Genomics and food systems – and a great start to Herts YPAG 2023 by Benita

By Louca-Mai Brady,

I’d just like to start off by saying a big thank you to all the staff in YPAG who run and organise the meetings because this is our future and they are opening many opportunities to us, which is a great thing about YPAG, including socialising, parties, learning and the research of course! This meeting was so interesting; not only did we learn more about genes and living a healthy diet, but we also developed many creative ideas to help the researchers receive the help they were seeking and more. One thing I love about YPAG is the experience and the instant connection you get with your fellow YPAG members and researchers; everyone is just happy, and it makes the environment and atmosphere a place you want to be in 😁

This was the 6th meeting of YPAG which took place on 26th Jan 2023, which was also our third meeting on Zoom. Who are Genomics England?

Check out this video about their 100,000 Genomes project, which aims to sequence and study the role our genes play in health and disease. Kate and Yufan from Genomics England came to talk us about how best to include young people (such as us at YPAG) in their work. We also talked how young people could learn about genomics through schools and community groups.

Kate and Yufan said:

“We’re writing up all the ideas the YPAG gave us. We’ll gather this together with feedback we’ve had from other groups. Our aim is to put some ideas to our bosses and try to establish a strategy for how we can work with young people in a meaningful way”.

The involvement of young people in projects like this helps them involve young people in ways that really work. We shared ideas about using social media to target the right audience, confidentiality, and other such ideas.

Claire, a researcher from the University of Hertfordshire, came to speak with us about a project she’s working on which focuses on ways to improve the food system to make people’s diets better for both their health and the planet. The food system processes everything that happens between where food grows (in fields or forests)🏞🌳, or is caught 🎣🐄 and when it comes into our homes, schools and shops or to people through community organisations like food banks 🍽.

We normally get the option to take a break, I’ve realised people usually don’t pick the option take a break as we are so interested in the meeting as it’s so interactive.

We were split into groups and put in the breakout rooms, discussed our ideas, and came back to the main meeting to feedback. Even though the meeting was online it was still extremely interactive as Louca-Mai introduced interactive websites such as Jamboard, which was very helpful in fact as it allowed us all to communicate easier. I felt passionate about this meeting as it affects us all, especially us children in school, we have a life ahead of us and we need to do the best for ourselves. Getting to the end we talked about some exciting plans for 2023 and said our thank you and goodbyes.
Overall, I believe this is one of our best and interesting meetings yet, I am really excited for what’s next so keep tuned!