Travel Story: Dr Rebecca Thomson

Rebecca ThomsonDr Rebecca Thomson from the Robinson Research Institute’s Diabetes Research Group attended the Nutrition Society of Australia 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting in Melbourne in November 2016.

Rebecca presented her research on Are pregnant women meeting the Australian Dietary guidelines? A comparison of maternal pregnancy diets in women with and without type 1 diabetes.

This is what Rebecca had to say about her experience:

What was a highlight of the conference?

The Plenary sessions were very interesting this year and provided more of a ‘bigger picture’ approach to nutrition science – Nutrition, Health and the Environment: A Global Perspective, Translating Nutrition Evidence, Evolution of Nutrition Sciences, Mechanisms of Disease Prevention, and Food and Aging. On highlight for me was Professor Dennis Bier who is the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. He spoke about the Evolution of Nutrition Science Reporting and this was a very interesting insight into the state of publications. At present 96% of biomedical literature claims significant results and there are several publication and reporting biases that lead to this positive skewing effects. Professor Bier proposed practical new Evolutionary Standards to improve transparency of study findings moving forward. Another highlight was a presentation by Professor Mimi Tang from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne who spoke about the role of the microbiome in early life immune programming, which has particular relevance to the ENDIA study.

Did you meet any researchers or collaborators of significance? Why are they important to your work?

There were also several researchers from the he School of Medical and Health Sciences at Edith Cowan University who are investigating the microbiome in infants. I had the opportunity to meet a few of them and hear several different presentations that are directly related to the work in the microbiome that is being done in ENDIA. I also had the opportunity to meet Dr Megan Rollo from Newcastle University who manages the Australian Eating Survey which we are using for the ENDIA study.

How will the experience support you and your research going forward?

As the ENDIA study includes collecting nutrition data from a variety of populations and ages groups (pregnant women, babies and children) it was the perfect forum to be able to hear about all of these populations at once. I was able to hear from other researchers presenting their work similar to mine investigating how different age groups and populations are eating compared to the Australian Dietary Guidelines and see how the ENDIA data compares to findings from the general population.

What was the most exciting thing you learned/experienced at the Conference?

It was a great opportunity to present some of the preliminary findings from the ENDIA study to a nutrition audience. I also had the opportunity to chair a poster session on Maternal and Childhood health which was a great experience.

What was the most interesting or unexpected moment of your travel?

This was the society’s 40th Anniversary of their Annual Scientific Meeting and as chair of the local Adelaide group I was invited to a celebratory afternoon tea with other executive members of the committee and Fellows of NSA. It was a great occasion to hear stories of the society throughout its 40 years of history.

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