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Amino Acids: This is It

Unbelievable achievement at the EuroFIR Food Symposium poster competition in Brussels!
29th Jun 2018

Hey, everyone! Nicola here for one last blog to update you on finishing my amino acid project and student placement with Nutritics. 

Following on from my previous blog, which detailed the method we developed for estimating amino acids, we further designed the method for the project and I completed the estimation process. 

I was at the final stages of my project at the start of February when we got notified that the registration for the EuroFIR Food Forum and poster competition was open. We immediately began writing up my work as an abstract for submission to the poster competition. The deadline for submission with the 28th of February so I was really under pressure to get the work completed and get the abstract written. 

Everything took longer than I anticipated and I really felt the pressure of the looming deadline. However, after many long days (and nights) of writing and rewriting, numerous emails to my supervisors in college and Nutritics, it was ready to be submitted. Hitting that submit button was really daunting. 

It was mid-March by the time I had heard back from EuroFIR, and thankfully, the abstract was accepted. We were going to Brussels!! 

The next step was preparing an A0 poster that was able to be explained in under three minutes. Following the instructions from Nutritics’ CTO, Ciarán, the poster was designed and ready to be printed off. 

The EuroFIR Food Symposium 2018 was an amazing opportunity for me. I had never attended a conference before, let alone presented at one! It was extremely interesting to see and listen to all the different advancements and discoveries that had been made across Europe in the nutrition field. I felt so nervous before the poster presentations began. All of these scientists and nutrition experts were extremely knowledgeable in their field of nutrition. Presenting to these experts as a student was extremely daunting. 

 But, I did it! I was able to convey all the important information to the audience, a lot of whom were not native English speakers, while remaining calm, collected and within the 3-minute time limit. I was able to answer all the questions I was asked and everyone seemed really interested in my work and it’s potential for future research. I felt such a sense of achievement and pride.  

I didn’t think it could get any better – but it did: At the end of the session the judges reviewed the posters and coordinated their marking - I won!! I came 1st in the poster competition! This made me feel incredibly proud of myself. My work over the past ten months was rewarded! I never thought this chance would present itself during my college years.  

I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisors in Nutritics, Frankie and Damian, who gave me such an amazing opportunity to become part of the Nutritics team for my final college year, and who were so generous with their time, advice and encouragement throughout the duration of my internship. 

I would also like to thank John and Mairead from DIT, Lena, Ciarán, and Aisling from Nutritics, Aoife and Rida from UCD, who helped me along the way in the completion of my project.

As this is my final blog, thank you for reading, you can read my abstract here and you can see my poster here.

Feel free to contact me through my LinkedIn if you have any questions or comments. 

Thanks, Nicola