Nor Haji Mohd Mana from Queen’s University Belfast and Susanne Taggart from CAFRE have been announced as winners of the Young Scientist Competition, sponsored by NIFDA.
Nor and Susanne presented their food related projects to a distinguished panel, which represented a cross-selection of the food and drink industry with experience in a variety of roles in manufacture, retail and food service during the regional final at Ulster University on 1 June 2017.
Nor, who studies Food Quality, Safety & Nutrition impressed the judges with her presentation entitled “Assessing anti-diabetic potential of medicinal plants”. Susanne, a Food Technology student, came to a close second for her presentation “An investigation in to the substitution of sucrose with allulose in sponge cakes.”
Other projects presented covered topics such prebiotic potential of algal-derived polysaccharides, the effect of packaging colour on perception of sweetness in fruit juice, the association between body weight and vitamin D in pregnancy and Influence of fatty acid desaturase (FADS) genotype and fatty acid intake on cholesterol levels.
Upon receiving the Award, Nor said: “I was always a quiet girl who was afraid of public speaking. I entered the competition to give myself a challenge and to push myself out of my comfort zone. I am glad I had the chance to overcome my fears.”
Susanne added: “It is important to present at competitions like IFST Young Scientist because it enables you to share your findings with other students and industry professionals amongst the science community. I am very passionate about the topic I presented on (sugar reduction in bakery products) and was delighted to gain such positive feedback on my research findings. I really enjoyed listening to the other finalists presentations and felt the diverse range of findings presented demonstrates why food science is such a fantastic research area to be involved with. It is also something that will bolster your CV and impress potential employees.”
The Young Scientist Competition is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as ‘early-career’ graduates who are within three years of graduating from their first degree. Entrants are required to submit an abstract of no more than 250 words on their subject area.
Michael Bell from NIFDA, who sponsored the event, commented: “It was great to see so many excellent bright young scientists interested in our world class food industry. I was really impressed by the tenacity and intelligence of all the students. The future for you in the local food industry is very bright.”