First N2RTU workshop to facilitate precision nutrition in Malaysia

First N²RTU workshop to facilitate precision nutrition in Malaysia

A five-day workshop on “Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics, and Data Analysis for Precision Nutrition” was organised by the Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics Research and Training Unit (N²RTU) under UTAR Centre for Biomedical and Nutrition Research (CBNR) from 15 to 19 August 2022 at UTAR Kampar Campus. The workshop was convened by Prof Vimal Karani S, Deputy Director of Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) from the University of Reading, United Kingdom and the organising committee included Malaysian Principal Investigator (PI) and Faculty of Science (FSc) academic Dr Anto Cordelia Tanislaus Antony Dhanapal, and co-investigators namely, FSc Deputy Dean for R&D and Postgraduate Programmes Dr Phoon Lee Quen, Chairperson of CBNR Dr Eddy Cheah Seong Guan, and FSc academic Dr Annaletchumy Loganathan.

The opening of the workshop was graced by the Deputy Director of Institute of Postgraduate Studies and Research of Kampar Campus Prof Dr Sumathi Sethupathi who appreciated the N2RTU team for pioneering nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics research and training in Malaysia.

The workshop was attended by nutritionists, dietitians, students, academics, public health officers, epidemiologists, and general practitioners from 22 different organisations in Malaysia, Singapore, and India. It was conducted as part of the Nutrigenetics, and Nutrigenomics Research and Training Unit (N²RTU) project funded by the British Council, UK; Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) and supported by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Malaysia, and Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM). The purpose of the workshop was to transfer knowledge and technology pertaining to nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics and precision nutrition in Malaysia. During the workshop, the participants underwent group activities such as personalised nutrition debates and presentations, quizzes, hands-on experience in genetic analysis, and statistical genetic analysis training using appropriate software.

The workshop included talks given by speakers from the UK, namely Professor of Food Chain Nutrition and Director of IFNH of UoR Prof Dr Ian Givens; Associate Professor in Metagenomics of UoR, Dr Gemma Walton; and Lecturer from the University of Surrey, UK, Dr Shelini Surendran. Additionally, Vice President of NSM Dr Mahenderan Appukutty gave a lecture on sports nutrigenomics and its applications in precision nutrition. Hands-on experience in DNA extraction, next generation sequencing, and bioinformatics analysis was provided by Field Application Scientist of Neoscience Sdn Bhd, Malaysia Ms. Ngan Xue Yi. Industry experts, Founder of Adam’s Genetics, India Dr Shah Fahad Husami, and Dr. Zahiah binti Mohamed Amin from MyGenome, Malaysia also gave talks on DNA-based personalised nutrition services that are available in South Asia and Southeast Asia, respectively. The workshop ended with a closing remark delivered by FSc Dean Assoc Prof Dr Lim Tuck Meng.

N²RTU is the first of its kind in Malaysia with a focus on knowledge and technology transfer in the emerging field of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics via research and training. It was set up under CBNR,UTAR in collaboration with the University of Reading, and MoH and NSM as associate partners. Prof Vimal Karani S and Dr Anto Cordelia received the prestigious British Council Research Environmental Links (BC-REL) grant to implement N²RTU in Malaysia as part of the Going Global Partnership initiative by the British Council with the support of MIGHT, the Malaysian partner to the British Council.

Participants, speakers, and organisers of the first N²RTU workshop

Prof Sumathi delivering her inaugural address

Prof Vimal Karani providing useful insights into Nutrigenetics

Dr Gemma Walton delivering a talk titled “The Gut Microbiota in Non-Communicable Diseases”

Talk by Dr Shelini Surendran on “A Nutrigenetic Approach to examine the link between
Vitamin B12 Status and Metabolic Traits in Multiple Ethnic Groups”

Prof Ian Givens explaining the roles and activities of IFNH

Shah Fahad Husami enlightening participants on “Clinical Application of DNA -based Personalised Nutrition for Better Health Outcome”

An interactive session on Sports Nutrigenetics with Dr Mahenderan Appukutty

Dr Anto Cordelia during her presentation on “The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Precision Nutrition”

Participants during the debate on “Precision Nutrition”

Participants in action during group discussion

Participants demonstrating their skills during the group presentation

Dr Phoon presenting a token of appreciation to Dr Zahiah binti Mohamed Amin for her interesting talk titled “It’s all in your genes: you are what you eat?

Participants trying their hands on DNA extraction and next generation sequencing techniques

Prof Vimal Karani training the participants on Big Data Analysis for Precision Nutrition

Creating a Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics Research Ecosystem – Networking Dinner

Dr Lim delivering his closing remarks

Dr Lim presenting the certificate of completion to a participant

Top Scorer of all assessments, Mr Teh Kuan Chiet, Master's student from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia receiving his prize from Dr Mahenderan Appukutty

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