Published: 06 August 2013

Nutrition graduate scoops FHMS Postgraduate Researcher of the Year Award

Andrea Darling wins prize for multidisciplinary research into vitamin D deficiency.

Andrea’s PhD combines the disciplines of nutrition, chronobiology and sociology to examine the problem of vitamin D deficiency in older South Asian and Caucasian women.

Her work, which highlights the links between vitamin D status, light exposure, musculoskeletal health and sleep quality, has been published in internationally recognised high impact journals including Osteoporosis International and Bone. She hopes to publish further papers after finishing her PhD, which has been supervised by Professor Susan Lanham-New and Dr Kathryn Hart in the Department of Nutritional Sciences (FHMS), Professor Debra Skene in the Department of Biochemistry and Physiology (FHMS), and Professor Sara Arber in the Department of Sociology (FAHS).

Commenting on her win, Andrea­ — who completed her First Class BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Dietetics at Surrey in 2008 — said: “I’m very pleased to have received the award, both for myself and the respective Departments. The research has been challenging — especially working with academics from a variety of fields — but it has also been very interesting as it crosses so many different areas.

“I have found some novel and interesting results with regards to musculoskeletal health and sleep quality in South Asian women.  I have also investigated the social factors that may contribute to low sunlight exposure and vitamin D deficiency in South Asian women, as these have been little studied before in this ethnic group. The work will help to create effective solutions for the problem of vitamin D deficiency and its associated health effects for the South Asian populations in the UK and worldwide.”

Andrea will be presented with her award at a University prize-giving dinner in November.

The FHMS staff Researcher of the Year award was awarded to Dr Raphaelle Winsky-Sommerer, Senior Lecturer in Sleep & Circadian Rhythms.