Symposium 2013

Protein - A Nutrient in Focus

Symposium Speaker

Rajavel Elango, PhD


The University of British Columbia

Dr. Rajavel Elango is an assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Population and Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia. He is also a scientist level 1 at the Child & Family Research Institute, BC Children's Hospital, and an associate member in the Human Nutrition Program at the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia. His PhD work involved the determination of branched-chain amino acid requirements in parenterally and enterally fed neonatal piglets in the laboratory of Dr. Ron Ball, University of Alberta. His finding that the neonatal small intestine utilizes a significant portion of the branched-chain amino acids and that parenteral solutions might require a different ratio among the branched chain amino acids is important and has critical implications in the parenteral feeding of neonates.

Dr. Elango completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Pencharz, where he trained exclusively with the use of stable isotopes in human subjects using the minimally invasive Indicator Amino Acid Oxidation (IAAO) method. Principally, he was involved in most of the essential amino acid requirement studies in school-aged children, in the application of the IAAO method to determine metabolic availability of amino acids from food sources, as well as in determining protein requirements in adults and school-aged children. These series of experiments in amino acid and protein requirements in childhood are unique and could be potentially useful to set future dietary intake recommendations.

Dr. Elango's current research program at the University of British Columbia is focused on the identification of the dietary requirements for protein and amino acids during critical life stages such as pregnancy, and in childhood malnutrition. Dr. Elango's international nutrition research is accomplished via collaborations with research institutes located in India. His research is supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ajinomoto Amino Acid Research (3ARP) Program and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

By Rajavel Elango

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