Dietitian/Owner, Fearless Nutrition
Doctor of Philosophy candidate
She is passionate about nutrition and its significance in preventing chronic lifestyle-related diseases, says Sylvia North who is currently completing her PhD at AUT.
“Globally, we’re facing a tidal wave of diabetes and related health problem and I just don’t think we’re doing enough on an education and primary health level to prevent more New Zealanders from developing type 2 diabetes.
“For my PhD I’m exploring hyperinsulinaemia in pregnancy, and the dietary implications of gestational diabetes. I chose to look at pregnancy because it’s one of the earliest points to introduce interventions that reduce the future risks of obesity and metabolic syndrome in both the mother and the infant.”
Sylvia’s PhD research is supervised by Dr Caryn Zinn and Dr Catherine Crofts.
The right university environment
Her supervisor was what attracted her to AUT for her PhD, says Sylvia who previously completed a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at another university.
“I chose to pursue a PhD because I’m excited by further learning and developing more links in academia. I wanted to work specifically with Dr Caryn Zinn who has been an awesome mentor since I graduated as a dietitian.”
There have been a number of highlights throughout her PhD journey so far.
“I was supported to choose a research topic that excited me and was able to work in an environment with experts who were equally excited about my topic. I enjoy being based at AUT Millennium where we have a strong postgraduate social culture, especially down at the power zone weightlifting gym. The academic staff – especially our postgraduate coordinator, my supervisors, and the library staff and IT services staff – have also always been very helpful if I had any problems.”
A great experience
She would highly recommend a PhD in nutrition to other students, says Sylvia who expects to complete her doctoral degree in June 2022.
“I’ve had a great experience in my PhD, so I’d of course recommend coming to AUT if a doctoral degree excites you.”
Sylvia already has a good idea what she wants to do next.
“I want to continue my private practice at Fearless Nutrition, but I also plan to work more specifically in the pregnancy space. I’d like to work on developing resources to better support primary care prevention of diabetes in pregnancy.”