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Food for Thought gathers COST Early Stage Researcher Workshop at European Open Science Forum 2008

Our eating habits were up for discussion when COST organised its first workshop as part of European Open Science Forum 2008 (ESOF) in Barcelona.

Focusing on a topic that affects all of us, “Fat: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” stimulated much debate among experts and young researchers. It was also an opportunity for COST to promote the advantages of a career in research.

“Young researchers are the target of this session. It was an enlightening experience for them. They have learnt a lot in a day. More than they would have in one semester. They have got an overview of the topic and also gained specific ideas. Our goal is to educate,” says Prof Schlomo Sasson, Director of the Diabetes Research Centre, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

“The workshop presentations were based on certain key words: lipids, metabolism, oxygen and stress. We presented the good and bad aspects of fat. Fat is often seen as wrong but eating proper food can attenuate bad fats,” says Neven Žarkovic, Senior Scientist and Head of Laboratory at Rudjer Boskovic Institute.

Chairs from each COST Action chose students to join them for discussions. Interactive and interdisciplinary, this workshop counted experts from biochemistry chemistry and medicine, all sharing different aspects of their knowledge. Presentations looked at how food affects our lives including the factors controlling appetite and food intake and the damaging roles of lipids and free radicals causing life threatening diseases. Talks also focused on how food and endogenous antioxidants can prevent the pathological process.

“Apart from making young people enthusiastic about science, our workshop aimed to show the opportunities for funding and collaboration in science,”says Prof Juergen Eckel, Acting Director, German Diabetes Centre, Düsseldorf. He has been involved in COST for the past 15 years and first joined during Action B15. “COST was unknown at that stage; it was only though word of mouth that I found out about it. Now, we are seeing a positive change. It has become an important instrument and Actions are continuously increasing,” he explains.

“Fat: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” was just one of three workshop organised during COST’s participation to ESOF2008, an open platform for debate between leading scientists, young researchers, policy makers, business people and journalist.

Inge De Prins | alfa
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