Tuesday, February 5, 2019

PhD Possition for Be-PROACTIVE

PhD student in: “Brewery Waste Mined Biopolymers as Bioactive Promoters of Probiotics Resistance to Environmental and In-Vitro Digestion Stressors” – Be-PROACTIVE
We are looking for:
Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Biosystems and Bioprocessing Group (BBE) is currently looking for a PhD student who will work on the valorisation of brewery waste mined biopolymers (proteins and polysaccharides) as alternative ingredients to prevent sub-lethality of probiotic cells under specific environmental and in-vitro digestion stress conditions.
Beer industry constitutes one of the largest food industry sectors globally. Following the mashing process, the insoluble part of the cereal grain (i.e. barley, wheat, rye etc.) known as brewers’ spent grain is considered as the major brewing waste. BSG is either used as a low added-value biomass for e.g. animal feed applications or disposed without any processing.
From a dietary point of view, BSG comprises a high amount of macronutrients including soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, proteins and starch as well as a plethora of micronutrients mainly phenolic compounds, minerals and essential lipids. Over the last two decades, several bioprocessing strategies have been developed in order to valorise fibre (arabinoxylans rich) fraction of BSG due to its substantial technological and bioactive potential. Recently, BSG protein isolates and their hydrolysed fractions have gained a lot attention as alternative protein source of valuable technological (gelation, foaming, emulsifying) and bioactive (immunomodulatory activity, protection against oxidative stress etc.) characteristics.
In the present project, we aim to valorise combined physical processing and bioprocessing strategies to produce BSG protein isolates (PIs) and soluble arabinoxylooligosaccharides (AXOS) of diversified techno-functionality (solubility, digestibility, acid gelation, interfacial properties, aggregative complexation etc.) and bioactivity (release of bioactive peptides, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity). The ability of the BSG PIs and AXOS (individually or combined) to promote gut inhabiting will be investigated in-vitro in terms of:
·         mucoadhesion i.e. BSG biopolymers – mucins interaction,
·         cell adhesion i.e. adhesion of probiotic cells to a cell culture model producing mucins as influenced by the probiotics cellular surface structure architecture (i.e. EPS vs non-EPS producing) and the presence of BSG biopolymers,
·         probiotic cells sub-lethality under typical environmental stressors e.g. heat, pH, oxygen and bile salts as influenced by BSG biopolymers (and their colloidal change throughout digestion)
·         bacterial growth and volatilomic analysis (SCFA) in simulating colonic media.
It is expected that that the envisaged research activities of the PhD project to be conducted in a collaborative manner between LIST (80% - main host institution) and Wageningen University and Research (20%), whilst the academic supervision and the PhD degree will be awarded by WUR.

We ask:
For this position, the PhD candidate should have:
§  a MSc in food science and/or technology, food engineering, chemical engineering or an equivalent program,
§  an interest in functional food innovation, nutrition and/or food biotechnology,
§  an interest in fundamental and applied research,
§  an independent, self-motivated and team working attitude and,
§  a good verbal and writing ability to communicate scientific and technical findings in relevant audiences,
§  an ability to manage small teams of junior researchers (e.g. MSc or BSc) and technicians, and
§  a good command of English language, whilst notions of French or German is considered as an asset.
We offer:
The PhD scholarship is fully funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg (FNR) via the Aides a la Formation Recherche (AFR) scheme. We offer an annual gross stipend of 42187€ (subject to salary indexation) for a total duration of 4 years. A fixed training and mobility allowance of 6000€ and an one-off travel lump sum are also foreseen.
More information:
For informal inquiries about this position, please contact:
Dr Christos Soukoulis (LIST, Luxembourg), E-mail: christos.soukoulis@list.lu or phone: +352661444083

Prof Vincenzo Fogliano (WUR, Netherlands), E-mail: vincenzo.fogliano@wur.nl or phone: +0031317485171