This year’s Riddet Institute Conference, incorporating the Riddet Institute Student Colloquium 2018, was held at the InterContinental, Wellington over three days in July. The Conference programme saw keynote and guest presentations from overseas and closer to home, Principal and Associate Investigators and Affiliated Researchers providing Platform and Project overviews, and selected PhD students giving 10-minute presentations as part of the Best Student Presenter Award.
The keynote speakers were of particular interest. Mr Mark Piper, head of Fonterra Research and Development Centre, gave an amusing and thought-provoking speech on leadership styles, peppered with personal and professional anecdotes. In the next keynote speech, Dist Prof R. Paul Singh, UC Davis, proposed some Grand Challenges in Food Engineering and the opportunities it afforded research and education.
We were also fortunate to host two guest speakers: Dist Prof Nigel French (NZ Food Safety Science & Research Centre) and Prof Fariba Dehghani (University of Sydney). Dist Prof French opened Day 2 with a discussion on the concepts and important features of food safety and security in the 21st Century, including emerging issues and new approaches to protecting trade and the consumer. To begin Day 3, Prof Dehghani shared with us the work going on at the Centre for Excellence in Advanced Food Enginomics, in particular the research on sustainability in food supply chain and recovery of high value products from resources for health benefits.
For the Riddet Institute research platform programmes, we had an overview of each following by project specific talks spread across the three days. Platform 1: Food Materials and Structures was covered on Day 1, Platforms 2: Gastrointestinal Interactions and 3: Metabolism and Nutrition were discussed on Day 2 in the morning and afternoon respectively, and Platform 4: Structuring for Optimum Functionality was presented on Day 3. The student presentations within each platform were greatly enjoyed and constituted the Riddet Institute Student Colloquium 2018 Best Student Presentation Award. Honourable mentions went to Sarah Priour (Massey University), Caleb Robinson (University of Otago) and Siqi Li (Massey University). The runner-up to the prize was Olivia Ogilvie (The University of Auckland & Plant and Food Research) for her presentation entitled “Understanding how gluten is digested into immunogenic peptides” but the ultimate winner was the very last speaker Hoang Du Le (Massey University) with his presentation “Carbohydrate systems for delivery bioactives to the colon”.
Throughout the conference, student posters were on display with a dedicated poster session taking place on Day 2. The posters were also judged as part of the Riddet Institute Student Colloquium 2018 and a People’s Choice Award was also available. Isuri Jayawardana (Massey University) won the People’s Choice Award with her poster on the effect of actinidin on digestion of immunogenic-gluten proteins. The Best Student Poster prize runner-up was awarded to Akashdeep Beniwal (Massey University) for his work on the development of food analogues using plant and dairy proteins, and the winner of the 2018 Best Student Poster prize was Utpal Prodhan (The University of Auckland) for his poster entitled “Lactose intolerance has little impact on milk protein digestion and postprandial amino acid concentrations”.
Well done to all of our students for their oral and poster presentations and thanks go to our investigators and researchers for their presentations and attention. Special thanks go to our keynote and guest speakers for taking the time to share their knowledge and expertise. Finally, an enormous thank you goes to our resident Events Co-ordinator, Mrs Ansley Te Hiwi and her team. Without her hard work, this fantastic event would not have happened or run as smoothly as it did. Thank you everyone and we look forward to seeing you next year!