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Infant Feeding

PGR-RA-99

Expertise of research area
development of food preferences; gene-environment risk factors; infant communication; portion control; satiation cues in infancy


<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The Infant Feeding group conducts research in order to understand the psychological processes involved in a number of aspects of infant feeding including hunger, appetite, food preference and satiation.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>The Infant Feeding group is one of three groups which form our&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/dir-record/facilities-medicinehealth/568/human-appetite-research-unit-facilities">Human Appetite Research Unit</a>&nbsp;(HARU) at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.leeds.ac.uk/">University of Leeds</a>. This group conducts research in order to understand the psychological processes involved in a number of aspects of infant feeding including hunger, appetite, food preference and satiation.</p> <p>Areas of focus for the group are:</p> <ul> <li>Identifying gene-environment risk factors for obesity in childhood</li> <li>Characterising hunger, appetite and satiation cues in infancy</li> <li>Understanding infant communication through facial expressions, gesture, gaze and gross bodily movements</li> <li>The development of food preferences in pre-school children</li> <li>The application of experiential learning for vegetable liking and intake in early life</li> <li>The effects of portion control in pre-school and school age children</li> </ul> <p>The research group is led by&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/419/professor-marion-hetherington">Professor Marion Hetherington</a>&nbsp;and the team consists of&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/134/dr-pam-birtill">Dr Pam Birtill</a>(Associate Professor) and&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/328/alison-fildes">Dr Alison Fildes</a>&nbsp;(UAF, co-Director of the GEMINI project) with links to&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/healthcare/staff/761/netalie-shloim">Dr Netalie Shloim</a>&nbsp;(School of Healthcare),&nbsp;<a href="https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/staff/153/dr-charlotte-evans">Dr Charlotte Evans</a>&nbsp;(Food Science) and&nbsp;<a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/design/staff/475/dr-tang-tang">Dr Tang Tang</a>&nbsp;(School of Design).</p> <h2>Ongoing Projects</h2> <p>Research on infant feeding has been funded by the EU in the following projects:</p> <ul> <li>Marie Curie Industry Academic Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) FP7 230637 &ldquo;V is for Vegetable: Applying learning theory to increase liking and intake of vegetables&rdquo;.&nbsp; PI with&nbsp;<a href="http://medicine.st-andrews.ac.uk/person/jc100/">Dr Jo Cecil</a>, University of St Andrews, Dr Diane Jackson, University of Aberdeen and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.danone.com/brands/specialized-nutrition/early-life-nutrition/science-and-innovation.html">Danone Medical and Baby Nutrition</a>, &euro;431,653; 2009-2013.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>EU FP7 Collaborative Project (KBBE-2009-2-1-01: Determinants of food habit formation /breaking) Determining factors and critical periods in food Habit formation and breaking in Early childhood: a multidisciplinary approach (HabEat).&nbsp; Coordinated by Dr Sylvie Issanchou, INRA, Dijon.&nbsp; Total award &euro;3,819,408 (to Leeds: &euro;426,648).</li> </ul> <p>Research on portion size has been funded through the&nbsp;<a href="https://bbsrc.ukri.org/innovation/sharing-challenges/drinc/">BBSRC Diet and Health Research Industry Club</a>(DRINC) initiative (Downsizing: using environmental cues to acquire healthy portion control in children, adolescents and their families. 2015-2018 - &pound;531,783).</p> <p>Research on gene-environment interactions in obesity risk has been funded through an initial investment by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/">Cancer Research UK</a>&nbsp;for the&nbsp;<a href="http://geministudy.co.uk/">GEMINI Health and development in twins cohort</a>. Since its initial inception in 2008 by Professor Jane Wardle at UCL, projects have been funded by various sources and it is currently co-directed by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ucl.ac.uk/iehc/people/llewellyn">Dr Clare Llewellyn</a>&nbsp;(UCL) and&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/328/alison-fildes">Dr Alison Fildes</a>&nbsp; (Leeds).</p> <h2>Facilities and Resources</h2> <p>The School of Psychology has a wide range of specialised&nbsp;<a href="http://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/directory/facilities-medicinehealth?query=&amp;categoryID=41">facilities&nbsp;and resources</a>&nbsp;available for research projects.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>To submit an application in this research area please complete an <a href="https://studentservices.leeds.ac.uk/pls/banprod/bwskalog_uol.P_DispLoginNon">online application form</a> and submit this alongside a research proposal, a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates. If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the Faculty&rsquo;s minimum <a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/faculty-graduate-school/doc/entry-requirements-1">English language requirements</a>.</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact the Graduate School Office<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:fmhpgradmissions@leeds.ac.uk">fmhpgradmissions@leeds.ac.uk</a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 8221.</p>