Today the “pen“ is Rosa Santella, made in Italy, Early Stage Researcher #3. I am currently doing my PhD work at the University of Copenhagen and KU Leuven in Ghent will host me for half year of secondment.
If I press the rewind button, I can see myself a few months ago, sat on a chair, a screen-browser who stumbled upon this page exactly like you right now, perhaps by chance or —as I like to believe— by a pinch of fate. After only a few minutes, I became one of the 240 applicants and within a few weeks, for my surprise, one of the 8 wheels of this incredible machine called EJD Food Science.
I’ve already met the rest of my fellow colleagues during the training courses in Kraków and in Berlin last March and May, respectively. Between a lecture and a sip of beer, we then had the pleasure to share the excitement of being the PhD candidates of the coolest doctorate programme ever! I am glad we’re such a varied group, a funny cocktail of international characters; I am sure we will benefit as much from our diversity as from our common passion for beer 😉.
The Danish capital will be my home for the next three years, a place where you can ride a bike under the sun, the rain and the snow and discover how to enjoy the simple, cosy and relaxed indoor atmosphere at candlelight. They claim to own the recipe of eternal happiness- let´s see if I can find it and steal it.
My Research Focus
My focus is to extend the shelf life of the beer in terms of delaying the off flavour formation during aging, that is caused by the volatiles released from the oxidation of nutrients in the beverage . For this purpose, I am studying the possibility to exploit the natural antioxidants present in the beer: Polyphenols, thiols, sulfite and melanoidins seem to be the most promising according to my literature research so far.
My idea is to follow up their generation, profile changes and roles as radical scavengers or metal chelators, comparing different time/temperature combinations in the entire malting and brewing process, in order to optimise beer production. In particular I am going to investigate two steps: kilning and roasting, where intense and crucial thermal modifications of the matrix take place under the name of Maillard reactions; thereby my thesis will aim to the evaluation of their impact on the stability of the beer.
In those days in the lab, I am playing with the nice calibration curves colours, to set up successful spectrophotometric assays and quantify antioxidants in my samples.
I would say, this is the ice-breaking episode of the ESR#3 story…
To be continued soon!