TASTING SCIENCE WORK THAT HAS MANY FLAVOURS
NICHOLAS Archer ended up in a much more appetising area of science than he planned after high school.
“I actually wanted to become a forensic scientist but at the time CSI had come out and the entrance scores went up,” he said.
“The idea of having to go to crime scenes and dead bodies was (also) the more off-putting component in the end.”
After spending nine years studying molecular biology and immunology at university and gaining a PhD in 2012, Dr Archer’s job search led him to a postdoctoral position at CSIRO.
“I didn’t have experience in food science, but I did in the biomedical side,” he said.
Today, Dr Archer is a research scientist in CSIRO’s Sensory, Flavour and Consumer Science team in the Food and Nutrition Flagship.
Investigating the genetic influence of how we perceive taste is a central focus to many of the experiments he helps to design and analyse the results.
“We are moving towards a stage where we can design products specific to the individual,” Dr Archer said.
“I like the fact that it’s constantly changing and that we can be quite creative.
“It’s challenging but it’s something that I enjoy – it’s like solving a puzzle.”
The other part of Dr Archer’s role involves testing and analysing the flavours of food products.
If a company wants to reformulate a product, they would prepare the old samples and new samples and compare the tastes,” he said.
“We can create predictive models around how the different components in their formulations combine to make the overall flavour.”
Food science has plenty of scope to explore, he said.
“There are diverse jobs going from research and development of foods and flavours to quality assurance.”
CSIRO research scientist Nicholas Archer works in Food and Nutrition.