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The inaugural International Trainee Symposium in Agri-Food, Nutrition and Health was hosted by CCARM on January 19-20, 2023 at the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre.

Building on the success of CCARM’s Rapid Fire Research Symposiums in 2017 and 2019, which was paused during the pandemic, the CCARM team under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Netticadan decided to relaunch the event this year on an even bigger scale at no cost incurred by the participants.

“It was our desire to invite trainees from around the world to join us, in order to expand our shared body of knowledge for Agri-health and provide them with a broader audience to hone their presentation skills,” said symposium chair, Dr. Thomas Netticadan, an objective achieved by partnering with the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology -IATA- in Spain.
“In addition, we also wanted to welcome all other researchers globally to join this event and learn of the latest advances in the field of Agri-health.”

With 49 trainees answering this invitation, the symposium featured presentations from young food sciences and nutrition/health investigators from Argentina, Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom.

Featuring guest lectures by Dr. Samantha Pauls, Assistant Professor College of Pharmacy University of Manitoba, and Dr. Michael Eskin, and opening remarks from Dr. Joyce Boye, Director General of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Science and Technology Branch – Prairie Region, and Dr. Eric Liu, Director, Research, Development and Technology Transfer  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for Manitoba, the program was moderated by Dr. Nicola Gasparre, Jenny Bouchard, Bradley Feltham and Dr. Ruchira Nandasiri.

Using the rapid-fire presentation format, the delegates were challenged to explain their research problem, their findings and the implications for Agri-foods and health in only seven minutes. Those from overseas presented virtually over Zoom, a cost-effective way to allow students with limited travel budgets to participate and benefit from the symposium experience.   

The two-day event was a great success, held exclusively onsite at the Albrechtsen Research Centre, culminating in the awards presentation to each sessions’ winners and a banquet held in the Asper Clinical Research Institute mezzanine room overlooking the Red River and the Winnipeg skyline.

Closing remarks were graciously provided by Dr. Scott Duguid, Associate Director, Research, Development and Technology, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dr. Cristina Rosell, Professor and Head of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, and Dr. Michael Czubryt, Executive Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital.

“We are very pleased that the Symposium provided trainees with an international platform to disseminate their research findings, and an opportunity to network with colleagues, mentors and other researchers in the field. It was also greatly satisfying to note that the event was well attended by audiences from all over the world,” added Netticadan. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the organizing committee for the huge amount of time and effort they invested in organizing this event, as well as the volunteers, communication and audiovisual support services, and housekeeping services for their valuable assistance.” CCARM’s next bit event is a three-day hybrid meeting titled “International Conference on the Advances in Health Benefits of Agri-Foods” in 2024, a more elaborate session for trainees to help with their career development.

  • Winners of the 2023 CCARM International Symposium
    Session I 1st Prize: Andrea Bresciani, University of Milan, Italy; 2nd Prize, Laura Andrea Cabrera-Villamizar, University of Valencia, Spain
    Session II 1st Prize: Paulo D.M. Brites, University of Aveiro, Portugal; 2nd Prize: Ana Rita Soares Mateus, Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária, Portugal
    Session III 1st Prize, Breanne Semenko, University of Manitoba, Canada; 2nd Prize: Shiqi Huang, University of Manitoba, Canada
    Session IV 1st Prize: Vibhuti Arya, University of Manitoba, Canada: 2nd Prize: Charith U.B. Wijerathne, University of Manitoba, Canada
    Session V 1st Prize: Mohamed El-Shetehy, University of Manitoba, Canada; 2nd Prize: Roshema Mihindukulasuriya, University of Manitoba, Canada
    Session VI 1st Prize: Mohammed Mira, University of Manitoba, Canada; 2nd Prize: Anashwar Valsalan, University of Manitoba, Canada

Congratulations to all, and we look forward to next year!

Winnipeg skyline photo credit: Salvador Maniquiz