Success for researchers

Photo of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Wayne McKenna.

A message from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Wayne McKenna:

We congratulate members of the Centre of Exercise and Nutrition (CEN) on their success in the 2017 Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE) research grant program.

Researchers from the CEN submitted four proposals, three of which were successful. In seeking to fund research that extends our understanding of the nutritional role that potatoes have to play in the diet, APRE upholds a commitment to seeking out and funding research of only the most credible and rigorous standards. Our successes are therefore to be applauded as testimony of the quality and vanguard of research being conducted at ACU.

Amounting to approximately $600,000 overall, our researchers will be supported to conduct studies in APRE’s areas of strategic priority, which include lifestyle, diet, and cardiometabolic health and disease.

Professor Louise Burke and Professor John Hawley, along with Professor Ron Maughan of St Andrews University, UK, were successful for their proposal Potato-supported strategies to increase carbohydrate oxidation, race economy and performance during endurance exercise. The project will be undertaken at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra and will investigate the benefits of a high fat diet versus high carbohydrate diet for performance. Given recent scientific and lay interest in high-fat, low carbohydrate diets, this project aims to reposition the important role of carbohydrate in the diet of active individuals.

Similarly, Professor Luc van Loon, in collaboration with colleague Dr Tim Snijders of Maastricht University, will investigate potato as a supplement to support physical performance in a world-first assessment of the anabolic properties of this major plant-based source of protein.

Dr Brooke Devlin and Professor John Hawley will undertake a project Nocturnal blood glucose responses to potato-based mixed evening meals. This study willinvestigate the effects of cooking methods on the glycemic index of potatoes with the aim of establishing the place of the potato in a well-balanced meal plan. In particular, the study will focus on the post-meal glucose responses to test meals and their effects on blood glucose concentrations during sleep.

Adding to this outstanding success, a fourth grant was won by visiting fellow Dr Trine Moholdt from The Norwegian University of Science & Technology. Dr Moholdt is currently working with researchers at the CEN and is closely aligned with ACU and the other successful projects through this work. In this sense, ACU has somewhat ‘scooped the pool’ when it comes to APRE’s 2017 research grant round.

These studies will commence later in 2017 and are expected to run for between twelve and eighteen months. We eagerly anticipate the outcomes of this exciting research.

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