Institute for Global Food Security student Nor Haji Mohd Mana recently beat off competition from five other finalists to win the Northern Ireland heats of the Young Scientist Competition, run by the Institute of Food Science and Technology and sponsored by Northern Ireland Food and Drink.
Nor presented her project to a distinguished panel, which represented a cross-selection of the food and drink industry with experience in a variety of roles in manufacture, retail and food service during the regional final at Ulster University earlier this summer.
Nor, who studies Food Quality, Safety & Nutrition at IGFS, impressed the judges with her presentation entitled 'Assessing anti-diabetic potential of medicinal plants'.
Upon receiving the Award, she said: "I was always a quiet girl who was afraid of public speaking. I entered the competition to give myself a challenge and to push myself out of my comfort zone. I am glad I had the chance to overcome my fears."
The Young Scientist Competition is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as ‘early-career’ professionals who are within three years of graduating from their first degree. Entrants are required to submit an abstract of no more than 250 words on their subject area.
Michael Bell from NIFDA, who sponsored the event, commented: "It was great to see so many excellent bright young scientists interested in our world class food industry. I was really impressed by the tenacity and intelligence of all the students. The future of the local food industry looks bright."
Other projects presented to the competition covered topics such prebiotic potential of algal-derived polysaccharides, the effect of packaging colour on perception of sweetness in fruit juice, the association between body weight and vitamin D in pregnancy and the influence of fatty acid desaturase (FADS) genotype and fatty acid intake on cholesterol levels.
Second place in the competition was taken by Food Technology student, Susanne Taggart from the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).