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[Post-doc] Quantitative ultrasound for the investigation of tongue-food interactions during oral processing

Post-Doc position
24 months

Context: In the framework of the ANR project QUSToFood (ANR-17-CE21-0004), a postdoctoral position is open at UMR SayFood. QUSToFood proposes to use Quantitative Ultrasound (QUS) methods for the study of texture perceptions resulting from the mechanical interactions between the tongue and the palate during the oral processing of food. These interactions induce the stimulation of tongue mechanoreceptors and enable the continuous evaluation of the mechanical status of food all along oral processing (from introduction into the mouth to the triggering of swallowing in safe and comfortable conditions). QUS are non-destructive, non-invasive and provide real-time measurement which can be employed both in vitro and in vivo, directly on the individual. The method developed in QUSToFood could thus help to characterize potential losses of sensory quality induced by food and agro ecological transitions, or to meet pleasure and health criteria for specific populations such as infants with sensory processing disorders or seniors suffering from swallowing disorders.
A bio-mimicking set-up has been developed to progressively reproduce, in controlled in vitro conditions, the complex characteristics of the oral manipulation of food between the tongue and the palate. A QUS experimental device was designed, measuring the temporal variations of the acoustic energy backscattered after the emission of acoustic stimuli in the tongue-food-palate system. Signal processing methods made it possible to characterize the degree of intimate contact between food and tongue asperities, as well as the relative deformations undergone by the different media.

Missions: The first mission of this postdoctoral fellowship is to continue the exploratory work on the proof of concept of QUS methods on the bio-mimicking set-up. In particular, we will be interested in trying to capture vibratory events related to the micro deformations of the asperities of tongue surface, or to friction between tongue and palate in presence of food. Original modalities coupling ultrasound imaging with shear wave elastography will also be explored to relate the movements, deformations and changes in rigidity occurring in the tongue. The second mission of the project will consist in feasibility studies to investigate the adaptability of the technique in an in vivo configuration. The QUS system will be transformed in order to allow robust and reproducible measurements under the chin of the consumer. After approval by an ethical research committee, an in vivo study involving a restricted group of volunteers will be conducted in order to compare the dynamic evolutions of QUS parameters with those of sensory perceptions throughout oral processing.
Special emphasis will be placed on the dissemination of results through presentations in international conferences and publications in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals. The multidisciplinary nature of the project will make it possible to address a wide variety of scientific communities, including food science, acoustics or biomechanics.

11/30/20 12:00 AM
PDF document Post Doc QUSToFood.pdf — PDF document, 382 KB
Vincent Mathieu