, culturele herkomst, nationaliteit of functiebeperking. Hebt u vragen in verband met toegankelijkheid of ondersteuningsmogelijkheden, dan kan u ons contacteren via diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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