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Researcher biography

Professor Mike Gidley is Director of the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences (CNAFS) at the University of Queensland, Australia. The Centre is part of the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) in conjunction with the Queensland Government. Prof Gidley's research is focussed on structure – function relationships in biopolymer assemblies such as starch granules and plant cell walls. This has led to the detailed characterisation of starch and dietary fibre digestion/fermentation in vitro and in vivo, with the understanding generated leading to opportunities for optimising nutritional value of foods and feeds. He is also a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls.

Professor Gidley was trained in chemistry at the Universities of London (BSc) and Cambridge (PhD), and worked on food-related research for more than twenty years in Unilever's R+D laboratory at Colworth House in the UK, beginning as a research scientist and culminating as the Group Leader for Plant-based Foods and Ingredients, before joining UQ in 2003.

Professor Gidley's major research interest is the linking of plant molecular structures to macroscopic properties with relevance to plant-based food properties. In particular, he is interested in investigating polysaccharide assemblies such as plant cell walls and starch granules, particularly the way these structures are assembled in nature and then disassembled during manufacturing and later during digestion. His field of research involves the use of spectroscopic, microscopic and materials analyses of natural materials and model systems. Insights into structure-property relationships are obtained, that can then be used to provide targets for raw materials and processes with enhanced food and nutritional properties.