FST17: Novel dietary protein compositions for appetite regulation and obesity therapy

Obesity is a global epidemic with >1 billion adults classified as overweight or obese (WHO). Currently, the most effective treatment for obesity is gastric surgery, which is invasive, expensive and carries several risks and side-effects. Recent research has therefore focused on gaining a better understanding of the relationship between appetite regulation and obesity. Gut peptides, specifically the hormone Peptide YY (PYY), play a pivotal role in regulating appetite and energy balance. Macronutrients, particularly dietary proteins, are known to preferentially suppress appetite.

This study will identify specific dietary protein fractions that maximally promote satiety with the aim of utilising them in potent combinations as therapeutic oral supplements/food fortificants. Based on our preliminary studies we hypothesise that intestinal epithelial cells play a crucial role in PYY mediated appetite sensing, and specific amino acid compositions of dietary protein fractions can have a variable effect on PYY synthesis and secretion. Building on this background the initial aims will be to identify and combine specific bioactive protein fractions, and examine their effect on PYY secretion and the dynamics of conversion of PYY to PYY3-36. The scholarship will thus provide the PhD candidate an opportunity to start a career in a topical, interdisciplinary project that has potential to have significant clinical relevance in the area of obesity therapeutics and human nutrition.

The student will receive training in relevant techniques/technologies and gain expertise in a number of key project planning and analytical research and subject specific skills. The student will also take part in the University Graduate School and Faculty Doctoral Research Development Programme (DRDP) including transferable skills (eg presentation skills, scientific writing and employability skills) which aid in their future career progression. The student will also be encouraged to join relevant learned societies, which provide excellent support for students in terms of training opportunities and meetings to disseminate and publish their research.

Further enquiries

Please contact Dr M Gulrez Zariwala, [email protected].

Deadline

5pm on 10 February 2017

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Applications should be made to the Psychology MPhil/PhD programme and you should clearly state that you are applying for a Quintin Hogg Trust Scholarship and the Scholarship code (eg FST1) on your application.

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