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Period pain to pregnancy weight gain: What’s going on in the female body? |...

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University of Auckland

Lecture Theatre 007, Building 505

Grafton Campus

New Zealand

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Great Kiwi Research: sharing women's discoveries

Great research is going on in Aotearoa New Zealand, and we want to share it with you this year as part of the Royal Society Te Apārangi celebrations on becoming 150 years old. In particular, we have provided this opportunity to showcase women’s research, across all disciplines, reflecting our mandate to explore, discover and share knowledge. We hope you enjoy this special series.


Period pain to pregnancy weight gain: What's really going on in the amazing female body?

Join us for a fascinating lecture by four researchers from the Liggins Institute who will unpick the science from the scaremongering to explain what we know about the business of being female.

From putting up with period pain, to the minefield of what to eat during pregnancy, to the discovery that breastfeeding might not actually be easy, this is your chance to get a better understanding of the issues that affect so many of us and the interventions that could make a difference.


Let’s talk about endometriosis!

Dr Anna Ponnampalam




Endometriosis is one of the world’s most misunderstood diseases. More than 170 million girls and women worldwide suffer from it, yet most people have never heard of it. As invasive surgery is the only diagnostic tool and severe pain during periods is considered ‘normal’, many women put off getting help until the disease is very advanced. Anna is passionate about understanding what actually causes endometriosis in order to find ways to develop non-invasive diagnostic tests and non-hormonal medical treatments that can both prevent and treat it.


Life before birth: What happens in the womb and can it set us on a path to adult disease?

PhD candidate Jasmine Plows


We all know there are two things that are responsible for disease: genetics and the environment. We can’t change our genetics, but we can improve our chances of staying healthy by eating the right things and exercising regularly. But did you know there is a third, very important determinant of life-long health? It turns out that the experiences a person has even before birth can greatly influence their chances of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease as adults. Jasmine will explain the fascinating evidence behind this concept and the personal story that motivates her to study it.


Eating for two: Can what we eat during pregnancy shape our children’s future?

Dr Clare Reynolds

There are many myths and old wives tales about pregnancy and one of the most common is the misconception that pregnant women should be “eating for two”. However, with so much conflicting advice it can be almost impossible to work out what you should be eating and whether you should be exercising. One thing has become very clear though: gaining too much or too little weight can be detrimental for both mother and child. Clare’s research examines the adverse effects that nutrient excess in early life can have on our health and whether or not these effects can be reversed.

Mother’s milk: Locally sourced and custom made for your baby

Dr Shikha Pundir


For babies, their mother’s milk is a magic potion containing all sort of nutrients essential for boosting growth and immunity. Breast milk even has the remarkable ability to change its composition and volume to adapt the growing needs of the baby. In short, it’s a food exclusively made for your child: a tailor-made and cost effective option for infant feeding. But is the health and wellbeing of breast-feeding mothers sometimes neglected? In Shika’s talk she will examine the benefits of breast milk as well as the stereotypes, challenges and expectations placed on new mothers.


Presented in partnership with the Liggins Institute, The University of Auckland.

FREE PUBLIC EVENT – book your ticket to guarantee your seat(s).

Views expressed at this event may not reflect those of Royal Society Te Apārangi.




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University of Auckland

Lecture Theatre 007, Building 505

Grafton Campus

New Zealand

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