Postdoctoral Fellow for Self-Digesting Ruminant Milk Proteins

Palmerston North, New Zealand
05 Dec 2017
End of advertisement period
02 Jan 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Riddet Core, Research, Academic and Enterprise
Palmerston North

The Riddet Institute is a world-best research centre in food and nutritional sciences, providing fundamental scientific understanding and training for a new generation of science leaders. The Institute integrates partner organisations (Massey University (host), Auckland and Otago Universities, AgResearch and Plant and Food Research) and disciplines, leading a 'NZ Inc' approach to food research, and generates knowledge and capability that transforms the New Zealand food industry.

AgResearch is a leading Crown Research Institute charged with delivering science and innovation to benefit New Zealand agriculture and its wider economy. Our internationally recognised scientists are dedicated to this mission and we collaborate with world leading science organisations and universities to achieve exceptional science delivery. We are proud to be unique organisation that is driving prosperity by transforming agriculture to better equip our future generations to come.

We are seeking a high-achieving researcher to do a postdoctoral research project in the Riddet Institute in collaboration with AgResearch Ltd. The project is entitled 'Harnessing ruminant milk proteolytic capacity to improve the nutritional quality and immune protective function of infant formula'.

Applicants must hold a PhD in a suitable discipline and demonstrated experience of previous postgraduate research relevant to the topic. Applicants must clearly specify why they are the best candidate for the project.


Main Supervisor: Professor Warren McNabb, Riddet Institute, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Other Supervisors: Professor Nicole Roy and Dr Stefan Clerens, Food and Bio-based Products, AgResearch Limited, New Zealand.

The postdoctoral fellow will form part of a multidisciplinary team with expertise in mapping peptides in ruminant milks and assessing their nutritional value in an accepted piglet model of the human infant with research being undertaken at the Riddet Institute in Palmerston North, New Zealand and at AgResearch Ltd, AgResearch Grasslands in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

The essence of this project will build on existing work to develop more advanced knowledge on the proteases naturally present in ruminant milks and on their impact on milk protein digestion in the infant. This is critical for unlocking latent protective activity and for improving the nutritional quality and immune protective function of infant formula.

To do this,

  1. protease abundance and activity will be measured and peptides mapped in ruminant (bovine/ovine/caprine) milks and compared to human milk,
  2. the proteases will be protected and harnessed to generate controlled protein hydrolysis to improve infant formula and
  3. prototype formula retaining these benefits will be designed and tested in an accepted model of the human infant.

The successful candidate will have completed a PhD in milk protein chemistry and nutrition or related disciplines with preference given to someone with expertise in peptidomics and protein digestion.

The salary will depend on experience but will be in the range for postdoctoral fellows at Massey University, circa NZD70,000. The appointment will be for a term of three years.

Applicants please send your CV including a statement of your research interests and goals and at least two referees, plus your university transcripts when uploading your application to the following website:

Email enquiries regarding the position can be sent to:

Closing date: 7 January 2018
Reference number: A421-17CA

For further information and to apply online, visit: