The Functional Foods Research Centre will focus 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 will be integral to the Centre’s remit.
A key research theme of the Functional Foods Research Centre will be 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 will be 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 will be 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.
Professor Weili Li, Director of Functional Food Research Centre
Professor Weili Li is an active food professional with excellent research skills, effective analytical techniques and valuable industrial experience within new product development, specializing in food formulation, sugar reduction and fibre increase.
Weili has been working at Institute of Food Science and Innovation of University of Chester since Aug, 2015. She is conducting research and enterprise projects and supervising MPhil and PhD students, along with teaching postgraduate courses. Her research interests focus on characterization of bioactive components and incorporating them into food products for adding health benefits. Currently she is working on (1) Extraction, modification, characterization and immune stimulating properties of bioactive fibre. (2) Development, incorporation and bioavailability improvement of nanoenmulsion for bioactive lipophilic components. (3) Functional food development for health and nutrition claims.
Dr James O'Reilly
Senior Lecturer, Programme Leader BSc Human Nutrition
Dr James O`Reilly has experience in evaluating the biological activity of dietary flavonoids in the human diet. This was followed by experience gained in the food industry as a project scientist before becoming senior lecturer in human nutrition at Chester in 2004. Dr O`Reilly is a Registered Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition (AfN No 2206).
He continues to have research interests in this area and presently undertakes studies in collaboration with the food industry.
Dr Sohail Mushtaq
Senior Lecturer in Nutritional Biochemistry, Programme Leader - MSc Human Nutrition, RNutr, FHEA
After gaining his PhD, Sohail joined the Human Nutrition Unit at the University of Sheffield as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, working on a Food Standards Agency (FSA) funded intervention study to determine the functional significance of marginal riboflavin status, with particular respect to iron absorption, in young women. In addition, Sohail also worked on a BBSRC funded project investigating role of riboflavin on the cell cycle, and mapping it’s precise cellular effects in terms of alterations at molecular and proteomic level.
At the University of Chester, Sohail leads the Micronutrient Metabolism Research Group which consists of several academics and PhD/MRes students carrying out clinical studies in relation to diet and health.
Dr. Richard Kwasi Owasi Owusu-Apenten
Graduate Biochemist, PhD Chemistry with a career long devotion and interest in food science, food and nutrition, food bio/chemistry and analysis. Research interests: Dietary antioxidants, Food proteins, Functional foods, Nutraceuticals; anticancer activity. Techniques of interest include, HPLC-MS, GC-MS, fluorescence and the development of high through-put assays. I am currently working on honey as novel sources of phytochemicals. UK Researchers.
Hydrocolloids Research Centre
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 & rheology
• Formulation and processing
Professor Saphwan Al-Assaf, Director of Hydrocolloids Research Centre
Current research interests mainly focus on the structure-function relationship of hydrocolloids, molecular assemblies, formulations, emulsion technology, encapsulation and radiation chemistry of hydrocolloids.