Postdoctoral student Colette Miller and graduate student Parisa Darkhal were award winners at the poster competition that was part of this year’s SEC Symposium, “Prevention of Obesity: Overcoming a 21st Century Public Health Challenge,” held in Atlanta in September.
The two were among six students selected from more than 80 entries, who were awarded honors for their poster presentations.
Miller won the first place award in the postdoctoral student poster competition for her poster, “Efficacy of a dietary phytochemical blend on preventing lipid-induced hepatotoxicity,” which is based on research performed in her doctoral studies under the direction of the late Clifton A. Baile, who began the Obesity Initiative at UGA.
Miller now conducts research on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and technologies relating to brown adipose tissue under the direction of Rich Meagher, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Genetics, and on nutrition and aging with Mary Ann Johnson, Bill and June Flatt Professor in Foods and Nutrition, College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
“I enjoyed the comprehensive discussion of obesity, which included a transition from basic science to applied nutrition and exercise interventions to prevent obesity,” said Miller. “It was great to be in such a small conference with well-known obesity experts.”
Darkhal won second place in the graduate student division of the poster competition for her poster, “Blocking high fat diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance and fatty liver by over-expression of IL-13 gene in mice.” Dharkal conducts research in the lab under Dexi Liu, department head, Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, College of Pharmacy.
Johnson said that in addition to providing students and postdocs with valuable feedback on their research, “small, welcoming environments like the SEC Symposium help young scientists meet established investigators.”
This year, members of UGA’s Obesity Initiative were featured panelists in each of the SEC Symposium’s eight sessions, which covered the topic of obesity prevention, from genetics and physiology to early influences and workplace strategies to technology and media-based approaches and community actions to promote energy balance.
The SEC Symposium, which is attended by faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students, and staff from all 14 SEC schools, had 364 registrants, including 50 from UGA. UGA was represented by faculty and staff from College of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Public Health, College of Education, College of Pharmacy, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Grady College.