From an early age, I have always had an interest in understanding human eating behaviour and its influence on our habitual dietary intake and health. It seemed to me that when it came to ‘healthy eating’, there was too much focus on counting calories and avoiding certain foods rather than understanding our bodies needs.
Nutrition Research Experience
My interest in nutrition research developed during my nutrition degree where I got the opportunity to travel to Davis, California and work as a nutrition research assistant at the Western Human Nutrition Research Centre in Davis.
During my 10-month work placement, I worked on a number of nutrition projects including in the area of the gut microbiome and cardiovascular health.
I also undertook clinical research to better understand how we can advise, support and treat patients suffering from chronic, metabolic disorders including obesity and type 2 diabetes.
During the last year of my human nutrition degree, I conducted in-depth research into the links between taste perception and physical activity and how this impacts our dietary intake and eating behaviours. Additionally, I got the opportunity to contribute my research findings for the study titled ‘Sweet and Umami Taste Perception Differs with Physical Activity in Males’ published in the Nutrients journal.
In the Summer 2019, I volunteered as a nutrition student alongside a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare students and professionals in Kisiizi Hospital, South Western Uganda.
During this time, I participated in workshops and presentations within the hospital and out in the community. In particular, our nutrition goal was to improve the dietary intake and reduce the risk of malnutrition for children diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
This experience enabled me to develop a strong awareness of the importance of a multi-disciplinary team in all healthcare settings across the world.
After finishing my undergraduate degree in human nutrition, I took a year out from my studies to work at a leading health store where I got first-hand experience of working with and advising people.
In addition, I took part in an evening programme ‘Psychology of the Mind and Behaviour’ at Trinity College Dublin which gave me an insight into the human brain and its influence on our food choices and human eating behaviour.