Professor of Food Science
Professor Nazimah Hamid has always been passionate about food and its effect on people’s wellbeing.
Her interest stems from wanting to find healthy food alternatives with less additives, so people can lead healthier lives. Accessibility and affordability are also motivating drivers for Professor Hamid.
“I appreciate the power of food to nourish the body but it can equally contribute to diseases and illnesses; so it is important to study how food can be processed to benefit health."
Her research on non-thermal processing techniques as a value-added technique to improve nutritional and sensory properties of food in collaboration with University of Otago, where she used to work, attests to her passion for creation of healthy processed foods.
This passion has led Professor Hamid on research paths across the globe, working with a variety of food - from raspberries in Scotland as part of her PhD, to‘ Durian’ (commonly referred to as the King of Fruits) in Malaysia to kina, pāua and clams in New Zealand.
Although her areas of expertise are sensory science and food chemistry, Professor Hamid has recently focused on the flavour of food, specifically, how listening to music can modulate perceptions of taste. Research found that people’s perception of food changed depending on the genre and associated feelings about the music playing while eating ice-cream samples.
“Sight is overdone in cross-modal research in sensory science but there is little research on sound. Hence this project has the potential to change how people perceive sensory attributes of food by varying auditory stimuli."
As a result of this research project, collaborations with other international institutions are in the pipeline.
Professor Hamid moved into food science after originally enrolling in nutrition at the University of Nottingham and soon she wanted to make her contribution in academia. The combination of research with teaching is an area she enjoys, “I get to do what I like for a living – eating food for the benefit of others, while teaching and supervising students."
An example she shares is witnessing the journey of an undergraduate student from her first year in 2010 to a PhD student under her supervision. “Seeing them grow, and seeing them change over time is fulfilling. As my husband and four children know – my research students are like our extended family."