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Southampton nutrition scientist wins Early Career Scientist Award

Dr Helena Fisk has been honoured with The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Drummond Early Career Scientist Award.

The prize recognises early career nutrition scientists who show great potential to be future leaders in the field.

Dr Fisk was presented the award earlier this month at the British Nutrition Foundation Annual Conference.

Investigating diet, inflammation and the immune system

Dr Fisk’s research focuses on understanding associations between the immune system, inflammation and disease, particularly in relation to obesity and ageing.

Her research further focusses on the effects of consuming nutrients such as omega 3, probiotics and vitamin D in these areas of human health.

A Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, her research forms part of the Nutrition, Lifestyle and Metabolism theme at our NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre.

Dr Fisk said: “I am delighted to receive the 2023 BNF Drummond Early Career Scientist Award and am honoured to be recognised alongside so many talented and dedicated early career nutrition scientists.

"I aspire to continue to advance the understanding of inflammation in obesity and metabolic diseases, and explore targeted nutritional strategies with the aim to reduce the risk of developing associated diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

"One strategy that I’m particularly interested in is modulation of inflammatory signalling by lipids which is an area of rapidly growing interest and importance in human health.”

Advancing nutrition research

The BNF is a public-facing charity. It exists to give people, educators and organisations access to reliable information on nutrition. It aims to advance the study of and research into nutrition for the public benefit. This year’s conference, held in central London, had the theme of ‘A Fragile Food System and Increasing Inequality’.

The award is made possible through the BNF’s management of the Drummond Memorial Fund. This was established in memory of the work and contribution of Sir Jack Drummond. It is open to MSc and PhD students studying human nutrition, as well as those within three years of being awarded a PhD.

Applicants are judged on their contributions to nutrition science, the scientific merit and clarity of communication of their abstract, as well as their potential to become future leaders in the field. As part of their application, they are asked to submit a 300 word abstract that describes an emerging area of human nutrition science.

As this year’s winner, Dr Fisk will turn her abstract into a mini-review paper in the theme of inflammatory lipid signalling for publication in the official journal of the British Nutrition Foundation, Nutrition Bulletin. Upon acceptance of the paper, she will receive a year’s online subscription, plus a £500 honorarium.


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