Student explores the tiny world of microRNAs

Ivy Men, a Riddet Institute PhD student at AgResearch, is exploring whether a type of small molecule called microRNA (miRNA) that is found in various food sources may survive the process of digestion, and subsequently influence human intestinal function by interacting with our genes. Jointly funded by the Riddet Institute and Gravida (National centre for Growth & Development), Ivy is only 9 months into her PhD, but was recently awarded highly commended for a 3-minute thesis presentation and a poster at the 2014 Gravida Symposium.

During her project, Ivy will be investigating how miRNAs are produced, their functions, and their interactions in complex environments such as the human intestine. Her work will provide fundamental clues as to their roles in health and allow us to a deeper and better understanding of food beyond its nutritional properties.

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