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We are thrilled to share with you the recent adventures of Nina Juntereal (PENN ’23), whose journey took her from the University of Western Australia to the defense of her dissertation back home.

Nina performing inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry at University of Western Australia

Nina embarked on a remarkable opportunity to travel to Australia, where she formed interdisciplinary collaborations and received specialized training with the Geddes Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group at the esteemed University of Western Australia. Supported by a  fellowship grant from the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation and the Family Larsson Rosenquist Foundation, Nina delved into the world of human milk biochemical analysis. Working with samples she collected at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, an institution that accelerates research-clinical integration, added a practical dimension to her dissertation research, enriching her academic experience with insights and translatable skills related to study implementation and the dynamics of real-world phenomena.

During her time in Australia, Nina immersed herself in cutting-edge research methodologies,

Nina meeting and feeding the kangaroos.

including inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. This hands-on experience deepened her understanding on the scientific and mathematical rationale for protocols developed for biochemical marker measurement and ignited her passion for scientific inquiry and the importance of critically reviewing the literature. But it wasn’t all work and no play. Australia offered Nina the opportunity to encounter its unique wildlife, including the iconic kangaroos. There’s nothing quite like the joy of meeting and feeding these fascinating creatures, a memory she will cherish forever. Dr. Juntereal is also grateful for the support of the Hillman AERO grant which supported international shipment of the milk bio-specimens to Australia.

Nina is pictured with her dissertation committee and readers (Dr. Diane Spatz, Dr. Eileen Lake, Dr. Donna Geddes, Dr. Holly Harner, Dr. Rebecca Clark).

Fast forward to November 2023, and Nina found herself defending her dissertation. It was the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and countless hours of research. Nina is immensely grateful for the support and guidance of her dissertation committee and readers, whose expertise and encouragement were invaluable throughout this journey. Pictured alongside them, Nina felt a profound sense of achievement as she presented her findings and defended her work.

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