Members Highlights is proud to present our next Highlighted Member
Nika Larian is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Kentucky. Prior to obtaining her PhD in Nutritional Sciences at UK in 2019, Nika graduated summa cum laude from Transylvania University with bachelor’s degrees in Biology and French Language and Literature. Nika has worked in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences for six years. Nika can usually be found in a lab coat holding a pipette. She currently spends most of her day in the lab, conducting bench science to investigate the wasting of fat that occurs during cachexia in order to develop novel therapeutic strategies for sepsis.
Nika was elected President of the Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences Student Association, and she served as a Student Liaison for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics from 2018-2019. In addition to her nutrition research, Nika is dedicated to science policy and improving legislation surrounding health and nutrition. At the national level, Nika has served as the Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students since January 2019. She currently serves as the State Regulatory Specialist on the Public Policy Panel of KAND. Outside of the lab, Nika can be spotted in the gym or tennis court. Nika spends her evenings on conference calls or writing briefs for her legislative positions, usually cuddled up with her Golden Retriever Mela. She also loves traveling, and visiting the Amalfi Coast is at the top of her bucket list.
Nika’s passion for nutrition intensified eight years ago upon receiving the diagnosis of several food allergies. During this time, Nika discovered a passion for cooking, creating recipes, and understanding how our bodies metabolize food. Currently, Nika loves roasting root vegetables, and she insists that she makes the best oven-baked fries. Nika most enjoys science communication, and hopes to use her research background to make science accessible, particularly when it comes to nutrition information. Nika aims to help people improve their health in an evidence-based and inclusive environment. In the next 5 years, Nika hopes for increased communication between researchers in clinicians to insure that accurate and accessible nutrition recommendations are disseminated by health professionals and not by the media. Nika hopes to see greater public trust in science and more skepticism towards fad diets. For students or new RDs, she would recommend honing communication skills. Start by talking about what you learned in class to your roommate, friends, or family. Science is powerless if it cannot be properly communicated to the people who need it.