Karina Gonzalez Estañol and Leonardo Menghi, both 1st year PhD students in Agrifood and Environmental Sciences at C3A, have been selected, among several applications from all over Europe, as 2 of the 6 winners of the 1st year PhD Student European Flavour Research Bursary (€3000) for the academic year 2019-2020.
The bursary is part of an innovative program, which promotes flavor research amongst PhD students across universities and research institutes in Europe. The program, now in its 10th edition, is organised by Giract and prof. Andy Taylor of the University of Nottingham (UK). A consortium of 7 premier companies (DSM FOOD, SPECIALTIES,GIVAUDAN, KERRY, KIKKOMAN, LESAFFRE INTERNATIONAL, MCLS EUROPE, NESTLE) supports the initiative with the aims to increase the flavor research talent pool in Europe. Both 1st year PhD students and final PhD students are awarded for the “best research project” and the “best phD thesis” respectively.
Karina is supervised by Dr. Franco Biasioli (FEM, Italy), Prof. Flavia Gasperi (Unversity of Trento - C3A; Italy) and Dr. Markus Stieger (Wageningen University; The Netherlands).
The focus of Karina’s PhD program is to investigate the sensory perception of composite foods by using a multidisciplinary approach, which integrates in-vivo flavour release, food structure assessment, oral processing behaviour, and dynamic sensory methods. This will help to understand how release, evolution, and fading of the flavour of composite foods are perceived and affect food acceptance. Such insights will lead to more representative product profiles with a better link with eating behaviour and, consequently, to the development of new products tailored to specific consumer segments.
Leonardo is supervised by Prof. Flavia Gasperi (Unversity of Trento - C3A; Italy) and Prof. Davide Giacalone (University of Southern Denmark; Denmark).
His awarded research project, MICROSENS (Understanding the role of human MICRObiota on SENSory perception) aims at understanding how the human microbiota (oral and intestinal) influences the sensory perception of food and affects our food preferences and choices. The study will involve 100 young volunteers whose intestinal and oral microbiota will be characterized along with physiological and cognitive aspects related to the sensory perception of food. The results will provide a new significant contribution on the understanding of the fundamentals of sensory perception of food that may lead to a deeper comprehension of our eating behaviour and to the development of new strategies promoting healthier eating habits.