Dhruvesh B. Patel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He is the winner of the 2021 AOCS Health and Nutrition Division Student Excellence Award.
Could you tell us about your current research?
My research focuses on identifying the importance of functionally active omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and omega-6, arachidonic acid (ARA) in the development of immune system in infants. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential nutrients, but we don't know their importance for a normal immune system development, particularly in infants with genetic predisposition to atopic diseases. Using animal models, we study these fatty acids by supplementing them in animal diet during different periods of infancy. Part of my research has been published in Journal of Nutrition. Next, we plan to study oral tolerance of egg protein in allergic mouse models.
What are your career goals and how has AOCS helped develop your career?
AOCS is a multidisciplinary group of experts with a keen interest in research and development. With this comes a plethora of knowledge and tools that new trainees like me can access. AOCS, through their webinars and meetings, has provided me the opportunity to interact with researchers and obtain guidance to propel me in the next step of my academic pursuits.
How do you spend your leisure time?
Currently, I am in the fourth year of my Ph.D. and plan to pursue research in nutrition and immunology. Living in Edmonton, I like winter and winter activities. Outside of work, I want to learn about nature photography. Recently, I went to Jasper (Alberta) and spent a night watching stars and northern lights. I love outdoor biking and hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.