Research Scientist – Dietary Modelling

Main Purpose of the Job

The post holder will expand data on the nutrient composition of foods to include dietary factors that modify iron and zinc bioavailability, to estimate iron/zinc bioavailability in foods and in dietary intake data. Some of these dietary factors are already included in national composition tables, but others such as polyphenols and phytate are not.

Compiling dietary factors will be done by a combination of literature search, accessing bioactives information in the Bioactive Substances in Food Information System database (eBASIS) and updating the information for future users. Polyphenols with galloyl and/or catechol groups are key modifiers of iron bioavailability and will be particularly important in this project.

The post holder will then work to select appropriate algorithms, such as the Hallberg & Hulthen algorithm, to estimate whole-diet bioavailable iron intakes in national (UK) data in the first instance but also in European datasets. Similar approach will be taken for zinc.

Finally, the post-holder will model scenarios of future dietary intake in the transition to diets from sustainable sources to enable optimal combinations of foods to maximise bioavailability of iron and zinc.

Key Relationships

The post holder will work closely with Dr Maria Traka on delivery of the project as well as other internal and external colleagues.

Internal: other members of the team around food composition data, other QIB Research Leaders, in particular Prof Martin Warren re micronutrients; QIB Communications to ensure project outputs are communicated externally

External: other project partners; University of Cambridge colleagues responsible for NDNS data; EuroFIR around eBASIS database; scientific community to disseminate output; funders

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