Graduate Studentship grant leads to great career opportunities for Krista MacDonald
In 2015, Krista MacDonald received a WCHRI Graduate Studentship grant, allowing her to actively participate in a pediatric research project, offered within the University of Alberta.
Krista was eager to participate and worked with WCHRI members and Associate Professors in the Department of Pediatrics, Andrea Haqq and Diana Mager, on studying possible correlations between Vitamin D intake and health factors in obese children. To do this, their team studied two groups — children with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS).
“Vitamin D insufficiency has been related to poor bone health, liver disease, indices of muscle function and an increased risk for insulin resistance, inflammation and metabolic dysregulation, particularly in obese children,” MacDonald explained. “These study results will help inform the need for Vitamin D supplementation in obese children with chronic disease.”
MacDonald’s studentship has come to an end, but Haqq and Mager are continuing to gain ground.
For now, MacDonald has set her sights on becoming a pediatric dentist, which she partially attributes to an experience she had because of the Graduate Studentship grant.
“The award allowed me to go to the 2016 ASPEN [American Society for Parental and Enteral Nutrition] Conference in Texas to do a poster presentation about my research,” MacDonald notes. “One of the workshops I participated in focused on the relationships between nutrition and oral health. I learned to recognize and actually had hands on experience identifying nutritional deficiencies in mouths — evoking a curiosity in dentistry.”
As MacDonald begins her journey into dentistry, she says that she’ll reflect fondly on her experience through the Graduate Studentship Program — particularly when it comes to her supervisors.
“I had a great relationship with them [Haqq and Mager],” MacDonald explains. I really appreciated the opportunity to work with them! I have learned so much from this experience.”
Krista MacDonald’s Graduate Studentship grant was funded by the generous support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation through WCHRI. For more on MacDonald’s project, visit her profile within the 2016 Graduate Studentship Booklet.