Meet doctoral researchers from Aberystwyth University (archive)

We currently have 18 PhD students at Aberystwyth University. They work on a range of topics including aspects of crop science, food waste valorisation, microbiology and animal health. Meet some of our current students here:


Researcher at Cranfield University Luke Barnett

2021-25 cohort

Project title: Film of the Future – Producing an antiviral, antimicrobial, biodegradable plastic from seaweed

Academic partner: Cranfield University
I have a CASE studentship and the project is supported by a food manufacturing company.

What is your project about ?
I’m using the components of brown seaweeds to produce a plastic film for use within the food packaging industry. The addition of these seaweed components will produce a biodegradable, antimicrobial and antiviral film which will limit the transfer to microorganisms.

What led you to choosing a PhD project with the FoodBioSystems DTP?
My aim was to conduct research in microbiology and doing this PhD has enabled me to do this. The DTP gave an opportunity to get involved with a research partner in the relevant industry and I’m gaining a wider understanding of how research can be applied to the industrial environment.

research student at Aberystwyth University

Felix Townsend

2020-24 cohort

Project title: A receptor-ligand module that triggers cell death in plants: A killer in disguise

Academic partner: University of Reading

What is your project about and why is it important?
My project involves a highly widespread systems found in crop species throughout the world. This process known as self-incompatibility prevent self-fertilisation and thus inbreeding in plants. By understanding the proteins, processes and metabolic pathways involved in this vital system, we can help aid in crop yield prediction and the development of smart herbicides.

What have you enjoyed most about DTP training so far and what are you looking forward to next in your project?
The DTP training is diverse and entertaining, even under the constrains of the COVID-19 restrictions. It’s been a great way of getting to know the other students in your cohort, as well as developing skills and confidence in completing your PhD.

I am looking forward to learning a new technique known as Blue Native PAGE. This will allow me to understand my protein (PrpS) further by showing if it forms complexes or not. This will put more pieces of the puzzle together in elucidating this fascinating protein.

research student at Aberystwyth University

Juliet Vickar

2021-25 cohort

Project title: Integration of food intake biomarker data with minimal self-reported dietary information to assess eating behaviour and evaluate nutrient intake in individuals and populations.

Academic partner: University of Reading

What is your project about and why is it important ?
This project is about providing important tools for nutrition research, a capability to demonstrate objectively links between diet and health. This will have a profound impact on the food industry and public health internationally.

What led you to choosing a PhD project with the FoodBioSystems DTP?
The advertised project fitted perfectly into my research interest. I want to progress into the field of translational research aiming at closing the gap between science, food, and nutrition policies. I’m also keen to obtain an excellent learning experience and a commitment to collaborate with other researchers to champion the fight against non-communicable diseases.