24th-26th April, Bristol, report by Jess Fielding
40 months into the Nudge-It project, the consortium met to disseminate where the different groups are with current research and to evaluate progress of answering their research questions in a meeting in Bristol, UK. Project Leader Gareth Leng, and Bristol-based host Prof Jeff Brunstrom moderated the discussions.
On the main session day, Principal Investigators (PIs) gave progress updates on the ongoing research the consortium groups are conducting. In addition, early stage researchers (ESRs) gave short talks on their current projects and research interests to the wider group. Both the progress reviews and ESRs talks sparked lively debate amongst the consortium members but with limited time between talks this highlighted the need for a more general discussion on the second day to address and assimilate our group understanding of key concepts in the literature when we were all approaching research questions from different fields, using different techniques. Later on day 1 both the PIs and ESRs continued discussion from our previous Nudge-It meeting considering what policy recommendations could be derived from the findings of the research consortium based on the most recent research findings. This discussion highlighted the complimentary nature of using both animal models and human models to approach our understanding of factors involved in dietary choice. Many parallels were drawn between findings from these different approaches however, it is still clear that there is a need to continue to develop tasks that can be conducted in a similar fashion in both rodents and humans to draw more direct comparisons. One such technique could be the use of conditioning/ go-nogo methods which are being used in the rodent models offering a clear potential avenue for more translational studies.
After the talks and discussions ended on day 1 some members of the consortium took advantage of the longer hours of daylight to explore one of Bristol’s most notable historical structures – the Clifton Suspension Bridge which first opened to the public in 1864 and continues to be used to this day. Though the weather had been sunny it quickly descended into rain, and even some sleet, though members managed to take shelter and missed the worst of it.
Later that evening members met up to have dinner at the historic Lido which dates back to 1849 and is one of the oldest surviving Lido’s in the UK. It first opened in in 1849, but closed and fell into disrepair. A local campaign to save the Lido, and its listing as Grade 2 by English heritage issuing saved from demolition. It has been extensively restored and reopened in 2008. Since this time, it has since become a very popular venue in Bristol not only for open-air swimming but also for its award winning restaurant, tapas bar and spa.(the inclement weather discouraged anyone from braving a dip in the year-round open-air pool!).
|The Lido on a sunny day
The Night time view from the Restaurant
On the second day of the meeting consortium members came together to discuss future work for the group which quickly transformed into consideration of how we should define ‘hunger’. The interdisciplinary nature of the consortium members stimulated a lively debate from hunger relating to the balance of specific neurotransmitters in the brain to a broader definition relating to appetite reduction. Though in the limited time a clear working definition was not obtained, group members have said they will set time aside to work together to create a cross-disciplinary definition to encompass all that we mean by hunger.