Get to know our students – Claudia Hartley

Our next blog is from Claudia Hartley, a PhD student from the CASS (Consumer, Analytical, Safety and Sensory) Food Research Centre in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences (SENS). Her research topic explores carbohydrate taste sensitivity and associations with exercise performance.

Claudia first started at Deakin in 2014 and completed her undergraduate studies and an Honours year in SENS before starting her PhD in 2019. Claudia’s project is a joint PhD program with Deakin University and the University of Copenhagen. During her Candidature, she will spend 6-12 months in Demark to complete one of her studies. During her stay, she looks forward to experiencing a new research environment, learning some Danish and seeing the Christmas Markets.

1. What sparked your interest in food and nutrition?

I first dipped my toe into the world of food and nutrition in early high school, studying Food Technology as a subject. I loved it so much that I continued it throughout high school and into VCE. The more I learned about the science behind food, the more I loved it, and it seemed only natural to follow this passion and start a course at Deakin.

2. What has been the most enjoyable part of researching in the food and nutrition area and who are your supervisors and/or research team?

The most enjoyable part of researching in this area is learning about a wide range of topics. So far, I have researched taste, functions of the brain and modes of exercise. I have also really enjoyed being part of the CASS Food Research Centre, where I am surrounded by like-minded and supportive PhD students. For my project, my primary supervisor is Professor Russell Keast, and my co-supervisors are Dr Amelia Carr and Professor Wender Bredie from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

3. What advice would you give to someone considering study in this area?

My advice would be, if you are interested in it then give it a go and never say never! When considering my options for undergraduate courses, I always said that I did not want to study anything too science based or anything that involved lots of writing. However, now here I am completing a science-based PhD with lots of writing. Instead of sticking to what I originally said, I followed what I enjoyed and found my niche area.

4. What do you think will be the next most important development in the nutrition field?

Outside of my own research topic, I think that the area of gut microbiome research is fascinating! I look forward to developments that may link the gut microbiome with medical conditions and food allergies.

5. Do you have a paper or presentation you are particularly proud of? Can you tell us about this:

I am most proud of my first published paper from my Honours research. This research looked at the role of a Physical Activity Calorie Equivalent (PACE) label on discretionary snack foods. I worked on the manuscript for a long time and I was so glad to have it published!


Just for fun…

6. What’s your favourite food?

Anything! I love eating lots of cuisines ranging from Mexican, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian or Japanese. I also have a massive sweet tooth so dessert or any sour lollies are always a yes from me.

7. Where is the ultimate conference or centre you’d like to visit, during your research career?

The Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium or the European Conference on Sensory and Consumer Science are definitely conferences that I would love to tick off my bucket list. They are both large international conferences and I would find it very interesting to hear what people in the field are working on.

8. What’s a surprising talent you have?

I really enjoy building things and getting on the tools. I recently helped to lay a new deck and built a shelving unit from scratch. I love working on projects like that where you can see your progress and you have a finished product at the end.



Click here for more information on the CASS Food Research Centre (previously called the Centre for Advanced Sensory Science) or follow us on Twitter.

Email: [email protected]





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