Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

World winner in sports science

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Mary MacKillop Institute PhD Candidate Jill Leckey was awarded fifth place for her oral presentation at the 20th Annual Congress of the European College of Sports Science earlier this year. The convention which took place in Malmö, Sweden featured the world’s most promising young sport scientists. Ms Leckey’s presentation was about carbohydrate dependence during half-marathon running.

She said it was a privilege to represent the Mary Mackillop Institute and ACU at the prestigious conference. “As a young and aspiring researcher in this industry, it was incredible to present to many of the world renown experts in the field and be placed within the top 10 Young investigators.”

The research Ms Leckey presented was initially prompted by the current talk around high-fat diets for sports performance. For this research, the team at the MacKillop Institute administered a drug (nicotinic acid) whilst participants ran a half-marathon on a treadmill in a fed and overnight fasted state.

“We reported that well-trained runners are carbohydrate dependent and that fat constitutes only a small percentage of overall energy expenditure during prolonged, high-intensity running.

“It’s great to work in a field which is constantly changing and every day is different. The best part for me is being in the lab conducting the research and interacting with the participants. And of course there is no better feeling than when you analyse the data and everything lines up,” she said.

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