Applications are open now for a PhD Scholarship to study the acute effects of New Zealand ‘functional foods.’

Value: NZ$35,000 tax-free stipend per year + PhD fees, for up to three years. Funding provided by the Riddet Institute

Supervisors: Associate Professor Jennifer L Miles-Chan and Dr Ivana Sequeira, Human Nutrition Unit, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland

Based: University of Auckland Human Nutrition Unit

The project: Acute effects of a New Zealand ‘functional foods’ on postprandial energy metabolism

Impaired fasting plasma glucose and an exaggerated postprandial glucose response to consumption of a meal are both key indicators of an increased risk of type 2 diabetes – a health condition of immense worldwide concern.

As well as being used as a tool to screen ‘at risk’ individuals, functional properties of some foods and food ingredients have been shown to have beneficial effects on metabolic health. However, in most cases, knowledge is lacking in terms of the physiological mechanisms by which these effects occur.

This project aims to explore the acute effects of a collection of New Zealand food and food ingredients in a systems physiology approach, with focus on glycaemia, postprandial thermogenesis, gut barrier function, and inflammation/immune function.


  • This would suit someone with a biomedical or integrative physiology background. However, enthusiastic and self-motivated candidates from other backgrounds with an interest in nutrition and metabolism are also welcome to apply.
  • Applications are encouraged from students with potential for obtaining a funded fellowship (typically a grade point average >8.0 (‘A’ equivalent or above).
  • Applicants must have a first-class honours degree or second-class division one (bachelor or masters level); or comparable qualifications.
  • Laboratory experience in any of these areas would be advantageous.
  • Open to international and domestic students.

About the University of Auckland

The University of Auckland is ranked within the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2023 and 6th in Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2022, making it New Zealand’s highest ranked university. The University is located in the harbour city of Auckland, with easy access to stunning beaches and forests. Furthermore, Auckland was ranked third (for the 8th consecutive year) out of 231 cities in the 2019 Mercer Quality of Living Survey, and in the top 40 of the QS Best Student Cities 2023 – with a particularly strong score in the Student Mix category, thanks to its large and diverse student community, combined with an inclusive and tolerant culture.

How to apply

  • Applications should include:
  • CV
  • Academic transcript
  • Names and contact details of two referees
  • A covering letter explaining why you are interested in the project and outlining any relevant experience

Email your application to Associate Professor Jennifer Miles-Chan