Thesis title: Controlling the texture and bioactivity of gluten with structure.
My PhD thesis is focused around a set of peptides derived from gluten that elicit an autoimmune response in patients with celiac disease. Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder with systematic wide symptoms, which is currently prevalent in 1-3% of the population. The only current treatment for celiac disease is a strict and lifelong gluten-free diet. The peptides that cause celiac disease do so because they contain epitopes which are recognised by the immune system and are located within regions that are resistant to human peptide digestion, allowing them to exist as discrete peptides (rather than intermediates of digestion) throughout the human gastrointestinal tract. I am looking at how these peptides are released from the food matrix using white bread as a model and how altering the structure of the matrix via mixing, may affect the ability of these peptides to be released.
Olivia was a runner up for the Best Student Presentation award at the Annual Riddet Institute Student Colloquium 2017. See her presentation here.
The University of Auckland and Plant and Food Research