- WorldFish’s former nutrition scientist, Jessica Bogard, has been awarded a prize for influential young career scientists
- She was recognized for her work in developing nutritious fish-based products to curb malnutrition in Bangladesh
- Bogard’s research in human nutrition and aquatic food systems was shaped by her mentor, Shakuntala Thilsted
Jessica Bogard, a dietician and public health nutritionist from Australia, was awarded the 2021 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education, which recognizes early-career scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to scientific excellence.
APEC, otherwise known as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, recognized Bogard for her work in public health nutrition science and her efforts to mitigate malnutrition in Bangladesh with fish-based food products.
Bogar, a researcher at CSRIO, focuses on the nourishing potential of small indigenous fish, which are often overlooked in national dietary guidelines and policies.
Bogard’s interest in the intersections between human nutrition and food systems was stirred while working at WorldFish under Shakunala Thilsted, winner of the 2021 World Food Prize and WorldFish’s global lead for nutrition and public health.
Thilsted guided her in the topic that would eventually become her PhD thesis: the contribution of fish to food and nutrition security in Bangladesh.
Working at WorldFish as a nutrition scientist, Bogard explored the diverse nutritional content of fish, which are rich in omega-3’s, essential fatty acids and micronutrients, and promoted diverse aquatic food consumption in vulnerable populations.
Malnutrition is a widespread and persistent problem in Bangladesh, with the population relying heavily on nutrient-poor processed foods that contribute to malnourishment and obesity.
To increase the nutritional content of daily meals, Bogard incorporated nutrient-rich dried small fish powder into existing food products and conducted taste tests with local communities to ensure the foods were both culturally acceptable and desirable.
“The results show the power of local ingredients, using what’s there and what people already like, and simple processing methods,” said Bogard.
“The extent of Dr Bogard’s research is far-reaching, providing practical solutions to improve human health through research and food systems as well as respecting local knowledge,” said Daniel Dufour, Chair of the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation, which oversees the prize.
“The work of all the nominees this year has been inspiring and valuable for APEC as we pursue a sustainable and inclusive recovery and improve the region’s resiliency.”