AJ Banks Travel Bursary Recipient, Sinan Uzunlu, Reports from the University of Reading

9 Nov 2015

Sinan Uzunlu received an AJ Banks Travel Bursary in 2015. Here, he explains how his research visit to the University of Reading impacted his current studies.

‘After receiving an invitation from the 2014 Seligman Fellow, Gabriel Finten, to attend an SCI evening lecture by Dr Carol Wagstaff, I decided to become a member of SCI in 2014. I was awarded a post-doc bursary from my own country, Turkey, for a placement at the University of Reading (UoR) Food and Nutritional Sciences department last year under the supervision of Professor Keshavan Niranjan. During that study period, it became clear that we had an outcome which would not be due for completion until 2015. As I was eligible to apply for a 2015 SCI AJ Banks Travel Bursary, I decided to apply. We were originally intending to devise a packaging solution by producing an active material to be studied in about a 3 month period. As a side project I was also intending to use high hydrostatic pressure processing in a traditional Turkish food.

‘On 27 May 2015, I was informed that I was awarded an SCI travel bursary towards my attendance at the University of Reading Food and Nutritional Sciences department. Both Reading and the Whiteknights Campus had a tremendous effect on me as a researcher - one might achieve his/her goals when being in such a department in the School of Chemistry and Pharmacy. With these feelings I started to seek permission for such an opportunity and to return to the UK. Due to an unexpected delay in finalising this I was only permitted a week of study at Reading, before having to return to my home country for my new academic start on 28 September.

'In this short timescale, I had to chose to study using high pressure processing to get a provisional result for the future research. As expected, we were aiming to decrease the indigenous microbial load of beef mince to be used in the final product, Cig Kofte (raw consumed meatball), by applying high pressure. Cig Kofte is prepared by hand-kneading with addition of tomato paste, bulgur, onion, red pepper, black pepper, salt and water to beef mince. While having a visible colour change in beef mince after high pressure processing, it was impossible to distinguish it from control samples owing to the ingredients. So, it worked thoroughly.

‘Whilst at Reading, not only did I undertake this study, but I also had to tie up results for a consumer evaluation study on another Turkish food, Manti, with Dr Lisa Methven from 2014. Finalising data analysis with her and giving a direction to prepare the manuscript, was really effective. Unfortunately, we did not have the necessary time to have a meeting with Dr Miranda Joyce to debate on a patent application, also a study from 2014.

‘This opportunity was fascinating and gave a positive impact on my current studies. We could now detail our study by getting a promising result.

‘Finally, I would like to express my deep thanks to SCI for awarding an AJ Banks Travel Bursary and to Prof Niranjan and post-doctorate friends for making this study visit possible at the University of Reading Food and Nutritional Sciences department.’

Dr Sinan Uzunlu
Pamukkale University, Turkey

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