Professor Yun Yun Gong inaugurated as Professor of Food Safety Nutrition & Global Health

At the inaugural event, Professor Yun Yun Gong presented her research entitled: From Chinese Tea to African Peanuts, an Unfinished Journey in Public Health Research.

The inaugural ceremony was opened by Professor Hai-Sui Yu, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: International, who commended Professor Gong for her inspiring and world-leading research that has stretched from Africa to Asia and had a remarkable impact. Professor Gong acknowledged that the highlight of her career is the recognition for her research on aflatoxin and child growth by being invited to a scoping meeting by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her talk influenced their funding call and led Professor Gong to do a large study based in The Gambia.

Professor Gong feels that being a female professor in a Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) subject is 'perfectly natural' and never had any problems about progressing on her merits both when she trained as a public health doctor and after becoming an academic. Asked about what inspired her to work in food safety, Professor Yun Yun Gong replied:

I grew up during difficult times in China so I know the importance of a good meal. Food is fundamental to everyone’s wellbeing so it is vital that everyone’s food is safe to eat. Recent food safety scandals around the world highlight the importance of this field of research. My experience in public health and then toxicology gave me a perfect combination of skills to bring to food safety.

Professor Gong’s advice for early career researchers is to work hard, learn all they can about their subject and network with other scientists. She added:

You never know when someone might remember you because of your enthusiasm presenting a conference poster and offer you a job or a collaboration as a result.

Asked about her future ambitions, Professor Gong claimed she would like to inspire the next generation of researchers and also to build bridges between the UK and Chinese researchers to develop research that impacts on food safety, nutrition and global health.

Professor Yun Yun Gong with inaugural event attendees