2010 Healthy Development Adelaide Award

Professor Maria Makrides

Professor Maria Makrides was presented with the Healthy Development Adelaide Award at the 6th annual HDA Oration ‘Meeting the nutritional needs of early life: the evidence and the myths'.

Professor Makrides is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Women's and Children's Health Research Institute. She is also the Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Adelaide.

As a research dietitian, Maria is committed to improving the nutrition and health of mothers and their babies through high quality research. She has published over 100 internationally peer-reviewed articles and is co-editor of the most widely sold paediatric nutrition text, which is available in English, Chinese, Spanish and soon to be translated in to French.

In the last five years, Maria has attracted over $10 million of research funding to support her growing team based at the Women's and Children's Hospital and at Flinders Medical Centre. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) and is a member of the Nutrition Committee, Australian Academy of Science.

Oration overview: Nutritional deficiencies are now rare thanks to a basic understanding of which nutrients are essential. However, new challenges in ensuring an adequate supply of nutrients to all Australians brought on by technological change are emerging. New technology has enabled us to save the lives of smaller and smaller preterm infants and meeting their nutritional needs is a continuing challenge. Advances in food technology have resulted in foods than are increasingly rich in energy but depleted in nutrients resulting in nutritional imbalances that threaten our health. Conversely, technology has allowed us to enrich foods and create supplements with synthetic nutrients that can result in nutrient levels that drift towards the toxic range. New tools for measuring the effects of nutrients on human health including large scale randomised controlled trials with long term follow-up are helping us redefine nutritional guidelines for better health for all Australians. 

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