The Society’s annual student conference has been re-branded as ‘Nutrition Futures’ to reflect the conference being open to both nutrition science students, and to graduates. Nutrition Futures provides attendees with an opportunity to develop essential skills to help build their career as well a chance to meet, collaborate and share ideas with other like-minded researchers. This year the conference was held at the Assembly Rooms in Newcastle on 10 and 11 September.
The first day featured three plenary lectures from senior academics with expertise in a range of areas. Professor John Mathers opened the conference and gave the first plenary lecture on Personalised Nutrition. Providing evidence from the Food4Me study, Professor Mathers considered the relationship between food and gene expression. Professor Emma Stevenson, Newcastle University, gave an informative talk on the association of diet with postprandial glucose levels. Professor Stevenson highlighted the increase in the incidence of type II diabetes and went on to discuss the effect of whey protein on postprandial glucose levels.
In the afternoon Dr Anwesha Sarkar, University of Leeds gave the final plenary on the optimisation of foods for older adults, highlighting the prevalence of malnutrition within the elderly population and the importance of providing this group with palatable food choices.
The Original Communications took place on the first day in between plenary sessions. These were split into 14 Oral Communications and 18 lightening sessions (three minute slots for presenters to summarise their research). Topics varied from the effect of dietary supplementation with prebiotics on brown adipose tissue thermogenesis, to factors that influence the food choices of dancers.
Each year the Society offers undergraduate students interested in a nutrition science career the chance to apply for Summer Studentships. Each Summer Studentship recipient is invited to present their project findings at Nutrition Futures. This year 13 recipients presented their research to an engaged audience.
After a full day of nutritional science, delegates had the opportunity to attend a mindfulness session led by personal life and wellbeing coach Jenna Sinclair. Day one closed with an informal mixer at a local bar. During the mixer, a quiz organised by Student Section Chairs, Angelika Kristek and Nadege Pouandeu, allowed delegates to continue networking in a relaxed setting.
The second day focused on careers in nutritional science and transferrable skills. This included an energetic workshop on public speaking by Dr Vince Stevenson, College of Public Speaking, provided participants with techniques to deal with nerves before giving talks, and tips on how to engage their audience. Next, Dr Barbara Bray, Alo Solutions Ltd, had everyone on their feet for an animated session on effective networking.
The last session of the conference was an interactive career panel which included career insights from a range of professionals in academia, industry and the non-profit sector. The panel gave delegates CV tips and advice on how to stand out to employers and PhD supervisors. The take home message from the panel, be confident and say yes to opportunities! In addition to this, throughout the conference delegates had the chance to receive one on one CV advice from Anna Wheeler and Dr Daniele McCarthy, Nutrition Talent.
The Society would like to thank the Student Section Co-chairs Angelika Kristek and Nadege Pouandeu as well as the local organiser Dr Tom Hill for their hard work in making Nutrition Futures a huge success. Expressions of interest are now open to host the 2019 Nutrition Futures conference, for more information please contact the Society’s Conference Co-ordinator Emily Ooi.