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5 minutes with Emily Prpa

Dr Emily Prpa is part of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Life Course Sciences, and recently defended her PhD. We took 5 minutes with Emily to learn more about her academic career and life outside of work.


Briefly, tell us about your background...

I passed my PhD in November 2020. My thesis was examining the effects of apple polyphenols on postprandial glycaemia – or you could say I was finding out if “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. Following this, I was awarded a Fellowship at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

Do you have any current projects that you would like to tell us about?

I have just finished my three-month Fellowship at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). This Fellowship gives PhD students the chance to work with POST or other teams within Parliament, such as the House of Commons and House of Lords Libraries and the Select Committees. I worked on a project researching the reformulation of food and drink products. This required me to scope the research area and conduct interviews with stakeholders (such as Public Health England, the Food & Drink Federation and leading charities and academic researchers) in order to write a 4-page summary on the topic, known as a POSTnote. A POSTnote is an impartial, balanced and peer-reviewed analysis of new and emerging research evidence which is provided to the UK Parliament. My finished POSTnote on food and drink reformulation to reduce sugar, salt and fat levels can be found here.

I strongly encourage any PhD student in a food-related topic to apply for this scheme with the Institute of Food Science and Technology (sponsors of the nutrition Fellowship). That said, POST offer a range of different Fellowships in biology and health sciences, energy and environment, physical and digital sciences, and social sciences. You can sign-up to the POST newsletter or follow @POST_UK on Twitter to stay updated on opportunities.

And for our academics, the newsletter and Twitter are also a great way to see newly approved POSTnote topics; if any are within your field of research, it is worth getting in touch with the lead adviser because your expertise could be valued.

What do you hope to achieve this year?

I am now working for the World Sugar Research Organisation and I am hoping to continue a career in science communication.

What do you do with your time outside of work?

At the moment it’s lots of social-distanced walks with friends and family, cooking Ottolenghi recipes and watching true crime documentaries.


Describe yourself in just three words… Ginger, honest and confident

Your favourite meal… Opso’s baked cauliflower with hazelnut crumble

Who inspires you most and why? My family and friends

Your favourite scientist… Ellie Wood

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