Introducing Dr Amrita Vijay…
Amrita works with Professor Tim Spector. Tim asked Amrita to contact me so that we could get together and talk about the sourdough process, something she wanted to learn more about for the book. I liked her from moment I met her as she was so warm and loved the whole concept of evidence based teaching. When I was looking for someone to validate with my research for The Sourdough School book, I could think of no one better, and Amrita was, and still is absolutely integral to making sure the research was correctly interpreted and applied.
I’d been researching the nutrition and digestibility of sourdough, reading clinical studies and trials, for some years. I wanted to make sure my understanding of the research was correct and discuss the implications and that’s where Amrita’s expertise came in. You can be sure that Amrita is busy most weeks with me checking facts, validating the research and evidence we use, and bringing her perspective and knowledge to the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) accredited courses.
Amrita’s particular research interests lie in the gut microbiome and diet. She knew that research into food and digestion was something she wanted to pursue after taking a course in food science, nutrition and food safety during her undergraduate degree. In fact, it was this interest that brought her to the UK from India. A scholarship to study at Nottingham University meant that she was able to do an MSc in Food Science, after which she continued to follow her dream of a research career with a PhD in oral health at King’s College.
Day to day Amrita is based in the Department of Twin Research at King’s College, London, where she leads two clinical studies. The first, a study of nutrition and dietary intervention in twins, is leading the way in this field of research. She is also looking at how the gut microbiome can be used to predict responses to treatment in cancer patients. Fortunately, Amrita also shares my passion for the science behind sourdough fermentation, and its application to digestibility and supporting the gut microbiota.
At The Sourdough School Amrita is our in-house researcher. In addition to her work on the book, our research database is one of the key area’s Amrita manages. This now contains information from almost 300 research papers and is has been a resource that students have access to.
In the database there are details of studies on the health benefits of sourdough, the microbes involved in the fermentation process, and the gut microbiome. This resource will continue to build as further research is published.
One of the things I absolutely love about Amrita is the fact that she totally, utterly loves to bake. It’s a passion we share, and have bonded over laughing and getting flour everywhere! If she can get her hands into the dough, she’s the first person up to her elbows in flour and water. Over the months she has been working with me, we have spent time together, developing recipes to support health and gut microbiome. She says her favourite part is helping with recipe testing… getting hand-on and seeing the science being applied in producing something tangible and delicious. In return for teaching her about sourdough baking, Amrita has shown me how to make chapattis and dhal. We always eat this when she visits!