What happens to dietary supplements in your body?

Stable elements play a large role in our daily lives. A number of these metals are important for the proper functioning of the human body, or even essential to our survival. Dietary supplements are becoming increasingly popular, both prescribed by the hospital as well as self-medicated. However, there is a delicate balance, where too much or too little can often be toxic. In many cases the underlying biochemical mechanisms and health effects are not well known. Therefore, research into the safety and effectiveness of these supplements is required.

If you are you looking for a project where you can apply your skills to solve these type of societal issues, this could be the place for you. Possible bachelor and master projects include looking at 1) the effectiveness of iron supplements in patients, and their possible influence on gut microbiota, 2) the use of calcium supplements and whether they actually lead to an increased calcium uptake in bones, and 3) evaluating the uptake in the body of nanoparticles which are found in consumer products.

Neutron activation analysis (INAA) and mass spectrometry are two techniques which are used to detect these very small quantities of material. You can also work on 4) improving measurement sensitivity and representativeness by designing, developing and testing new irradiation facilities at the Reactor Institute.

Students will be trained to work safely with radiation and are expected to complete a very short Radiation Safety course given at RST for which they will receive an officially recognized certificate.

All projects are meant for student with physical and/or chemical background, unless otherwise indicated.

For more information and details please contact Dr. ir. Robin de Kruijff (R.M.deKruijff@tudelft.nl).

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