Athina Tziboula-Clarke
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Personal profile

I completed my PhD at Strathclyde University in 1990 in starch-protein interactions in foods and have subsequently led research at the Hannah Research Institute in the fields of food hydrocolloid interactions and genetic polymorphism of milk proteins, developing expertise in rheology, sensory science, chromatography and photon correlation spectroscopy followed by a career in the food hydrocolloid industry.

My research at Abertay University is focused on understanding the drivers of consumer food preferences and how they relate to physicochemical properties and textures of foods. Food texture is intrinsically linked to the perception of taste and food choice, therefore an  enhanced understanding of these domains will ultimately help to develop healthy food products with consumer appeal that could succeed in the market place.

For example, through a PhD project* carried out in collaboration with Agrico, using Multiple Factor Analysis, a powerful  potato selection "tool" has been developed linking potato texture, colour and dry matter (objective data)  to  potato sensory attributes and consumer potato preferences and acceptability ratings. This tool could enable the selection of potato variants with the appropriate characteristics of interest to the consumer and has the potential to be adapted for use in other food applications.

I am also interested in developing innovative ways of manipulating food texture either through the use of novel functional ingredients from waste by-products, as for example the use of active faba bean flour in bread making or brewing or through the use of innovative technologies such as low frequency ultrasonication to modify yoghurt or cheese textures.

I am engaged in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships through Food Innovation @ Abertay (FIA) working directly with the food industry offering tailored solutions. Examples include formulation and process optimisation through the use of statistical experimental designs and the appropriate selection of functional food hydrocolloids.

I have led the undergraduate food programmes, FCS & FNH between 2014-2018 and the postgraduate programme MSc Food and Drink Innovation between 2013-2017; during my programme leadership both undergraduate programmes have been accredited by IFST & AfN respectively. 

AS a member of the Scottish Government Cross Party Group on Food, I am contributing to policy development on food related issues in Scotland

External examiner for the food programmes of Ulster University (2014-2017)  (taught at Laughry Campus)

External examiner for the undergraduate and postgraduate food programmes, Harper Adams University.

* PhD project title: Application of sensory and consumer science to inform decision-making in potato breeding programmes. Funded by Interface Food & Drink UK, and completed in collaboration with Agrico a Dutch farmers cooperative of 1300 potato growers. Research carried out by Steven Muir.


  • Programme leader for BSc (Hons) Food, Nutrition and Health (FNH) 2015-2018
  • Programme leader for BSc (Hons) Food and Consumer Science (FCS) 2015-2018
  • Programme leader for MSc Food and Drink Innovation 2012-2017

Lecturer on the following Programmes:

  • BSc (Hons) Food Nutrition and Health
  • BSc (Hons) Food and Consumer Sciences

Module leader in the following modules:

  • Food characterisation (stage 2)
  • Research methods  (stage 4)
  • Honours Project (stage 4)
  • Professional skills for the Food and Drink Industry (stage 5)

Contributing lecturer  in the following modules:

  • Food Processing (stage 3)
  • Food product design (stage 2)
  • Current Topics in Food (stage 4)
  • Placement for FNH/FCS (stage 3)

Areas of expertise

  • Dairy science and technology
  • Sensory and consumer science
  • Research methods, statistics and experimental designs
  • Rheology
  • Food hydrocolloids vs processing interactions
  • Ultrasonication of foods
  • Food chemistry and analysis


During my programme leadership both undergraduate programmes FCS and FNH have been accredited by IFST having led the accreditation process and AfN respectively.

Research interests

As a food scientist with expertise in rheology and texture analysis of foods, my principle research interests are in the manipulation of food textures using ultrasonication technology and examination of textures (when applicable) utilising x-Ray computerised tomography.  The utilisation of ultrasonication in food processes is gaining momentum principly due to the simplicity of the technology, ease of application and low cost. Food processes performed under the action of ultrasound are believed to be affected in part by cavitation phenomena and mass transfer enhancement. In  my work I focus on the impact of ultrasonication on the texture of dairy gels (rennet and acid gels) and the underpinning mechanisms explaining the changes observed.

Another area of interest is in the domain of sensory and consumer sciences with the focus on understanding the factors underpinning consumer food choices for potatoes  in order to be able to inform potato bredding programmes (1 PhD student) 

I have also active interest in the utilisation of novel sustainable protein sources from Vicia  faba L. and their derivatives in innovative food applications (1PhD student).

Previous research interests in the following areas: 

(i) Genetic polymorphis of milk proteins: Impact on micellar structure and physicochemical properties of milk.

(ii) Investigation of  the  interactions of food hydrocolloids and milk proteins using dynamic rheology.


Member if the Institute of Food Science and Technology

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Member of the Organising committee of the Food Hydrocolloid Trust.

External Examiner of the undergraduate  Food programmes taught at Laughry Campus, University of Ulster (2014-2017

External Examiner of the undergraduate and postgraduate food programmes, Harper Adams University (2016-)

Editorial member of the International Dairy Journal 1998-2002

Stem Ambassador (2017-)

Member of Scottish Givernment Cross Party Group on Food (2015-)

Member of the School of science Engineering and Technology Athena Swan committee (2016-)

Personal profile

In collaboration with FIA team ongoing support to the various funded projects. Examples: 

2018: 1 Knowledge Transfer Partnership (2018-), 2 year project PI, 150K

2012 Interface Innovation  voucher with Scotherbs to investigate the potential of Microwave pasteurisation for the preservation of pesto,PI,  5K

2012 Interface Innovation voucher with Matthew Algie, PI, 5K

1999 Investigation into kappa carrageenan milk protein interactions, Nestle Konolfingen, PI, 90K

1998 FAGE Greece,PI, 10K


2014-15 Working with Websters High School (Kirriemuir) with the Princes Trust developing a new food product .

2011-2013 Science Roadshow, Abertay University (Demosntrating food science experiments to secondary schools in Tayside and Fife)

2013 Co-developed CPD for Home economics teachers, Abertay University

2012 Invited speaker, teachmeet (2012)

2012 Food science on your plate, Rosebank primary school, Dundee

2011 Food science on your plate, Dundee Science Festival 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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