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Professor Jeremy Spencer didn't set out to become a food scientist – his first degree was in biochemistry. However, an interest in the way that diseases affect the brain led him into the varied field of food science. Jeremy's multi-disciplinary approach would prove invaluable.

"One of my main interests in coming to Reading was I wanted to link up the nutrition with the psychology at Reading, so be able to study in a clinical trial design, the impact of diet and the impact of nutrients on brain health predominantly. That's been pretty successful."

Jeremy's work improves lives

Jeremy's special interest – one of the things which made him interested in an academic career – was understanding and tackling the relationship between diet, disease and the health of the human brain. Jeremy's research into diet and cognition gathered information which allowed us to understand some of the issues much more clearly – and has laid the groundwork for solving some of the world's serious health problems.

"We've had great success in bringing about an extension of life and the number of years you live, but that doesn't mean you're going to be living all those years free of disease. And with things like dementia, that's quite a debilitating disease, but it also has an impact socially on the rest of the family and society, and so it was really a desire to get into a more preventative strategy for healthcare which now seems like it is going to be the way forward."

Jeremy's thoughts on teaching students

Jeremy takes the view that he is training a new generation of leading food scientists. As well as teaching theoretical and practical knowledge, Jeremy feels that it's very important to ensure that students are up to date with the most recent findings in the field – putting students on the cutting edge of food research. This is seeded from the beginning, but Jeremy explains that it really comes into its own when students are designing their third year projects.

"By the time you get to the final year, I think that's where we as a department and myself really believe that exposing students to that latest research is really key, and is certainly something which sets Reading students apart from other universities which teach nutrition and food science."