Emma Feeney

Assistant Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition, University College Dublin

Emma’s research interests cover aspects of sensory evaluation, psychophysical measurements and nutrition intake assessments in children and adults. She’s interested in understanding individual taste perceptions, how they change over time and are affected by diet.  She’s also interested in dairy food consumption patterns, dairy food matrices and their impact on health.  Before joining UCL, she was Science Programme Manager at Food for Health Ireland, a dairy functional foods research centre.

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The matrix effect:  How the combination of individual constituents and overall structures impact the health benefits of dairy foods

Nutrition research is moving from a ‘single nutrient’ approach towards a food-based one, stimulating considerable interest in the food ‘matrix’ effect.  This involves the interaction of an individual food’s constituents with its overall structure, and its impacts on digestion and  nutrient absorption.  This is of particular interest in dairy, where the nature and range of nutrients is complex and diverse.  Emma’s presentation reveals new matrix-based evidence of the health benefits – including metabolic health markers, maintenance of lean body mass, bone health and weight management – that can be achieved in dairy with different nutrient contents, protein and fat structures.

  • Finding the matrix – the research effort that has revealed the interaction between diary food constituents and structures
  • Enhancing and engineering dairy’s health benefits; and the market opportunities that creates
  • Not fat food; new evidence for the weight management impacts of dairy foods