Former WIT Science undergraduate and winner of Best Poster in the category of Health Sciences, MPRG researcher Rachel Moran shares her ambitions
The winner of Best Poster in the category of Health Sciences is Rachel Moran.
Rachel participated in WIT’s Research Day 2017, presenting her area of research ‘to quantify and assess plasma concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) study’ which she undertook for her PhD studies with the supervision of academics from the School of Health Sciences in WIT (Prof John Nolan and Prof Stephen Beatty).
Before commencing her PhD studies, Rachel had already completed her undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology with Quality Management) at WIT before taking up the opportunity to further her studies with the Institute’s renowned Macular Pigment Research Group.
When asked to describe her area of research, Rachel summarised, “Three dietary carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin, accumulate in the macula, where they are collectively referred to as macular pigment. Age-related macular degeneration is a disease of the macula that, in its advanced stage, results in a loss of central vision. The light-filtering and antioxidant properties of MP render this pigment important for optimising visual function and protecting against AMD.” A highly-detailed area of very specific knowledge, Rachel’s investigation promotes the benefits of dietary intervention towards better eye health and general wellbeing.
While presenting the focus of her PhD research at the event, Rachel had (earlier in the year) already, successfully defended her doctoral thesis – Dr Rachel Moran – confirmation of the excellence achieved in her studies and contribution to the area of investigation.
Since completing her thesis, Rachel has started work as a postdoctoral researcher with the Institute with the support of her primary PhD supervisor (Prof John Nolan). Rachel says that her new project, “involves designing an experiment and a clinical trial. I will also be reporting to sponsors of the project and assisting my supervisor with paper and grant writing.” Remaining on the cutting edge of her field, Rachel sees her future continuing in nutrition, vision, cognition, and wellbeing.
This article is part of a series on Research Day 2017