Dr Anwesha Sarkar's successful research collaboration with ETH Zurich
Dr Anwesha Sarkar was successful in receiving a Leeds Research Mobility Award (RMA) to travel to ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Dr Anwesha Sarkar received a Leeds Research Mobility Award (RMA) to travel to ETH Zurich to initiate collaboration with Professor Eric Dufresne at the Soft and Living Materials Group, Department of Materials of ETH Zurich, Switzerland.ETH is ranked 8th in 2016/17 QS world Universities ranking table.
Anwesha worked in Professor Dufresne’s laboratory for a period of 4 weeks in the summer months doing particle tracking microrheology (PTM) to understand local dynamics and viscoelasticity of salivary mucins.
PTM is an emerging experimental technique in the field of food colloids and can help to elucidate various fundamental mechanisms responsible for stability and structure–function relationships in food materials. The work with salivary mucins was particular relevant to understand interactions of food particles with human saliva using model systems. Dr Sarkar also got an opportunity to use sophisticated femto tools (nanorobotic system) available at ETH, not currently available at Leeds to measure nano-mechanical properties of protein gels.
During her stay, she also attended the 21st edition of the Swiss Soft Days (one-day workshop) at EPFL, Lausanne and got an excellent opportunity to learn about various inter-disciplinary areas of soft matter research from a community of material scientists, physicists, engineers, chemists, biologists working in academia and industry in Switzerland.
The work carried out at ETH and ideas generated fit very well with Dr Sarkar’s research interests on gaining quantitative understanding of oral processing and oral tribology. In her lab at Leeds, Dr Sarkar already has a MTM tribometer to measure oral lubrication and her PhD students are working in the area of oral lubrication. By gaining in depth insights on how food breaks down in mouth and interacts with oral mucosa, Dr Sarkar aims to create the foundation for designing tailored food for special population (e.g. frail older adults, people with special oral processing needs) and oro-sensory satiety-enhancing foods.