Jamie de Seymour, Bachelor of Science (First-class Honours) in Human Nutrition, PhD Candidate (Biomedical Sciences)

I completed my Bachelor of Science in 2012 with a double major in human nutrition and psychology at Massey University, New Zealand. In 2013 I formed a research collaboration between Massey University and the Liggins Institute on an honours project; Metabolomic Profiling to Investigate the Association Between Maternal Diet and Pregnancy Outcomes. After being awarded first class honours in human nutrition by the end of 2013, I was offered two doctoral scholarships. In February of 2014 I began my Doctorate in Biomedical Science with a nutrition-focused research project in collaboration with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the National University of Singapore. My research investigates the association between maternal diet and gestational diabetes mellitus; using a novel metabolomic approach. In mid-2014 I was awarded a Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia which provided funding for an extended research visit to Singapore; an invaluable experience, both personally and professionally.

Along with my studies, I have maintained an active lifestyle since a young age, dabbling in a range of interesting sports/leisure activities which included netball, swimming, hula dancing, jazz ballet, waterpolo, and synchronised swimming, just to name a few. I also made it into the New Zealand U18 Underwater Hockey team in 2006. As long as I can remember, I have been interested in food, nutrition, and the effect that nutrients have on our body, mind, and athletic performance. As a New Zealand representative in underwater hockey in high school, I was introduced to the importance of food through its necessity as a fuel for surviving (and excelling in) the delicate balance between school, part-time employment, and long training hours. I have experimented in many sports recreationally since then, and have most recently developed a passion for aerial silks, which I first discovered in Singapore while on my research visit. I have also attended aerial silks classes in San Francisco while on a PhD conference trip in 2015.

During my undergraduate studies, my main nutrition interests shifted from sports nutrition to maternal and infant nutrition. I predominantly owe this shift to one of my now-PhD supervisors Dr Cathryn Conlon, a senior lecturer at Massey University, New Zealand. Dr Conlon taught an undergraduate paper in maternal and infant nutrition with such passion and conviction, I immediately wanted to be a part of the up-and-coming research in that domain. The concept that what a mother eats during pregnancy (and even pre-pregnancy!) can affect the long-term health of both mother AND her offspring after birth, makes pregnancy an obvious opportunity for dietary intervention and prevention strategies to improve the long-term health of future generations. This includes reducing the rates of obesity and related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are associated consequences of many pregnancy disorders, including gestational diabetes mellitus. 

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