Teaching and Development

  • FOOD1001/7011 Principles of Food Preservation
  • FOOD7014 Food Commodity Science I (Animal Products)
  • FOOD3011 Food Product Development
  • FOOD2000 Food Science

Researcher biography

Dr Nidhi Bansal is a lecturer in Food Science and Technology at the University of Queensland. Dr Nidhi Bansal completed her PhD degree in Food and Nutritional Sciences in December 2007 from university College Cork, Ireland. After finishing her PhD, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Dairy Products Technology Centre, California Polytechnic State University, USA until November 2009. She joined the University of Queensland as a postdoctoral fellow in May 2010 and was appointed as a lecturer at the University of Queensland in May 2011. Her research is focused largely on dairy science, examining both its fundamental and applied aspects. Currently, she leads a research group of 3 PhD students, 5 Masters students and one postdoctoral research fellow working in the areas of texture and flavour modification, non-thermal processing and shelf-life extension of dairy products. She is also co-supervising 9 PhD students. She teaches into courses such as principles of food preservation, food science, food product development and emerging food technologies and biotechnology and food commodity science. Her role also includes developing linkage between the UQ and the Australian dairy industry. 

Researcher biography

Career Summary: I obtained my B. Tech., Dairy Technology degree from SMC College of Dairy Science, Gujarat, India in 2003. I graduated with a PhD degree in dairy chemistry from the University College Cork, Ireland in 2007. After gaining experience as a postdoctoral fellow in the California Polytechnic State University for 2 years, I joined UQ as a research officer in 2010 and was appointed as a lecturer in 2011 and promoted to associate professor in 2021.

I am a milk and bioprocessing expert with significant experience in dairy processing including alternative methods, milk protein structure and functionality, milk product drying systems, and rapid quantification assays of milk biomolecules. My research spans from fundamental milk protein chemistry to physiologically important milk enzymes. I am leading a UQ-QUT alliance with the RBWH, on innovative pasteurisation of breastmilk through NHMRC Ideas and Children Hospital Foundation grants. This aims to translate my dairy research expertise into enhancing nutrition of low-birth-weight babies, as well as improving infant gut microbiota. This has expanded to related research, including alternative pasteurisation of camel milk, a high-value product used as bovine milk alternative for human nutrition. Since 2011, I have led the 'non-thermal processing research program' at UQ. I was one of six research theme leaders (food quality) as well as management committee member in an ARC Industry Transformation Research Hub (2014-2020) that involved 26 researchers. I am currently one of the four program leads for the Food and Beverage Accelerator Trailblazer grant ($165 M) led by UQ. I am also leading the education and training program and am part of the steering committee for a Strategic University Reform Fund (SURF) ($6.9 M) from Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Research interests:

  • Alternative processing techniques to preserve milk and milk products: I have led the 'non-thermal processing research program' at UQ since 2011, studying non-thermal techniques such as carbon dioxide, pulsed electric field (PEF), and high-pressure processing (HPP) for milk pasteurisation to minimise loss of heat-labile biomolecules (incl. vitamins/minerals) while ensuring microbial safety.
  • Non-bovine milk systems: Since 2014, my research on preserving microbial integrity of dairy stream products for longer periods has evolved in exploring non-bovine systems such as human and camel milk. I have developed expert knowledge of their composition, enzymology, bioactive molecules and digestibility.
  • Protein structure and functionality: I have led many studies analysing fundamental properties of milk proteins and their interaction with hydrocolloids. I have considerable expertise in studying protein structure, interactions and denaturation and their functional properties applicable to dairy systems such as texture, rheology, tribology, foaming, gelling and emulsifying properties and surface hydrophobicity. Most recently, I have led development of highly sensitive, high-throughput methods to analyse immunoprotective enzyme activities in human, bovine, goat and camel milk.

Publications and contribution to field of research: I have published >150 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters, >87% in Q1 journals (JCR Journal Rankings). My h-index is 31 (Scopus) and 38 (Google Scholar) (March, 2023). My research demonstrates international reach, being cited across 103 countries (March 2023). I have been cited by authors from 25 different subject areas, which demonstrates the impact of my research beyond my own subject area of Agricultural and Biological Sciences to fields such as of Medicine, Chemical Engineering, Immunology and Microbiology, Social Science, Nursing, Materials Science and Engineering (Mar 2023). My overall Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) for all subject areas is 1.59 (Mar 2023). I have 4 highly cited papers in the academic field of Agricultural Science (Web of Science, Mar 2023) and 25 publications in the top 10% most cited publications worldwide (field-weighted) (SciVal, Mar 2023). I am ranked as a Top 1% author in the ESI category of Agricultural Sciences. My publications demonstrate impact beyond the scholarly community. Several of my publications have also been cited in patent documents and have outstanding Altmetric scores (top 5%) with numerous social media, news and blog mentions.

Research support: Since joining the UQ, I have been involved in 17 successful funding proposals and has secured significant research funding through competitive grants. I am a CI on grants worth >$183 million. I have been able to attract funding from a variety of sources such as ARC, NHMRC, DESE, Dairy Innovation Australia Limited (DIAL), UniQuest, Children Hospital Foundation, direct commercial sources and the UQ.

Mentoring: Since 2014, I have supervised 27 HDR students (12 as principal advisor) and >60 Coursework Masters/ Honours students. I have has mentored three postdoctoral fellows.

Professional activities: I am a member of Clinical Advisory Board, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Milk since 2020. I am the Director of Teaching and Learning for UQ's School of Agriculture and Food Sciences since 2021. I am an editorial board member of Scientific Reports, Foods, and Journal of Dairy Research.

Areas of research