Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Science in Food Science
How can sugars be reduced in food products without adversely affecting food quality? That is the interesting topic Diksha Chadha is exploring for her PhD in food science.
“Past research has shown that consumers favour a high concentration of sugar in their food. Even though sugar is a good energy source and important in maintaining the different metabolic processes in the human body, a constant oversupply of sugar can lead to diseases like obesity, diabetes mellitus type 2 and insulin resistance.
“However, sugar reduction poses a major challenge for the food industry because products that are reformulated with less sugar can influence the appeal and character of the food product. That is why my research revolves around formulating sugar-reduced flavoured products using a blend of sweeteners to investigate changes in physicochemical properties, temporal sensory perception and dynamics in liking.”
Diksha’s research is supervised by Professor Nazimah Hamid from AUT’s School of Science, and her studies are supported by an AUT doctoral scholarship.
From bachelor’s degree to PhD
Her PhD isn’t her first time studying at AUT – Diksha first came to AUT in 2013 when she enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Food Science.
“When I was exploring different options, I came across AUT and found that it’s a university that is globally recognised and has so much to offer in the field of science in terms of all the pathways and courses it offers.
“I enjoyed my Bachelor of Science so much that when it was time to decide where to do postgraduate study I didn’t think twice and automatically applied to AUT. I came back to AUT for my Bachelor of Science (Honours) in 2018 and then decided to continue my interest in the research field by enrolling in a PhD.”
Expecting to complete her PhD at the end of 2022, Diksha already has a good idea what will come next.
“After completing my doctoral degree, I’m planning to pursue a career in new product development in the food industry.”
Inspiring and encouraging academic staff
The calibre of AUT’s academic staff is what Diksha is most impressed by.
“As a postgraduate student I realised that the researchers and professors here are exploring areas of research that haven’t been explored before. The academic staff and technicians at AUT have immense knowledge in their fields, and they always provide excellent guidance and support to all students.”
She appreciates the support she has received, Diksha says.
“The thing that I’ve totally loved and enjoyed during my research journey so far is that my supervisors allow my research to be my own thought process and work, but at the same time they steer me in the right direction whenever I lack any confidence. This has really helped me take my own decisions, learn from my mistakes and develop my confidence.”