A University of Adelaide professor has become the first woman to receive a prestigious lifetime achievement award for her research into fatty acids and lipids and their impact on children’s health.

Professor Maria Makrides is the Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children Theme Leader with the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, and Professor of Human Nutrition with the University of Adelaide. She was also a researcher in the FOODplus Research Centre, based at the Waite until 2017.

She has become the first woman to receive the prestigious Alexander Leaf Distinguished Scientist Award for Lifetime Achievement, presented at the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) Congress in Las Vegas, USA.

Professor Makrides received ISSFAL’s highest honour for her work evaluating the effect of different dietary fats during pregnancy and infancy on the growth, health and development of babies.

Her work has set new standards internationally for the conduct of nutrition intervention studies with young families and has had an important influence on recommendations guiding the intake of dietary fatty acids in pregnancy, lactation and infancy.

Professor Makrides said she was delighted to receive this recognition at ISSFAL 2018.

“I feel incredibly humbled to be in such excellent company of past recipients. There are so many potential worthy scientists in our field,” Professor Makrides said.

“I am fortunate to have worked with teams of fantastic researchers, clinicians and clinical and research staff across my career. We have a diverse and vibrant team, which is largely based at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. This diversity and the fact that we are embedded in the health services has facilitated our ability to make impactful contributions, and to translate discovery into health impact for mothers and their babies.”

At the Congress, Professor Makrides delivered a presentation in which she reflected on the research studies and situations that offered the greatest learnings and opportunities for career development, explaining that they were not always the easy options.

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