Doctor of Philosophy candidate
How can food science and nutrition inform the development of a vegetable-enriched bread that is accepted by consumers and has verifiable health claims? PhD student Isaac Amoah, an international student from Ghana and recipient of an AUT Riddet PhD scholarship, aims to answer this question through his doctoral research.
“It is already known that the food environment impacts on the development and outcomes of obesity and accompanying diet-related non-communicable diseases, including diabetes and hypertension. In New Zealand, bread is a commonly consumed food. Consequently, improving bread healthiness by enriching it with vegetables is a viable way of addressing the challenges that come with diet-related non-communicable diseases.
“For my PhD, I enriched bread with vegetables and validated its health effect. Firstly, I investigated how easy it is for older people to swallow and like the bread. I also tested how the consumption of the bread could help control glycaemic response and reduce appetite. Lastly, I investigated how consuming the bread for two weeks may improve blood carotenoids and lipid profile concentration.”
Isaac’s PhD research has been supervised by Professor Emeritus Elaine Rush and Dr Carolyn Cairncross. He has already had opportunities to share his work at the 7th International Symposium on Delivery of Functionality in Complex Food Systems Conference 2017, Riddet Institute Conference 2018; Food Structures, Digestion and Health International Conference 2019, and the AUT Three Minute Thesis competition 2019.
Isaac was also selected to join the New Zealand team that took part in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) World Case Competition in China where they finished as runner-up.
For Isaac, deciding to come to AUT for his PhD wasn’t a difficult decision.
“The opportunity to work under the tutelage of my primary supervisor Professor Emeritus Elaine Rush was one driving factor for me to come to AUT. She is an accomplished researcher and a well-known authority in the field of nutritional science. Prior to joining AUT, I had perused her published research articles and realised that her research interests align with mine. Together with my second supervisor, Dr Carolyn Cairncross, she had an immense impact on my research skills.
“I really enjoyed the friendly mentorship from my supervisors. They were just amazing and always available to provide sound guidance. I know the relationship I have established with them will transcend the borders of my PhD and I look forward to future collaborations with them.”
Receiving the prestigious Riddet Institute PhD scholarship enabled Isaac to study at AUT.
“The scholarship enabled me carry out my PhD research without struggle and gave me the opportunity to expand my research collaborations by attending seminars, student colloquia and conferences organised by the Riddet Institute.”
An intellectually stimulating environment
There have been many highlights throughout Isaac’s studies.
“The environment at AUT, particularly at the South Campus, is intellectually stimulating and my fellow PhD students made life there comfortable. We’re like a family and always support each other. The memories of the place will linger in my mind. The librarians, the Student Hub team and the IT team at the South Campus were also always ready to support me whenever I called on them.”
Isaac also enjoyed participating in a number of collaborations with researchers across AUT and contributed to research articles published in the International Journal of Food Science & Technology, Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, Frontiers in Nutrition and The New Zealand Medical Journal (Online).
“The nature of my research warranted a cross-faculty collaboration. The great support I received from Arno Sturny and Christine McDonald from AUT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism, and Dr Fabrice Merien from the School of Science is worth mentioning. They made the journey smooth for me.”