Dr Mel Holmes

My research interests primarily relate to the mathematical modelling of ultrasonics problems considering the acoustic, thermal and viscous scattering of oil-in-water emulsions. This work employs classical and perturbation methods in combination with experimental measurements to understand the different regimes of validity in relation to the physical properties of the emulsion and the attenuation-velocity profile of the insonifying field. This research seeks improve the accuracy of the mathematical models to account of thermal and shear field interactions due to multiple scattering and to determine alternative or complementary methods to classical solutions to alleviate the numerical ill-conditioning which exists in the current theory.

Experimentally, I also use ultrasonic methods to characterise physical properties of systems, for example temperature dependency of bulk viscosity of fluids, enzymatic rate determination on starch gels and lipid emulsions and the temperature dependent phase transitions of emulsions and fats.

In addition I am also interested in biological and environmental problems which require the use of Monte Carlo models and other statistical techniques e.g. Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulations such as Metropolis and Metropolis-Hastings algorithms to utilise dietary data to conduct exposure assessments from contaminants. This may involve the use of large datasets such as National Dietary and Nutrition Surveys (NDNS) and specifically conducted dietary surveys.

My applied mathematical background has also enabled me to investigate a diverse range of problems enabling the use spatio-temporal partial and ordinary differential equations to model physical systems, for example, some areas of current research include:

•             Mathematical modelling and measurement of ultrasound propagation through soft solids.

•             Ultrasonic characterisation of fluids and emulsions.

•             Mathematical modelling of digestion of emulsion systems

•             Enzymatic rate determination and activity using ultrasound.

•             Probabilistic dietary exposure assessments using Monte Carlo method.

•             Modelling of colloids and emulsions

•             Tactile sensitivity analysis

Food Science is a truly multi-disciplinary subject requiring understanding and application of the pure science subjects of physics, chemistry and biology to scientifically characterize the physical properties and composition of foods and understand the impacts of processing.

The BSc Food Science programme will give you a fundamental understanding of physio-chemical principles and how they apply to food processing, food texture, flavour and food formulations. The programme will introduce the basic unit operations which are used to produce everyday commodities from the raw ingredients to the final product and develop knowledge and techniques of measurement and monitoring stability. The use of model experimental systems will be studied, for example the preparation and stability of emulsions, and also the use of mathematical modelling software to simulate complex physical configurations used for example in heating processes. You will also cover new product development and food safety including labelling and legislation as part of a team project and undertake an individual research project involving a food science related topic. The BSc Food Science programme will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to understand food, its processing and stability and how it will maintain and improve food quality and safety.

Find out more
To find out more about my research activities, the students I am supervising and some of my recent publications visit my staff page.