Monday, 24 July 2017

Monash postdoc receives award to develop expertise in Doubly Labelled Water

Dr Kay Nguo
Monash researcher Dr Kay Nguo has been awarded the Golden Key Asia-Pacific Alumni Professional Development Grant to develop her skills in the use of stable isotopes in metabolic research.

Having completed her PhD at Monash University’s Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food last year, Dr Nguo is now a postdoctoral researcher.  She will use this grant towards attendance at the 4th International Conference on Recent Advances and Controversies in Measuring Energy Metabolism (RACMEM) in Switzerland.

“A primary element of my position at Monash University is working with a dual inlet Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (IRMS) to analyse stable isotopes (oxygen 18 and deuterium) for the determination of body composition and energy expenditure in humans,” Dr Nguo said.

This gold standard technique is called Doubly Labelled Water (DLW), a measurement used to determine energy expenditure in free living individuals.

 “There are few nutrition scientists with knowledge of the DLW technique in Australia, so this training will have broader benefits in that it will help to greatly increase our capacity to further explore and conduct metabolic research and to undertake analysis relevant to others in the field.”

As far as we know, only two universities in Australia have capabilities to specifically perform DLW, and Monash University will be the first facility in Victoria.

Dr Nguo said attendance at the conference will help her acquire the skills to conduct nutrition research projects that require accurate measurement of energy expenditure and total body water in humans for the exploration of the concepts surrounding energy balance.
Earlier this year, Dr Nguo was also awarded the Australia Nutrition Trust Fund (ANTF) Travelling Fellowship to visit Professor Dale Schoeller at the University of Wisconsin, USA.

“An internationally recognised expert in energy metabolism and body composition, Professor Schoeller was the first person to apply the doubly labelled water technique for the measurement of energy expenditure in humans in 1982,” Dr Nguo said.
Dr Nguo acknowledges Professor Helen Truby, Head of the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food for her support and the opportunity to be involved in this research.

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