Travel story: Amy Garrett

Amy Garrett from the Robinson Research Institute travelled to Sydney in July to attend and give a poster and presentation at the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) Conference and also attended a full-day workshop on “The Adolescent Window: DOHaD Interventions that engage adolescents of transgenerational change”.

Amy’s oral poster presentation was on “Sex differences in parent-reported anxiety in 8-10 year old children following maternal depression during pregnancy” and her poster was on “Maternal depression in pregnancy and behavioural differences between 8-10 year old male and female children”.

This is what Amy had to say about her experience.

What was a highlight of the travel?

Meeting many other PhD students from many other different institutes across Australia, and then going on the Sydney Harbour boat cruise dinner.

Did you attend any workshops, labs, research facilities or attend any meetings associated with your travel?

I attended the preceding full day workshop entitled “The Adolescent Window: DOHaD Interventions that engage adolescents of transgenerational change”. The day was run primarily by Dr Jacquie Bay from the Liggins Institute in New Zealand who has a keen interest in implementing good health behaviours through the education of adolescents. The day began information around public awareness and understanding of DOHaD, which brought us to a discussion around adolescence being a key time to attempt to break the cycle of transgenerational disease. The day then concluded with information on different interventions that had been used in schools to educate and empower adolescents towards a healthier future, and hence how we could use some of these strategies in our research.

Did you meet any researchers or collaborators of significance? Why are they important to your work?

Dr Jacquie Bay whose research focuses on knowledge translation. It was extremely interesting to hear about how effective it has been for her teaching adolescents about the importance of eating healthy food, and the difference this has made in their understanding of the DOHaD concept. This is important to our research as I hope that our findings will potentially help to inform new interventions, hence knowing what interventions have worked and what is feasible will help us with the dissemination of our results. I also got to meet Prof Mark Vickers and Prof Karen Moritz who gave some great career and life advice at the “Meet the experts” lunch.

How will the experience support you and your research going forward?

I learnt a lot at this conference, particularly around how we can disseminate our results to our participants in an educational way. The cohort and translational working group gave us an opportunity to hear from other cohort studies tips and tricks as to keep our cohort participants engaged in the research and coming back for future follow ups.

What was the most exciting thing you learned/experienced whilst traveling?

I really enjoyed the workshop. The focus was on empowering adolescents with information so that they could drive their own change, rather than just telling them what was right or wrong. It was a very interesting area of translational research that I had not heard much about, so it was fascinating to hear all the positive changes that this program was having on adolescents changing their health behaviours to improve their own long term health.

What was the most interesting or unexpected moment of your travel?

The most interesting thing was hearing how different cohort studies keep their participants actively engaged in the research to retain numbers- it really does give you a new appreciation into how much work goes on behind the scenes of cohort studies!

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