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Riddet Institute
Massey University
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North 4442

Phone:+64 6 951 7295

info@riddet.ac.nz

Careers

The Institute provides a challenging, yet supportive, scholastic environment for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows. Our students come from institutions all over the world to be part of our world-class learning environment. The Institute has an express objective of populating industry and academia with thoroughly trained high-achieving scientists. Many of our graduates go on to top positions in industry and academia. Some of our scientist’s profiles are below, sharing their thoughts on why they enjoy working at the Riddet Institute.

Meet our Scientists

If you are considering joining the Riddet Institute, here are some of our scientists talking about why they like it and the advantages it brings

Caroline Giezenaar

Dr Caroline Giezenaar, Postdoctoral Fellow

“I recently joined the Riddet Institute after completing my PhD at the University of Adelaide Medical School. I really like the international profile of the Riddet Institute – it has researchers from all over the world. I was welcomed here from day one and have found people in New Zealand to be relaxed and friendly. Palmerston North is a smaller town, which makes it a convenient place to live and its central location is ideal for getting away at the weekend.

The change for me has been the multi-disciplinary teams that we work in. It has been interesting to work with researchers from different backgrounds, and I was introduced to research that I have not been exposed to before. For example, I am now working with food technologists, which means my clinical findings can be translated into products, that are feasible for consumers on the market. My background in clinical research means I have been able to help scientists without this expertise, to help them, give advice, and conduct clinical trials.

At the Riddet Institute, I have the freedom to show initiative in my research and the support to develop useful skills for my future career. I am a project leader and I have been able to develop a strong network with both researchers and industry partners. This has been a steep learning curve but the skills I am developing will be very useful for my future career. I have a passion for research but I do like to see applicable results. I can see myself moving into industrial R&D where I can work on projects that are going to deliver products to the market to improve human health. The Riddet Institute collaboration with industry is a great pathway to get there.”

Dr Caroline Giezenaar completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide, Australia, in May 2018. Her research focused on the effects of ageing on whey protein digestion, metabolism and energy intake regulation, with the goal to optimise protein supplementation strategies for older malnourished adults. During her PhD, she published several articles in high-impact nutrition and geriatrics journals, and she received of multiple awards, including a research medal for academic excellence.

Caroline joined the Riddet Institute in September 2018, where she focusses on the digestion, absorption and metabolism of the amino acid tryptophan following ingestion of different protein sources. Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin and melatonin, which regulate mood, sleep, and cognitive function. With her research, Caroline aims to investigate whether tryptophan-rich protein has the ability to increase brain serotonin and melatonin production.

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Laura Payling, PhD Student

“I was working in the UK for DuPont and I listened to a talk about Protein for Animal and Human Nutrition, organised by an employee who had done his PhD at the Riddet Institute. I heard that the Riddet Institute was a great place to be and I had seen some of the interesting research first hand. The Institute has a family friendly feel to it, even though it has large numbers of students and staff – currently the Institute has over 100 PhD students. Within the first few weeks of arriving, you meet many people, and get to know everyone very quickly.

My first year at the Riddet Institute has gone very well. There is a strong network between the scientists so peer support is high. For someone looking for a more practical side to their PhD, there are good connections with industry available at the Riddet Institute. I like the Institute because there are many different opportunities for students outside of research. I am currently president of the student society, and that has given me, and many others’ leadership opportunities, and the chance to show initiative. We organise seminars to help educate other students and staff, for example.The Riddet Institute can provide more than just an education. The career progression is varied and so students coming from the Riddet Institute are of interest to both other academic institutions and industry. For students looking longer term to go into industry, a new opportunity under discussion presently is internships. This provides some experience and new networks, before you finish your PhD. As I already have a background in industry, I am not sure yet, whether I will remain in academia or return to an industrial role. But I certainly feel I have the opportunities to do both with a qualification through the Riddet Institute.

Laura started her PhD with the Riddet Institute just over 1 year ago. Laura is not new to industrial science and research having spent nearly 4 years working as a scientist in the Innovation Team at DuPont Industrial Biosciences in the UK. During that time, she worked on global research and development projects.

With a first class honours degree in animal sciences from the University of Reading, she has now transferred her skills to studying human nutrition. Her PhD is entitled ‘Dissecting the impacts of food structure on gastrointestinal microbial signalling networks to optimise nutrient uptake in human”. With experience in immunology, endocrinology, genetics, chemistry, physiology, nutrition, dairy production and practical work, Laura combines her scientific role with a love of horses, running and volunteering to support her peers and community.

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Laura Payling
Anant Dave

Dr Anant Dave, Affiliated Researcher

“I have always been interested in research, and learnt about the Riddet Institute from my ex-colleague at Nestle India Ltd. who came here for her doctoral studies. I chose the Riddet Institute to do my PhD primarily because of the research being undertaken at the Institute at the time. I have enjoyed working at the Riddet Institute both during my PhD and Postdoctoral projects. The multicultural environment at the Institute makes you feel very warm and closer to home.

One of the key things that the Riddet Institute provides is opportunities to collaborate with researchers across different institutions. This is vital for early career researchers like me. Being involved in the Riddet Institute’s research programme is a great step on your career path as the Institute not only inspires you to develop your expertise further, but also encourages you to diversify your research interests. For example, our research at Riddet resulted in the development of an iron fortification ingredient FerriProTM that is now being transferred to industry. Scientific work like this has the potential to make a real difference by helping improve the health of millions of people.Dr Anant Dave comes from Bilimora, a township in the western state of Gujarat in India. He completed his B. Tech. (Dairy Technology) and M.Sc. (Food Technology) in India.

After completing his Ph.D. (Food Technology) at the Riddet Institute, Massey University (2017), he worked at the Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ireland as a Postdoctoral Researcher for a year. Prior to joining Massey University, he worked with DuPont Nutrition and Health as an Application Specialist in the Dairy Applications Team. He has also worked with Unilever, Nestle and Amul in different technical functions and roles.

In his current role, Dr Dave is leading the technology transfer of iron fortification ingredient FerriProTM, to Nestle. His other research interests include understanding the structure of lipid/oil bodies in plants, their breakdown in the human gastrointestinal tract, and the relationship between structural assemblies from milks of different species and their impact on nutrient delivery.

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Nick Smith, PhD Fellow

“I was busy in a gap year, taking some time off and guiding tourists around the Abel Tasman National Park, but very much wanting to come back to study and research in particular. I knew nothing about the Riddet Institute before I started my PhD as I did my undergraduate degree in the UK, at Swansea University. I saw my post advertised with Riddet Institute and AgResearch and it did not really look like it was my area.

I had some good conversations with Riddet Institute scientists about what they did and how I could contribute to that. They talked me round from being reluctant to undertaking a PhD in this area, to being keen to get started. I saw the potential for the application of the work I had done on infectious disease modelling, in the context of the human gut. I now use a similar mathematical structure in this area, as it is a quick and easy way of doing something that would be difficult, or impossible, in a lab. My skills transfer quite well.

One of my favourite parts of completing my PhD at the Riddet Institute is the student community. With things like the Riddet Institute conferences, we all get together regularly. It very much feels like I immediately clicked into a group of people doing similar work to me. At AgResearch in Hamilton, I am the only nutrition scientist in the building and one of very few on the campus. The high number of students at the Institute is an advantage and even though we are working on diverse topics, we all have similar ground to cover and we support each other.

I have met many different scientists, within or through the Riddet Institute and this is the main benefit of being here. I have been lucky to attend many overseas conferences and labs and I know I get a great many opportunities with the Riddet Institute that you do not get in other institutions. I have visited many overseas institutions and met numerous people that will be important to my future career. I really enjoy telling other people about my research, getting up in front of people and explaining what it is. You stand up and tell people you are mathematical modeller and they fall asleep! However, getting them from that point through to “Oh I get it, that makes sense” is exciting. I am now halfway through my PhD and I would certainly be happy to stay in research in New Zealand. I enjoy what I am doing now, I have a great lifestyle and I am in a great place both with my research and within New Zealand.”

Nick is a PhD Fellow of the Riddet Institute, based at AgResearch Ruakura in Hamilton. Previously, he studied Mathematics at Swansea University in Wales, where he focussed on the mathematical modelling of infectious disease spread. He now uses mathematical modelling to analyse metabolite exchange between members of the human gut microbiota. The extent to which these cross-feeding interactions occur can change the profile of metabolites produced by the microbiota. Using mathematical modelling for the analysis of these complex interactions allows for inference not possible or practical to gain experimentally.

Read more

Current Opportunities

The Institute offers opportunities for postgraduate students, post-doctoral fellows and overseas research interns. It also has a Visiting Fellowship scheme for scientists who are leaders in their field. Postgraduate Scholarships are for full-time study. Internships for overseas students are offered for a period of up to six months

If you are interested in working within the Riddet Institute, monitor this page for available opportunities, or contact us with your expression of interest via our email address.

PhD opportunities in Food Structure | Microscale assembly of plant proteins
The performance and properties of food products, such as technical functionality, sensory behaviour and digestibility are inherently governed by the material structure. This applies equally to naturally assembled food structures, through to structures created by processing and formulation design as part of manufactured foods.
Understanding of this relationship allows the properties of foods to effectively be tailored towards specific consumer-preferred outcomes. At the Riddet Institute, this approach is being utilised towards the more effective utilization of plant-based raw materials in food product design. We are seeking three (3) qualified students with an interest in the structural assembly of food materials based on plant proteins for PhD positions within the Riddet Institute.

This PhD will focus on the manipulation of food structure across separate hierarchical length-scales (molecular, microscale and mesoscale) with the objective of optimizing ingredient functionality in the construction of model foods with specific product attributes.
The 3.5 year scholarship includes an annual tax-free stipend of NZD$30,000 and tuition fees. The project is funded by the Riddet Institute.
The research will be based in the Riddet Institute (www.riddet.ac.nz), located on the Massey Campus in Palmerston North. The Riddet Institute is a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence hosted by Massey University at Massey University, which is where the student will be enrolled.
The ideal candidate must have:
• A First-Class Honours or Second-Class Honours (Division I), MSc degree (or equivalent) or BSc degree with Honours (or equivalent).
• Motivation and self-determination to complete a PhD within 3.5 years.
• Excellent written and oral communication skills.
• Ability to learn, work independently and collaboratively, adapt to change, and plan, organise and implement projects in a timely manner; and
• Demonstrated high ethical standards, diligence, integrity, professionalism, politeness and courteousness, and be able to effectively work in a diverse team.

The application must include:

• Cover letter (1-2 pages), explaining your interest and why you think you are suited to the position.
• CV (summarising education, employment, scientific outputs, names of 3 references)
• Copies of educational certificates and transcript of records.

Your application (relevant documents mentioned above) must be submitted to the Researcher indicated.

– Microscale assembly of plant proteins

The time-dependent behaviour of surface-active adsorption layers at the oil-water interface can dictate emulsion behaviour in the bulk and at the microscopic scale. What if we could fabricate self-healing interfacial layers that benefit the stability of emulsions subjected to large deformations during processing, or their final application? The goal of our project is to investigate the rheological properties of interfacial layers of protein nanoparticles and characterise the breakdown and re-construction of the layers under stress. This project will take advantage of, and unite, the state-of-the-art bulk, surface and micro-rheology tools and expertise being applied here at Massey University to probe the properties of soft materials and their interfaces.
Contact Dr Catherine Whitby for further details or to submit an application (c.whitby@massey.ac.nz)

PhD Fellowship

Food combinations to optimise food digestion for targeted health benefits

We are seeking a PhD candidate for a fantastic opportunity
You need to be an enthusiastic learner and have demonstrated academic excellence in food science or engineering to undertake research on the interactions between solid foods during digestion and their impacts on food breakdown and ultimate health benefits to the consumer.
The PhD candidate will use in vitro and in vivo (growing pig model) models of adult digestion to study the breakdown behaviour and nutrient absorption in mixed meals that consist of combinations of solid foods. In addition to experimental studies, the candidate will apply quantitative approaches to analyse experimental data and conduct statistical analysis.
The 3.5-year scholarship includes an annual tax-free stipend of NZD$30,000 and tuition fees.
The project is funded by the Riddet Institute. This project is a collaboration between the Riddet Institute (www.riddet.ac.nz) at Massey University, Palmerston North, NZ and the Food Engineering Lab at the University of California, Davis, USA (https://faculty.engineering.ucdavis.edu/bornhorst/). The student will be enrolled at Massey University, New Zealand, to work under the joint supervision of Associate Professor Gail Bornhorst and Dr Alejandra Acevedo-Fani.

The research will primarily be undertaken at the Riddet Institute (www.riddet.ac.nz) in Palmerston North, with opportunities to work with collaborators at the University of California, Davis. The Riddet Institute is a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence hosted by Massey University and the student will be enrolled in the College of Science at Massey University.
The ideal candidates must have:

• A First-Class Honours or Second-Class Honours (Division I) MSc degree (or equivalent) or BSc degree with Honours (or equivalent) in an area of relevant science (eg food science, nutrition) or engineering (food engineering, biological engineering, chemical engineering).
• Motivation and self-determination to complete a PhD within 3.5 years.
• Excellent written and oral communication skills.
• Demonstrated excellence in research at the undergraduate or Master’s level.
• Ability to learn, work independently and collaboratively, adapt to change, and plan, organise and implement projects in a timely manner; and
• Demonstrated high ethical standards, diligence, integrity, professionalism, politeness and courteousness, and be able to effectively work in a diverse team across NZ and USA.

The closing date for applications is 20 MAY 2022.

The application must include:

• Cover letter (1-2 pages), explaining your interest, previous research experience, and why you think you are suited to the position.
• CV (summarising education, employment, scientific outputs, names of 3 references)
• Copies of educational certificates and transcript of records.

Your application (relevant documents mentioned above) must be submitted to: riddet.info@massey.ac.nz. Additional information regarding the requirements as a PhD student can be requested by contacting Terri Palmer email t.m.palmer@massey.ac.nz.

If you would like to know more about this opportunity, please contact Prof. Gail Bornhorst by email (gbornhorst@ucdavis.edu). Do not submit your application to this email address.

OP_RIO_513_04/22
Professional Grade 4 45257 - 66147
Office of the Provost
Term length: fixed-term
Hours of work: full-time

Position Overview

The Riddet Institute is a world-best research centre in food and nutritional sciences, providing fundamental scientific understanding and training for a new generation of science leaders. The Institute integrates partner organisations (Massey University (host), Auckland and Otago Universities, AgResearch and Plant & Food Research) and disciplines, leading a “NZ Inc” approach to food research, and generates knowledge and capability that transforms the New Zealand food industry.

We are seeking a research technician to support research across several different government and industry funded research projects. The research work will entail a wide range of laboratory analyses related to food characterisation and nutrition, as well as some food pilot plant trials. The ideal candidate will have laboratory research experience, be well organised and able to work independently and coordinate activities across multiple funding streams and programmes. We are particularly seeking someone with experience in analysis of bioactive compounds using techniques such as HPLC, Mass spectrometry, and UV spectroscopy. The role will also assist the research team with the analysis of data towards preparation of reports and scientific documents.

The position is for a period of one year and will be located at the Riddet Institute on the Massey University campus in Palmerston North.

Massey University is committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of our staff and students. All students, staff and visitors need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or medically exempt, in order to come onto our campuses or to take part in face-to-face University-managed activities from the 14th February 2022. Therefore, any positions that fit these criteria will require the successful applicant to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have a New Zealand Ministry of Health issued medical exemption. Should you apply and be successful for any of our roles, evidence of your vaccination status will be requested if face-to-face University-managed activities or coming onto a Massey campus is a part of your employment.

To view/download the job description, please copy and paste the following link into a new browser:
https://masseyunicareers.nga.net.nz/publicfiles/masseyunicareers/jobs/C6ECEDD6-9CAA-D28D-8431-C8767686AB14/JD%20Research%20Technician%20April%202022%20FINAL1.pdf

Close date: Tuesday, 7 June 2022
Host campus: Dunedin
Qualification: PhD
Department: Human Nutrition
Supervisor: Professor Nicole Roy

Overview
We want two outstanding PhD candidates for a fantastic opportunity to join a top-class team undertaking research projects in collaboration between the University of Otago’s Department of Human Nutrition, Otago’s Department of Medicine and the Riddet Institute at Massey University.

Project 1 aims to identify the impact on digestive comfort, nutritional status, and skeletal muscle function of consuming whole milk powders (bovine, caprine and ovine) in the diets of older adults. This study is the first of this kind to be undertaken. The study includes measurements of dietary intake, digestive function and comfort, physical activity, skeletal muscle strength, body composition, nutritional value, and biological markers of these responses (gut microbiome and metabolites). This study builds on research that indicates milk from different species has differing compositions that could lead to differences in digestive comfort and metabolism. The PhD candidate will be involved in the clinical study, conduct the laboratory and data analyses, and write publications.

For Project 2, the PhD candidate will acquire strong expertise in big data analysis, multi-omics, bioinformatics, and statistics of existing datasets obtained from studies with participants with functional gut disorders compared to healthy participants and food interventions. Datasets of dietary intakes, perceived gut symptoms, mental wellbeing, and/or molecular signatures of host-microbial interactions (metabolome, microbiome, etc.) will be mined. This novel approach will contribute to developing a systems view of the effects of food on digestive function and comfort.

The fellowship is available immediately, for 3 years and 5 months, and includes an annual tax-free stipend of NZD$30,000 per year and tuition fees (excluding student service fees and insurance (if any). The positions are available to local or international applicants.

The PhD candidates will be based at the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Otago in Dunedin. The Riddet Institute funds the stipend and tuition fees. The Riddet Institute is a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence hosted by Massey University. The research undertaken is funded by the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge.

Candidate requirements
The ideal candidates must have:

First-Class Honours or Second-Class Honours (Division I) MSc degree (or equivalent) or BSc degree with Honours (or equivalent) in an area of relevant science (e.g. human nutrition, clinical nutrition, biochemistry, microbiology, bioinformatics).
Motivation and self-determination to complete a PhD within 3 years and 5 months.
Excellent written and oral communication skills.
Ability to learn, work independently and collaboratively, adapt to change, and plan, organise and implement projects promptly; and
Demonstrated high ethical standards, diligence, integrity, professionalism, politeness, and courteousness, and effectively worked in a diverse team across New Zealand.
Application
The closing date for applications is 7 June 2022.

The application must include:

Cover letter (1–2 pages), indicating which project you are interested in applying for, explaining your interest and why you think you are suited.
Curriculum Vitae (summarising education, employment, scientific outputs, names of 3 references)
Copies of educational certificates and transcript of records.
Your application (relevant documents mentioned above) must be submitted to:

Email admin.humannutrition@otago.ac.nz

Additional information regarding the requirements as a PhD student can be requested by contacting the above email address.

Further information
If you would like to know more about this opportunity, please contact:

Professor Nicole Roy
Email nicole.roy@otago.ac.nz
(Do not submit your application to this email address).

We are seeking a candidate for a fantastic opportunity to study for a PhD in Data Analytics and Sensometrics

Scholarship overview
Status: Open
Key facts
Value: $90,000 plus tuition fees for 3 years
Duration: Three years'
Number available: One position
Application dates
Applications open: 12 May 2022
Closing date: 30 June 2022

We are seeking a PhD candidate for a research project funded by the Riddet Institute. This project is a collaboration between the Sensory and Consumer Science Team at Plant and Food Research (PFR) and the Food Experience and Sensory Testing (Feast) lab and the Artificial Intelligence team at Massey University.

It is under the joint supervision of Dr Sara Jaeger (PFR) and Professor Joanne Hort (Feast). The key idea of this project is to apply data analytic techniques (e.g., traditional statistics, machine learning, natural language processing, sentiment analysis) to gain meaningful insights into consumer engagement with eating and drinking.

The PhD candidate will use the state-of-the-art data analytics techniques to understand consumer response to meat alternatives in comparison to traditional techniques in food-related consumer research. The 3-year scholarship includes an annual tax-free stipend of NZD$30,000 and tuition fees.

The PhD candidate will be mainly based on the Albany campus and co-supervised by Professor of AI , Prof. Ruili Wang (Massey University, Auckland).

The ideal candidate must have:

MSc degree (or equivalent) or BSc degree with Honours (or equivalent) in Data analytics/AI or relevant discipline including Mathematics, Statistics or Bioinformatics.
Motivation and self-determination to complete a PhD within 3 years.
Excellent written and oral communication skills.
Programming skills including R and Python.
Ability to handle, organise and structure large volumes of files and data.
Demonstrated high ethical standards, diligence, integrity, professionalism, politeness and a good team player.
The closing date for applications is 30 June 2022 with a start date of on or after 1 Sep 2022

Your application (relevant documents) must be submitted to: feast@massey.ac.nz

If you would like to know more about this opportunity, please contact Dr Sara Jaeger, Prof Joanne Hort or Professor of AI, Ruili Wang by email. Do not submit your application to these email addresses.

What you'll be studying
Additional Information

The PhD student’s duties will include:

Presenting a seminar and written report to gain confirmation into a PhD one year after starting.
Preparing for, and meeting regularly, with supervisors to discuss plans and results.
Presenting plans for research and experimental protocols to supervisors and collaborators for review prior to carrying out the work.
Travelling to and working with collaborators at Plant and Food research in Auckland.
Collecting consumer data, developing using and applying relevant data analytic approaches
Submitting manuscripts to journals, including at least two research articles, before the PhD thesis is submitted.
Complying with Ethical and Health and Safety Policies at Massey University, and collaborator organisations, and having consideration for the safety of yourself and others in the workplace.
Ensuring legislative compliance (e.g., Department of Labour, HSNO, EPA, Animal Ethics) and appropriate data security.
Feast

The Food Experience and Sensory Testing (Feast) Lab was established in 2018 at Massey University by Professor Joanne Hort. It is a leading research and training centre in New Zealand for sensory and consumer science with a team (led by Prof Hort) of 20 postdoctoral researchers, students, technical staff and administrators. Feast has carried out research and training and collaborates with a range of organisations including the food industry (for example, Fonterra, Zespri, Synlait, Frucor Suntory and many smaller to medium enterprises), Crown Research Institutes and other Universities, including projects via its close ties with the Riddet Institute.

PFR – Sensory & Consumer Science Team

The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited (PFR) is a global leader in the research and development of new elite cultivars and food products. Understanding consumer behaviour allows companies to develop products that specifically appeal to the requirements of a target audience. We use new and existing methods to research consumer requirements for foods and beverages to support industry partners with the launch of new products and expansion in new marketplaces, as well as directing elite cultivar breeding programmes and development of new wine styles.

Riddet Institute

The Riddet Institute is the pre-eminent centre in New Zealand for the science of food, nutrition and supporting disciplines, carrying out the fundamental and strategic research that will lead to tomorrow’s innovation in high margin food products and processes. It acts as the leader and integrator for New Zealand food science, setting the standard for cross-organisation, cross-discipline collaboration and facilitating knowledge transfer to industry through strong networks and partnerships.

Massey University

Massey University is a Tiriti-led University with major campuses located in Palmerston North, Auckland (at Albany) and Wellington. For more information about studying for a PhD at Massey see here.

Application checklist
Include the following with your application:

Cover letter (1-2 pages), explaining your interest and why you think you are suited to the position.
CV (summarising education, employment, scientific outputs, names of 3 references)
Copies of educational certificates and transcript of records.

Careers and Contact
Careers and Contact

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