Māori health research PhD scholarship (2018 funding round)

Pania Bridge-Comer
University of Auckland
Effects of artificial sweetener in the maternal diet on offspring fertility
36 months

Lay summary

I have completed an undergraduate degree in biomedical science, majoring in human genetics, at Victoria University of Wellington, and I am currently undertaking an honours thesis at the University of Auckland. My current research focus is on the effect of maternal diet and inflammation on female offspring fertility. My future PhD research aims to investigate the effect of artificial sweeteners in the maternal diet on the fertility and reproductive health of offspring using a mouse model. There is evidence that artificial sweeteners, as found in ‘diet’ or ‘light’ options, increase blood sugar and promote obesity. Limited information exists regarding the outcome of these compounds on the maternal metabolism and that of the offspring. Given the prevalence of ‘diet’ soft-drinks in New Zealand and raising obesity, understanding how artificial sweeteners affect the mother and the offspring, and whether they contribute to negative metabolic health outcomes, is important.

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