Imre Kouw wins British Nutrition Foundation’s early career scientist award

ACU researcher Imre Kouw has received the British Nutrition Foundation’s prestigious 2020 BNF Drummond Early Career Scientist Award which recognises early career excellence in nutrition science.

Dr Kouw, a post-doctoral researcher at ACU’s Mary Mackillop Institute for Health Research, was recognised for her research into the impact of intermittent fasting on skeletal muscle metabolism.

Intermittent fasting is a growing field of interest in nutrition science research.

Dr Kouw investigates how dietary fasting strategies can affect sarcopenic obesity - a condition categorised by low muscle mass, reduced physical ability and excess body fat – which is a growing problem in older people.

“It is an honour to receive the 2020 BNF Drummond Early Career Scientist Award, especially alongside so many other brilliant nutrition scientists making great progress in their field,” Dr Kouw said.

“Over the coming years, I aspire to continue advancing the research field in muscle metabolism and investigate effective nutritional strategies to reduce muscle loss during acute and chronic disease in the aged population – an area of increasing importance due to the growth of the global population aged over 65.”

Commendations went to Dr Taryn Smith at the Institute for Global Nutrition at the University of California Davis for her work on thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency in infants, and Dr Nanna Julie Olsen at the Research Unit for Dietary Studies at the Parker Institute, Bispebjerg in Denmark for her work investigating the effect of sugary beverages on a child’s metabolism.

Dr Kouw’s award win follows the announcement that she has been granted a Rubicon Fellowship from The Dutch Research Council (NWO) to further research enteral feeding patterns in ICU patients at the Royal Adelaide Hospital later this year.

“Eating around the clock has negative effects in healthy people so we want to examine how tube feeding at set times influences the blood sugar levels and gastrointestinal function of intensive care patients,” she said.

“Intensive care patients are usually fed continuously and deteriorate considerably during their admission.”

The Rubicon programme gives promising young researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience.

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