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Participants at the International Trainee Symposium in Agri-Food, Health and Nutrition

Members of last year's organizing committee have returned to help plan the 2024 symposium.

Food and health symposium provides a platform for trainees

January 15, 2024 — 

The 2nd International Trainee Symposium in Agri-Food, Nutrition and Health returned to the University of Manitoba January 25-26, hosted this year at the Richardson Centre for Food Technology and Research.

This unique event offers a platform for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to showcase their work and engage in discussions with other researchers and trainees in their field.

The symposium originated from a collaboration between the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine.

Event co-chair Dr. Nicola Gasparre says the purpose of the symposium is to facilitate research knowledge translation and networking, both vital to students’ professional development.

“Research communication is crucial to share and disseminate the latest advancements in the understanding of the relationship between food, nutrition, and health. Additionally, trainee promotion is essential for developing the next generation of investigators.”

The symposium drew 80 presenters from 10 countries, some of whom joined virtually.  The “rapid-fire” oral component gave participants seven minutes to make their presentations. (See list of winners below)

Presentations highlighted research related to the design of new food products, examining their processing, technological and nutritional characteristics, and will explore functional foods, bioactive compounds, and natural health products.

“The public’s growing interest in using food as a tool for health underscores the importance of discussing and advancing knowledge in this area,” says Gasparre.

This year, Dr. Cristina Rosell, department head in Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, as well as member of the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology of the Spanish National Research Council, serves as chair of the event.

Co-chairs include Dr. Gasparre as well as Dr. Thomas Netticadan, Jenny Bouchard, Brad Feltham, Dr. Ruchira Nandasiri, and Pam Gauthier. The Food and Human Nutritional Sciences Graduate Student Association has also played an active role in event organization.

“Our experience in organizing this event has transcended mere coordination; it has been a profound journey of growth and collaboration. Each step of the way, the synergy within the organizing committee has not only shaped the event itself but has also been instrumental in our individual and collective development,” says Gasparre.

“There is a genuine eagerness to create an atmosphere where knowledge thrives, connections flourish, and the collective passion for agri-food, nutrition, and health takes center stage.”

Presentation Winners

Session I: Food Science and Technology
1st Place Carla Navarro Molina UofM-University of Valencia, Spain Exploring Rhodiola rosea and Eleutherococcus senticosus as food ingredients
2nd Place Ubaida Adamu Muhammad Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok, Russia Extraction and application of bioactive compounds from senna occidentalis to fortify yoghurt
Session II: Food Science and Technology
1st Place Leire Cantero-Ruiz de Eguino University of the Basque Country, Spain Healthy, safe and sustainable gluten-free bread based on the valorization of local ingredients: apple pomace and flaxseed
2nd Place Ainhoa Vicente Fernandez University of Valladolid, Spain Microwave-assisted hydrothermal treatment of quinoa grains as a tool to adapt the flour technological functionality
Session III: Food Science and Technology
1st Place Ángel Luis Gutierrez de la Fuente University of Valladolid, Spain New approach to improve gluten-free bakery products: high hydrostatic pressure treatment of nutrient-rich whole grains
2nd Place Joana Martínez-Martí   Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain Influence of physical treatments on the dietary fiber content and the techno-functional properties of clementine pomace
Session IV: Nutrition
1st Place Shiqi Huang University of Manitoba Transcriptome data show that the effects of DHA on endothelial cells are growth state dependent
1st Place Chelsey Walchuk University of Manitoba Assessing the impact of obesity and flaxseed consumption on the growth and lipidomic profile of the prostate in the JCR:LA-cp rat model of metabolic syndrome.
Session V: Agriculture
1st Place Joana Sofia Gomes Dias University of Minho, Braga, Portugal Subcritical water hydrolysis for the production of gelling and bioactive algae extracts
2nd Place Bianca Marques University of Minho, Braga, Portugal Pressurized liquid hydrolysis of meat and bone meal to obtain two valuable fractions: protein and minerals.
Session VI: Food Chemistry
1st Place Dinushi Kaushalya Gamage Dalhousie University, Canada Microencapsulation of fermented wild blueberry to improve the stability and bioactivity of (poly)phenols
2nd Place Daiana Santos de Almeida Polytechnic Institute of Bragança – Agricultural School, Portugal Biochemical profile of beetroot genotypes
Session VII: Food Science and Technology
1st Place Sathsara Deyalage University of Manitoba Exploring the nutritional potential and starch digestibility characteristics of underutilized ancient wheat species.
2nd Place Kofi Owusu Akyaw Oduro University of Manitoba Chickpea as a sustainable protein ingredient source: Improving sustainability in protein processing
Session VIII: Food Science and Technology
1st Place Chamali Kodikara University of Manitoba Bioactive compounds in Canadian Prairie Berries: A Comprehensive study on phenolic compounds, fatty acids, phytosterols, terpenoids, and their antioxidant and anti-hypertensive activities
2nd Place Vidheesha Abeysinghe University of Manitoba Improving material properties of Canola Protein-based packaging materials via ammonium persulphate-induced protein crosslinking and cohesive interactions

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