Dr Lara Matia-Merino

Dr Lara Matia-Merino staff profile picture

Senior Lecturer in Food Rheology and Colloid Science/Tech

Institute of Food, Nutrition & Human Health

Telephone: +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 81420

Other contact details

Room A 2.32, Riddet A, Turitea
Ph: x81420


Professional Biography

Originally from Spain, I came to New Zealand as a post-doctoral Fellow with the Riddet Institute, joining the Institute of Food Nutrition & Human Health, Massey University, as a Lecturer in Food Technology from 2005, becoming a Senior Lecturer in 2011. I hold a BSc in Agricultural Engineering (University of Valladolid, Spain), a MSc in Food Science and Technology (University of Burgos, Spain) and a PhD in Food Colloids (University of Leeds, U.K.).  This has given me a broad scientific background, allowing me to view Food Technology from an engineering point of view and from a more fundamental perspective within food physical-chemistry science.

My main research interests at Massey University are related to the study of food protein and polysaccharide functionality, especially the study of emulsification properties of novel gums and colloidal aggregation processes leading to the formation of food gels. More recently, infant formula digestibility and beverage formulation are areas of increasing interest within my research.

I thoroughly enjoy my teaching in the food formulation and food characterization papers for the 3rd year Food Technology students and I am hoping to continuously improve in this area.


  • PhD - University of Leeds, UK. (2003)
  • MSc - University of Burgos, Spain. (1998)
  • BSc - University of Valladolid, Spain. (1996)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Functional novel polysaccharides, especially from native New Zealand flora, which can be used as innovative ingredients for the food industry.

Emulsion science: Influence of heat treatment on milk protein-stabilized emulsions and aggregation process of partially-crystalline emulsions

Infant formula digestibility.

Biopolymer physico-chemical characterization and functionality.


Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems

Area of Expertise

Field of Research Codes
Chemical Science (030000): Colloid and Surface Chemistry (030603):
Engineering (090000): Food Chemistry and Molecular Gastronomy (excl. Wine) (090801): Food Sciences (090800):
Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry (030300): Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural (030600): Physical Chemistry of Materials (030304):
Technology (100000)


Rheological characterization of food materials

Emulsion science

Physical stability of bevarage formulations

Food protein and polysaccharide functionality

Consultancy and Languages


  • Spanish
    Last used: used currently
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent

Supervision and Teaching


The highlight of my delivery style is its strong interactive component

Papers Coordinated

Current Postgraduate Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Yuris Anynda - PhD
    Controlling the digestibility of starch
  • May Wee - PhD
    Functionality of Novel Hydrocolloids

CoSupervisor of:

  • Alice Smialowska - PhD
    Determination of functional ingredients in goats milk
  • Yichao Liang - PhD
    Effect of Ingredient Interactions and Heat Treatment on the Structure and Stability of Dairy based Oil-in Water Emulsions

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