Science in Practice
Meet your Mad Scientist - Dr Emma Becket
1. What is your current position, and what do you do?
Molecular Nutritionist – I research how the food we eat changes our bodies, and how our bodies change the food we eat, and how we respond to it.
2. What interests did you have growing up?
When I was a kid I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, because I loved the idea of looking at the evidence to figure out what had happened, and arguing with people about it. I fancied myself as a little detective, but I was scared of criminals! When I grew up I realized looking at evidence and figuring out what was going on was what scientists do!
3. Would you recommend pursuing a career in the sciences?
Of course, I love it! Food and Nutrition Science is a particularly good science for me because everyone eats so we have lots of opportunities to help make the world a better place.
4. What advice would you give to kids who are interested in the sciences?
Science is more than just physics, chemistry and maths – applied science like food and nutrition science let you use all those sciences in the real world. There is science in everything that happens in the world. Food is more than just hospitality and home economics, we need science to do everything in food from the paddock to the plate.
Dr Emma Beckett has a multi-faceted research background, with qualifications and experience in nutrition, epidemiology, science management, biomedical sciences, immunology and microbiology. Emma completed her PhD, in 2016, as a joint project between the Faculty of Science at the University of Newcastle and the CSIRO Food and Nutrition Flagship.
Emma is interested in molecular nutrition and her work focuses on gene-nutrient interactions. This involves the study of both how genetic variance alters the bodies responses to nutrition (nutrigenetics), and how nutrients influence gene expression (nutrigenomics) via direct interactions and modification of epigenetic marks. She hopes to unravel how our genes and nutrients interact to modify our risk of chronic and later-life-onset diseases.
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.